Expats Guide to Ireland

Ireland is a popular expat destination which offers cultural experiences to people relocating with a population of around 4.8 million. It is situated in the Atlantic Ocean and is separated by the Irish Sea from Great Britain. The standards of living and the scenic views attract many expats to move to the country and settle here with great jobs and accommodation available.

The official language of Ireland is Irish or Irish Gaelic however the second language which is more commonly spoken is English. Some expats and Irish residents may refer to Ireland as The Republic of Ireland.
The wonderful countryside, friendly locals, diverse culture and the tourist attractions are amongst some of the reasons of why expats choose to relocate here.

As well as the great education and health care services that are available for the residents.

General Information

Population: There is a population of over 4.8 million
Capital of Ireland: Dublin
Official Language: The official language is Irish and English
Major Cities: Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Dun Laoghaire, Waterford and Galway

Popular Expat cities: Dublin, Limerick, Dunmore East, Galway, Dingle and Belfast
Time Zone: GMT +1 (GMT+2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)
Money: The Euro (EUR) divided into 100 cents
Nearest Neighbours: Republic of Ireland is located on an Island which is to the east of the UK; Northern Ireland is also part of Britain but is situated on the north side of the island.
Popular attractions: Cliffs of Moher, Guiness Storehouse, Connemara, Blarney Castle. Ring of Kerry, National Botanical Gardens and Kilmainham Gaol
Religions: The main religion in Ireland is Christianity, Catholicism
Public Holidays: New Years Day, St Patrick’s Day, Easter Monday, May holiday, June holiday, August holiday, October holiday, Christmas day and St Stephens Day
International Dialling code: The international dialling code in Ireland is +353
Emergency contact: 112 or 999

Popular Destinations in Ireland

Ireland became one of the wealthiest countries in Europe in the year of 2000, with it then being called the Celtic Tiger. From being one of EU’s poorer countries it became one of the wealthiest due to the economy and property market moving up. The colours in the flag all signify and represent the native population as well as the religious beliefs of Ireland.

It is referred to as the country with 32 counties with two states – Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland with the economy being based on high-tech multinational industries with banking, IT and finance being the important growth industries in the country. The cost of living in Ireland still remains high especially in the capital Dublin where products are very expensive.

Ireland has a varied climate with it being warm in the winter and cooler in the summer with a mild temperature of around 10 C. July and August are the warmest months with temperatures reaching 16C and, during the summer, temperatures range from 14 to 20C. Winter months have an average temperature between 4°C and 10°C and in the months from August to January there is heavy rainfall and the country generally does get a lot of rain


Dublin – The capital and the largest city of Ireland which has its main port, located on the east coast between the Irish Sea and beautiful mountains.

The city is made up of two halves being divided by the River Liffey in the city centre. The north side is for more working class people whereas the south side is more high-class. There are many theatres, museums and tourist attractions available to visit in the North side in the midst of the temple bar district, galleries, shopping centres and nightlife mainly being located on the South side. Expats moving here will not get bored with the plenty of places for shopping, good entertainment venues, sports facilities and spas in Dublin.

On the outskirts of Dublin, expats will find the more pleasing spots with flat sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and harbours. All these can be visited by the means of the convenient public transport available as well as by car.

The cost of living in the capital city remains high with competition for jobs and accommodation prices being just as expensive. Regardless of this, it is a thriving city offering a cultural, traditional and modern social scene.


The weather in Dublin sees the hottest month being in July with temperatures from 16°C and January being the coldest with temperatures from 5°C. In August you will see a lot of rain, being the wettest month of the year and sea temperatures are at 15°C being the month to swim in the sea.

Popular Tourists Attractions in Dublin

Some of the popular tourist attractions in Dublin include:

  1. Guiness Store house
  2. National Museum of Ireland
  3. St Patricks Cathedral
  4. Chester Beatty Library
  5. Temple Bar
  6. Phoenix Park


Limerick is one of the major cities in Republic of Ireland and is known for its shopping, dining and entertainment that is available to all residents.

There is an increase in its diversity with different ethnic groups from countries all around the world and the attitude of racism is far better in Limerick than in Dublin.

It is a city which has a wide variety of cultural and artistic events held all year round throughout the city and the travel times are much short and less costly than other cities in Ireland.

Limerick is an important part of Ireland’s cultural life and expats will find attractions linked to the city’s history all around. One of the top universities is based here which many foreign nationals attend or even work here with it being one of the biggest employers in the city.

Expats relocating here will not only have access to the historic culture and high standard schools but  will also be able to experience a sports mad city following the traditional Irish games holding classes where many people meet and socialise.


The weather in Limerick is quite mild with July and August being the warmest months with an average temperature of 16°C and the coldest month being January. Winter temperatures don’t fall below freezing. October is the wettest month with a lot of rainfall which remains above two inches all year round.

Popular tourist attractions in Limerick

Some of the popular tourist attractions in Limerick:

  1. King Johns Castle
  2. Hunt Museum
  3. Limerick City Gallery of Art
  4. Lough Gur
  5. Cratloe woods
  6. Ballyhoura Mountains

Connecting Utilities – Electricity, Gas, Water & Waste

Expats who have resided in Ireland will want to know the options they have from the utility companies. It is recommended that before you choose your electricity, gas and water provider that you shop around. Doing this can save you money.

A list of licensed electricity and gas suppliers can be found on the commission for Energy Regulations website.


The market for electricity is now growing giving the option to expats to choose from a range of suppliers. Electricity in Ireland runs on a 230 Volts system with the cost being quite high.

The main electricity provider in Ireland is the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) who is responsible for connecting customers to the network and then getting meter readings which are passed to the relevant supplier.

Expats who require electricity supply apply to the ESB for connecting and to the electricity company to arrange the supply.

Electricity bills are issued every 2 months and can be paid via direct debit and by ATM transactions.


Many electricity providers will also provide you with gas supply which is generally used for heating and cooking. Bord Gais is a national agency which operates the natural gas and distribution networks.

Connecting to the gas supply can be arranged by the supplier of your choice. Gas bills are also issued every 2 months which can be paid in different ways.


There is an efficient supply of water to Irish homes, with the water services being managed by Irish water. Expats may find that in some remote areas, houses will not be connected to a public water supply but instead is provided through a group water scheme which is organised by local residents.

Waste Disposal

The local authorities of the area you are living in are responsible for the domestic waste disposal with regular collections. There are charges applied in different areas.

Residents who do not want to pay for waste disposal are encouraged to visit local recycling depots and landfills.

Formal Entry Requirements

Whether you are planning a holiday, to work or for business, it is essential for expats to know the facts about visas for Ireland. There are various visas, and it is important to be aware of what is required to get into the country. The responsibility of obtaining the correct visa is down to you and each applicant must ensure all the relevant information has been given for applications to be processed.

To legally enter the country you will need:

  • Passport
  • Valid official photo identification
  • Visa (If applicable)

Visa applications may need to be passed by the embassy or consulate to the department of Justice and Law reform in Dublin, so be aware that this may delay your application process time.



Visa Types Available for Ireland

Ireland has different visas which are based up on how long you will be staying and the purpose of your visit. Those who are from certain countries such as the EU, USA, Australia and South Africa will not be required to have a visa to travel to Ireland. Nationals who are from countries that are outside the EEA will need a visa.

Once you have been given a visa, a visa a sticker will be added to your passport which will show detailed information about the length of time you can stay in the country. Once this has expired, you will not be permitted to extend your visa.

Tourist/Short Visa

A short stay C visa is required if you will be entering Ireland for 90 days or less on leisure purposes or to study a course.

Expats who have a UK visa will be allowed entry into Ireland if they are part of a country which follows the Visa Waiver programme. Some of the countries include – Asia, The Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Those wanting to visit family who is a resident In Ireland will require a family/friend visa.

To apply for a short stay visa this can be done online and the correct fees must be paid along with submitting the relevant documents.

Documentation must include:

  • Two passport size photos and a copy of passport
  • Signed application
  • Accommodation and travel details (Where you will be staying and itinerary)
  • Proof of finances (Bank statement)
  • Evidence of returning to your home country
  • Medical Travel Insurance

Visitors who have a short stay visa are not permitted to take up any employment or access any public funds.

When applying for the short stay C visa you may apply for a single or multi entry visa.

A multi entry visa will allow you to travel to Ireland a number of times during the length of your visa for a short trip whereas a single entry visa will only permit you to enter Ireland on one occasion within the dates shown on the visa.

Business Visa

A business short stay visa is required by expats who are entering the country for work purposes e.g. to attend meetings, trade shows or promotional work or to sign trade contracts.

This can be applied for up to 3 months before your date of travel and expats will be required to show an invitation from the Irish host company detailing the duration and nature of the trip, accommodation details and letter of confirmation from the employer.

Work Permit

Citizens in the country from EU, EEA and Switzerland will not require a work permit to work in Ireland; However members from other countries will be required to have one to be legally employed.

The employee or employer can apply for the work permit, and expats must have a secured job offer from the company before applying.

There are nine different types of employment work permits, the most relevant ones are

  • The Critical skills
  • The General Employment Permit
  • The Dependant/partner/spouse employment permit
  • Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit

The Critical Skills Employment

Expats are able to apply for this visa if they are earning more than 60,000 EUR per year or 30,000 EUR if your occupation is listed on the highly skilled occupations list.

There are certain jobs which will not be eligible for this work permit and the job offer must be for two or more years. Applicants must have the relevant qualifications and skills that are listed on the job description.

The critical skills permit is issued for two years and after this expats can apply for a stamp for permission which will allow them to live and work in the country without the relevant permit. You will then be eligible to be able to bring your family into Ireland who will be able to work in Ireland, applying for the Dependant Employment Permit.

General Employment Permit

The permits in Ireland are usually issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and to be entitled for a general employment permit your salary must be minimum 30,000 EUR and applicants must have relevant experience, skills and qualifications. In some cases, some expats have been approved with an annual salary of 27,000 EUR.

The general employment permit is issued for two years and after five years of having a work permit; you will no longer require one.

When you submit your application, it must show proof that no Irish, EEA or Swiss resident could be found for the certain vacancy.

The cost of visa ranges from 500 and 1,000 EUR and this usually depends on the length. Expats will be required to work in the company for twelve months or more. You will then be eligible to bring family to live in Ireland.

Application processing times can vary so it is recommended you apply for the permit three months before your intended travel date.

The Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit

To apply for this visa, you must be a spouse, partner, civil partner or dependent of a Critical Skills employment permit holder. Expats with this visa must be a resident to apply and you can earn less than 30,000 EUR annually as long as you are being paid the Minimum wage.

There is no fee for this visa, but you must re-register to be allowed to stay in Ireland as an employee and the permits are issued for the period of up to the expiry date which can then be renewed.

Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit

Expats who are being transferred within the same overseas company are eligible to apply for this permit. Employees must be senior management, trainees or key personnel for a transfer visa. Once expats have left that company the work permit will be ended.

Other types of employment permits available:

  • Reactivation Employment Permit: Allows foreign nationals who entered Ireland for employment to work again if they were badly treated in the company. A temporary immigration permission stamp must be applied for first.
  • Contract for Services Employment Permits: Expats who are providing services to an Irish unit will need this visa. Non-EEA employees can be transferred to work on an Irish contract whilst remaining in the same employment outside of Ireland.
  • Internship Employment Permit: Available to non-EEA full time students who are attending a institution outside of Ireland and have work experience offer.
  • Exchange Agreement Employment Permit: For expats who are employed under prescribed agreement
  • Sport and Cultural Employment Permit: Available for expats who have secured employment for the operation and capacity of sports and cultural activities.

Working Holiday Authorisation

Citizens who are from countries such as Australia, Japan and the USA will be eligible to apply for a working holiday authorisation. This is used for casual work only and applicants must be able to show funds to be able to support themselves especially if they are unable to find work.

Resident Visas

Those who want to stay in Ireland for longer than 90 days will need to apply for a long stay D visa either to work, study or stay with family in Ireland. This is not required by EEA or Swiss nationals.

Applicants who have the Long Stay D visa will be required to get permission from the INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services) and will need to apply for the necessary residency permit.

Expats who will be looking for employment must apply for an Irish employment Permit, an entrance visa and then register with the INIS.

Finding Employment & Work

Finding employment may be difficult unless you are a skilled professional with qualities and skills that cannot be found within Irish citizens. Most EU citizens don’t find it as difficult as Non-EU citizens to find employment although the competition is generally quite tough.

The good news for expats is that there might be a demand for certain professional workers especially for those in IT, health, architecture and medical occupations to be employed in specific industries. The growing IT sector is attracting more people to work in Ireland which has helped support the economy.

Unfortunately some foreign workers may not be eligible to apply for some jobs except under certain circumstances. These jobs include – Administration, Retail and craft workers. This is due to the effects of global crisis with the government introducing rules to ensure that only Irish and EEA nationals are given priority for the new jobs being advertised.

Finding a Job

To look for work there are many on-line jobsites which advertise jobs in Ireland specialising in particular sectors. Expats will also be able to look for work in national and local newspapers and can get help from employment agencies.  As well as this, the professions in Ireland are associated with an organisation the association may in turn regulate the profession.

Some popular websites used by expats:

  • https://www.xpatjobs.com/
  • https://IrishJobs.ie
  • https://www.Jobs.ie
  • https://www.Indeed.ie

Facts about working in Ireland

  • Business hours: The working hours are Monday to Friday 9am-5.30pm with an hour lunch break.
  • Business language: The main language spoken is English but some may speak Irish or Gaelic
  • Dress Code: The dress code is smart and modest
  • Greeting: A handshake is the usual greeting in business

Opening a Business

Some Expats moving to Ireland may decide that they want to open up their own business due to the freedom and responsibility that they will have. Residents will find a welcoming and friendly work environment.

Many foreign companies however say Ireland is a gateway to enter the European market with many multinational companies opening offices in Dublin.

Housing and Accomodation

Many expats moving to Ireland will find an ample of comfortable and reasonably priced property types. The standard of properties in Ireland is similar to other countries, although it varies on what area you will decide to live in, with different types of options available.

Most expats rent accommodation unless they will be staying in Ireland for a long period of time and when looking for accommodation, keep in mind the length and time it takes to get to work, what public transport there is and the schools for those with children. In Ireland, the less close you are to public transport the less expensive a property is.

There are different types of properties in Ireland, these include:

  • Apartments: These are more spacious and are fully furnished with furniture included. 1-2 bedrooms apartments are available.
  • Semi-Detached
  • Free Standing – Detached: These houses are more common in towns and villages
  • House Sharing: Most expats and students house share having their own bedroom
  • Studio Flats

Finding accommodation

There are many ways accommodation can be found and most local and national newspapers will advertise accommodation as well as websites. Expats will find that in local supermarkets there will be notice boards where properties that can be rented are shown.

Another way of finding accommodation is by using a real estate agent; however there may be a charge for this which is usually the same amount as one month’s rent.

Some websites to find property include:

  • Irish property owners association website
  • Irish property market
  • The golden pages website

Renting property

There is a wide range of accommodation in the country that can be rented out which includes both houses and apartments.

Rent is quite high depending on the area that expats choose to live in and cheaper rental properties can be found outside of the main urban centres. When accommodation has been chosen expats will be required to pay one month’s rent to secure and then payments are taken monthly.

There are two main types of tenancy agreements in Ireland

  1. Periodic Tenancy: This does not specify the period of time the tenant can stay. Both the landlord and tenant can end the tenancy at any time if a notice of termination has been given. These are best for people who are not staying in the country for longer than 3 months.
  2. Fixed-Term Tenancy: This covers rent for a fixed period of time that is detailed on the lease. The landlord and tenant are able to settle on the length of the lease but cannot end the tenancy before the end date unless obligations have been breached.

Please note: Utilities are usually not included with a lease agreement

Buying property

Expats looking to buy property can do so in different ways:

  • Real estate agents
  • At an auction
  • Private treaty
  • Websites

Majority of the properties in Ireland are sold on a freehold basis but can be on lease.

The properties that will be on auction are usually advertised in newspapers a few weeks before the viewing/auction date. A guide price will then be issued which the owners accept and the successful bidder will be required to pay a deposit of 10% straight after the auction. A solicitor should already be appointed and legal checks as well as a conducted survey should have been done on the property.

Those who are looking for a private treaty sale, the property will be advertised at a price and buyers can make offers against this until an offer is accepted by the seller. The buyer will then be required to pay a deposit and then get a solicitor to carry out legal checks as well conducting a survey. A completion date will then be agreed for the property to be transferred over.

Expats are able to get mortgage facilities which are offered by the Irish banks for foreign buyers.


Education and Studying in Ireland

For expats moving to Ireland with children will want to choose the best school for their child to be enrolled in. The good part is that the standard of education is high and when it comes to the language, English and Irish are the official language of the country with the main language in schools being English. Foreign children do not need to learn in Gaelic.

Children must attend school from the age of six until sixteen and expat children are entitled to attend an Irish school.

There are different types of schools available in Ireland with pre-school, public, private schools, Religious schools (these are usually local Irish schools) and other schools which will teach the curriculum in Gaelic.

The school day is between 9am-3pm with the academic year starting in September and ending in June. Parents are expected to apply directly to the school that they want to send their child in due to each school having their own policy.

The School Education System is divided into four parts – Pre-School, Primary Education, Secondary Education and Higher Education


Children from the age of three – four years old are able to attend pre-school before they start primary school. This is a free pre-school year scheme which children must be eligible to attend. Expats wanting to the send their children to early childcare, this is available to them in the forms of private pre-school.

Primary Education

There are three forms of primary schools – State-funded, special school and private primary school.

Primary education covers junior infants, senior infants and years one to six which generally lasts for eight years. The curriculum of primary education includes subjects in Maths, Physical Education, Irish and English language and Science.

Secondary Education

There are different institutes which offer secondary education: Vocational schools, comprehensive schools, secondary schools and community schools.

The secondary education in Ireland comes in two cycles, the junior cycle and the senior cycle.

Junior Cycle:  Children at the age of twelve will start in the junior cycle and this lasts for three years. Once the junior cycle has been completed, children are required take a junior certificate examinations

Senior Cycle: The senior cycle lasts for two – three years depending on if they take out a transition year. This is where children are able to take part in different topics or can do work experience.

Children are able to choose between different programs which will eventually lead to different state examinations

  • The Leaving Certificate: This route has 30 subjects to choose from which can be studied at a higher level. Students will need to take five subjects, however some do choose to take six or seven.
  • The Learning certificate applied programme (LCA): This is generally for students who do not continue higher education; the programme is cross-curricular and focuses on work in a practical environment.
  • The Leaving certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP): This is combined of academic strengths of the leaving certificate and focuses more on enterprise and the community.

Higher Education

Expats who are looking to go into higher education will find there is different institutions available which include a number of universities.

The application for university is handled by the Independent central applications office and the course place is based on a common points scale. This looks at the best results which have been achieved in the leaving certificate programme exam. Universities and colleges will have their own point’s requirements for the courses offered.

Public Schools

The standard of education in public schools is quite high and they follow the Irish national curriculum. Parents are not required to pay for education in public schools but will be expected to pay for school books, lunch, uniforms and curricular activities that their child may take part in.

The national curriculum is followed by all state schools which are all mainly based on examinations.

Priority of admission is given to those children, who live in the area, so it is recommended that accommodation should be confirmed before going through the admission process for a public school.

Private Schools

Expat parents who want to send their child to a private school will be able to do so with the number of schools available. Most of these are located in the major cities and they are privately funded.

The majority of private schools are religious (mainly Catholic) and may teach in the language Gaelic so it is important that parents find out this information before admission.

The education which is taught in private schools aims to get children to the level which is required for entry into higher education/university.

Irish private schools are fairly expensive with fees being thousands of Euros per academic year.

International Schools

Expats who would rather send their children to an international school will find most of them are located in Dublin. International schools offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum, GCSE (UK) or PSAT (USA) with some catering to German, French and Japanese nationals.

Tuition fees can be very expensive and the International schools are difficult to get into with the high demand and waiting lists.

Some International schools available in Ireland:

  • St Andews College – Offers the International Baccalaureate
  • Sutton Park School – Located in Dublin
  • St Killians – German School located in Dublin
  • Lycee Francais d’Irlands – French School located in Dublin

Most International schools will set their own term dates with a different start for the academic year; this must be checked with the school you enrol your child in.

Health and Medical Care

Ireland’s healthcare is efficient, safe and one of the best in the world. Expats are eligible to qualify for free health care or subsidised health services which is funded by the government. Ireland has a tax funded health service executive (HSE) which is responsible for providing healthcare services to each resident of Ireland.

Expats who move to the country will have an option in using the government funded public health care or private health care.

Public Healthcare Services

The public health care system provides some free services to those who are an ordinary resident i.e. currently living in Ireland or are intended to stay for a year. Some treatments will require a fee for patients who do not have a Medical card.

A medical card is for those who are on a low income, have an illness or disability which entitles them to all medical, dental and optical services without having to pay any fees. Expats who are of EU countries and have a European health insurance card also have access to free emergency care facilities as well as those who have been transferred to the country to work on a temporary basis.

Although the public healthcare system is of a high quality, patients will find that waiting lists are long and appointments are usually overbooked for operations. This is one of the reasons why people choose to get private health insurance.

Private Healthcare

There are many private health clinics and services available in Ireland which many people choose to take out. The private health care system requires patients to pay for the full cost of the treatment, pay for all hospital services and the doctor’s fees.

Private health care can be provided in public hospitals with patients having their own private beds.

Health Insurance

Those who are not eligible for a medical card may be able to get a GP visit card or will be on the long term illness scheme. Regardless of this, most expats and citizens do choose to have private health insurance as it allows them to receive immediate treatment.

Expats who are moving to Ireland to work will find that their employer may pay for their private health care insurance. You must find this out when signing your contract.

Taxpayers in Ireland can claim tax relief on their medical expenses which have not been covered by either of the private or public health insurance


In Ireland there are many pharmacies available in the towns and cities.

For those who have a medical card, they will not be charged for any medicine that has been prescribed to them.

Ordinary residents are eligible to apply for a drugs payment scheme which limits how much residents can pay for medicine that is prescribed.

Public and Private hospitals have an A&E department for emergencies. Patients who do not have a Medical Card or have been referred by a GP will be charged for these services.

Banking System – Opening a Bank Account

The banking system in Ireland is quite similar to the UK and the USA system so opening a bank account will not be complicated. Expats may find that working out tax can become quite difficult so most people do prefer to hire a tax expert.

There are different account facilities which are available in a wide range of banks and building societies along with multinational banks which have branches around the world. These are mostly useful for those have an account with the same bank in their foreign country.

Other big banks in Ireland include: Bank of Ireland, National Irish Bank and Ulster Bank.

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account in Ireland is fairly easy and expats will be required to show some documents to start the process. Once an account has been opened it can take a few weeks for it to be activated.

Documents required opening an account (Each bank has its own requirements)

  • Passport or a photo ID
  • Visa
  • Proof of address
  • Details of previous banks

Once an account has been activated, expats will be able to use the services that are available to them such as online and telephone banking.

ATM’S are also found in and around all the town and city centres and most foreign cards will be accepted. Expats in remote areas will find that card facilities are limited.


The official currency in Ireland is the EURO (EUR or €), divided into 100 cents

  • Coins:  5, 10, 20 and 50 Cents, 1,2 EUR
  • Notes: 5,10 20,50,100,200 and 500 EUR

Ireland’s Tax System

For those who are working in Ireland for less than 183 days will be considered as a non-resident and will only be taxed on income that has been earned in Ireland.

Expats who have been in the country for more than 183 days or over 280 days will qualify for tax residency and are responsible to pay for tax on worldwide earnings.

A standard rate of 20 percent on taxable income is required to be paid by all residents and for the income which is earned above will be taxed at 41 percent.

Ireland has ‘tax treaties’ with more than 65 other countries worldwide so the amount that is charged is reduced. It is highly recommended that expats get in contact with a professional tax expert due to the legal information that there is.

The tax year starts on the 1st of January and ends on the 31st of December each year.

Transport & Travel

Ireland has a state run bus and rail service which operates through the country, and is efficient and widespread. Using public transport is cheaper and faster than driving which provides transport to different parts of the city. All public transport is easily accessed and is walking distances from each other.


Whether it is to go to work, to do a bit of sightseeing or even go shopping, the rail network is comfortable and connects the major towns and cities making it convenient for expats to travel around.

There are affordable options for everyone who live in the towns and work in the city. Majority of the trains are connected to surrounded counties by the Dublin Area Rapid Transport system. This rail service has trains arriving every 15 minutes and is efficient.

Another train service in Ireland is Commuter rail which provides services out of Dublin.


Buses in Ireland are widely used having a city and intercity bus network with affordable travel charges.

The most common bus operator in Ireland is Bus Eireann which covers the main routes. Other bus operators are available which also run intercity buses. Most of the buses are wheelchair accessible and passengers will have the advantage of not being stuck in any traffic with the designated bus lanes that are available.


Another popular way of travelling is cycling. There are many cycle lanes for those who wish to keep fit and cycle to work and when in the city it is possible to hire a bicycle. Many Irish residents enjoy cycling through the country side riding through the beautiful scenic views.


For those who don’t enjoy using public transport, taxis are available mainly in the city centre. These can be pre-booked or hailed at and the taxis generally indicate if they are in service.



Driving Rules and Regulations

Driving is on the left hand side of the road which will only take a few days to get used to with the safe clean roads Ireland has. However it can get a little trickier when using country roads with them being curvy and rocky.

Expats are able to drive if they have a valid foreign driver’s license for 12 months in Ireland. Once the 12 months are over, expats will be required to apply for an Irish driver’s license.

There is an agreement in place with EU/EEA countries where they are able to exchange their license for an Irish one without taking a driving test. For those who are not EU/EEA nationals must apply for an Irish license after 12 months and will be required to take a driving test.

To apply or exchange a license, the application form is available online on the Oasis government website or it can be obtained from a Motor taxation office. This will have information on what documentation is required against your completed application form.

Some of the documents may include:

  • Current license
  • Medical report
  • Appropriate fee
  • Driving license eyesight report

Speed Limits

There are five different types of speed limits throughout Ireland

  • Town and City : 50 Kilometres per hour in built up areas (Other than motorways or other speed limit zones)
  • National Road: 100 Kilometres per hour including dual carriageways
  • Motorway: 120 Kilometres per hour on all motorways.
  • Regional and Local: 80 Kilometres per hour
  • Special: 30 Kilometres per hour or 60 Kilometres per hour. These are applied to roads on the outside of built up areas.

There is a penalty charge if you are caught speeding with a fixed charge fine and penalty points on the licence.

Removal and Shipping

Expats moving to Ireland will be able to find different shipping and removal services which are available in the country. It is recommended that you get more than one quote.

Depending on the removal services they will all have their own requirements and expats must take out movers insurance for their items which are being shipped

There will be limited restrictions for those from EU countries but expats who are not EU nationals may have to face some restrictions and may not be able to bring all of their possessions. Most house-hold goods can be imported through duty-free. This is however limited to a time frame of six months before you move and 12 months after you have relocated in the country.

A popular website which is used for international shipping: www.voovit.com

Communications in Ireland

Expats will be provided with a variety of services to choose from to be able to keep in touch with their friends and family worldwide.


Ireland does not have many internet service providers which offer internet services. In most of the cities and towns broadband is highly used and the main service is provided from a company called Eircom. They offer fast internet services and a fibre broadband in cities and towns of Ireland. Expats who have moved to rural areas will find that internet connection is limited.

There are four options for the Internet

  • ADSL: This runs through a landline phone
  • Mobile Broadband: Provides a USB
  • Fibre Broadband: This is mainly used in cities and towns
  • Satellite: Provides internet access to remote and rural areas.

To open up an internet account, you will be required to call the ISP and provide all their details. A deposit may need to be given with documents that they may require.

Wifi is also becoming popular, with residents being able to use this in public areas.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones are popular in Ireland and have a variety of network providers – Vodafone, 02, Eircom, Three and Meteor. They are of good quality and the cities are perfectly covered with signal

Packages for mobile phones will be available to purchase on a pay as you go or contract package. Expats wanting to open a post paid mobile phone contract will be required to show certain documents and most expats choose pay as you go when in Ireland for a short period of time.

Those who already have a phone will just need to buy a new SIM card but mobile phones may need to be unlocked even if you are using the same provider in Ireland as your home country.

Landline Phones

Landlines are still highly used and are quite affordable in the country. It is advised to compare the companies that offer good packages and international rates for those who want to call outside of the country

Some Internet services are run through a landline phone so it may be necessary for expats to open a landline when opening a broadband bundle; this is proved to be a less expensive option.

Postal Services

Postal services in Ireland are operated by a government run service ‘An Post’. It is reliable and efficient which delivers Mon-Friday.

There are many post boxes around the cities and towns as well as a post office which provide facilities such as banking, bill payments and social security benefits.


Leisure Activities

There are a wide range of outstanding facilities for sports and recreational activities. With sports ranging from golf, cycling, Gaelic football, soccer and rugby.

Sports: One of the popular sports in Ireland is Gaelic football; this is the same as rugby but is usually played on a bigger pitch. There are many clubs available in all areas which expats can join in.

For any sports that expats would enjoy playing, it is worth contacting the local Irish Citizens bureau who will be able to provide you with information about sports groups and clubs that are available in your area.

Cycling: Cycling is another sport/ leisure pass time that is popular with residents and tourists being able to hire a bicycle in the city. Cyclers will also have the option to take part in the events which are available all year round.

Gyms: For those who prefer to work out in a gym, will find there are over 100 gyms available in the country. Packages are paid monthly or yearly and day passes are available.

Music is also an important part of the Irish culture with a dance that goes with it. You will find that everywhere you go there will be traditional music played

Ireland is also home to many museums which tourists enjoy visiting, from the national museum to the first public library. With the country having a long interesting history there are many site attractions that can be found all around the country.

Blarney castle is a famous attraction which has said to grant the gift of expression to anyone who kisses it. Another natural attraction which is popular is the Cliffs of Moher, a set of cliffs stretching for fiver mils and are hundreds of feet high.

As well as the attractions there are many guided tours which you can take part in for a small fee.

Expats will find that in the city, there is refined and classy restaurant, bar and nightclub scene providing all sorts of entertainment.  For a night out with your work colleagues or friends, there are many nightclubs and restaurants which range from different cuisines, pubs and music.

Irish Cuisine

The Irish cuisine consists of fresh local ingredients which is prepared and presented with a twist. The food is known for the freshness and quality with majority of the cooking being done with only salt and pepper.

Irish residents prefer to eat fast foods and in pubs due to the food being expensive in restaurants and the selection of vegetarian food being limited outside the city.

There are selected foods such as seafood, meats and soups which are important in the Irish diet. Irish residents particularly enjoy seafood, including lobster, scallops and oysters with the country being surrounded by water.

Irish stew is recognised as the national dish of the country which consists of potatoes, carrots, lamb and bacon.

Most popular foods:

  • Tradiitonal Irish stew
  • Irish soda bread
  • Corned beef with cabbage
  • Barm brack
  • Colcannon – a potato and cabbage dish served on Halloween
  • Champ – Most widely eaten potato dish


The price of food in supermarkets varies on which supermarket you are buying from; eating out in restaurants can be quite expensive.

Annual Social Events in Ireland

There are many popular events that are held all year round where expats can meet others and socialise especially if a newcomer in the country. Some of these include:

St Patricks Day Festival: This is a week celebrated to commemorate St Patrick who was the patron saint of the country. It is a national public holiday and a parade is held every year which thousands of people attend.  There are funfairs, music and comedy performances for all.

Orangemen’s Day: An annual celebration held in July to mark victory of William III over James II at the Battle of Boyne and Battle of Augbrim. This is a national bank holiday

Bloom Festival: This is one of Ireland’s top gardening shows which is held in May. Gardeners are given the opportunity to showcase their produce allowing consumers to taste. There is great food, drink and music with activities run for families to enjoy.

Galway Races: Ireland’s famous horse racing festival with over 150,000 people attending. This is usually held in July

Christmas: Christmas is celebrated grandly with singing choirs and street musicians. Catholics crowd all the churches in the country for a midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

St Stephens Day: A national holiday in Ireland on 26th December which honours the martyr, celebrated with traditional ceremonies, trips to pubs and huge feasts.

Blooms day: This is a celebration which honours James Joyce who was Irelands’ famous literary master. This is held in June and there are a many activities and performances around the country. Some Irish residents go for a pilgrimage to the locations which are mentioned in the book.

Cat Laughs Comedy Festival: Held in June is a comedy festival showcasing the best international and Irish comedy acts.

Galway Oyster Festival:  This is a festival held every September which celebrates the International oysters and seafood. It is a weekend full of fun including music, celebrity cooks offs and good quality seafood.

Puck Fair: This is one of the country’s oldest festivals which have been celebrated for over 400 years. There is a coronation ceremony, parade, night concerts and traditional music and dancers.

For more information on the events and festivals held in your area, contact the local Irish national citizen’s office.

Expert help for Expats

Expat’s, who are new-comers to Ireland, will find that there is lots of expert help and assistance available to settle in.

AES International Financial Advice: An organisation which offers financial advice, investment management, tax planning and insurance services to private clients. Great for expats who require financial assistant or assistant in taxes in Ireland – Website: www.aesinternational.com

Ireland Meet up Groups: These have many meet up groups where expats are able to meet other foreign nationals with different cultures and languages – Website: www.expatirish.meetup.com

Irish Canadian Society: A company in Dublin which promotes through social and sporting activities amongst residents of Ireland who have Irish Canadian connections – Website: www.irishcanadiansociety.net

International Women’s Organisation: Based in Limerick is an organisation made up of women who bring a large variety of talents with ongoing activities every week – Website: www.limerickiwo.com

Internations: A group which offers meetings assisting in any help needed once relocated into the country. They organise evenings out and coffee meetings – Website:  www.internations.org/ireland-expats

Local Citizens Information Centre: Provides information on education, employment, moving to the country, health and much more. Offices are based in different areas – Website: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/