When I moved to Ireland, I was only a teenager. Everything then seemed much different to now, but I suppose being a child, things would seem different in general. It was a brand-new chapter for my family. It was also a scary chapter as I was moving to a new country, starting a new school, meeting new people, learning the new ways of getting around, and the new places I could hang out.

I would soon learn that the Irish people are very friendly, and so making new friends was not all that hard. The teachers in the school were really nice and helpful in making sure I was up to date with all the material. Other kids made me feel really welcome and made sure I knew what was what. Some of the friendships I made, I still have.

I grew up in Eastern Europe, so coming to Ireland was a bit of a shock as it is totally different. From transport to people, to shopping, and even to clothes. I have lived in Ireland for 10 years and I have learnt a lot about this country. Let’s me share with you some quick facts & essential things you should know.

Living In Ireland: 10 Essential Things You Should Know!

Coming to Ireland on the plane looking down, the country seemed like it had a lot of land! Very green and just a lot of land! I could tell straight away that it was a farmer’s country. It was not mountainous and did not have any desserts. Every patch of land was equally divided up and it was colourful.

The city of Dublin was beautiful the first time I visited. Everything looked neat and well built. People looked well dressed and kept smiling at me when they walked past. Public transport was easy to use and was available everywhere I went. I had the choice of trains, buses, taxis, LUAS, and DART. Let’s go into some detail about what I have learnt and compare then to now.

1.People are super friendly!!

Coming from a different country with zero knowledge of Ireland can be quite daunting, but as mentioned earlier, it was really easy to make friends as everyone is really welcoming. To me, it seemed that Ireland was not the place where racism would be an issue. They were not the type to give out about the foreigners coming here and stealing their jobs. Instead, they wanted to learn more about you and where you were from.

If I ever needed any directions, someone would always help. If I were sitting on the bus reading a book, the person next to me would try and make friendly conversation about anything that came to their mind. I felt safe knowing that I could walk down the street and I would be ok. This was then, at the start.

Now, people are still friendly, but I have learnt that the more you go into the countryside, the more people get a bit angry with the fact that foreigners are taking over their small island. I have learnt that I cannot walk some streets at night on my own, as it is simply not safe. Some areas in Dublin are extremely posh, and these tend to be safe. Other areas, “The North”, which is the north of the city of Dublin, tend to be a bit rougher. Places like Ballymun, Tallaght, and Finglas are places to avoid.

This is not everywhere and only in some areas, so no need to worry if you want to move here. Most people are still very much welcoming, but some of the older population prefer their island to remain “Irish”. I guess that is in every country you go to though, there will always be a split. I am still living here and still love the place. I would not move as it is home now, and the “bad” you can only see on rare occasion.

2.Tracksuits are a thing here!

I never thought I would see more tracksuits in my life than I do here! Anywhere you go in Ireland, you will 100% see people wearing tracksuits. There is a difference between the South and North of Dublin. In the South, people will be more sophisticated, wearing normal clothing as well as more expensive tracksuits. The North is practically all tracksuits and leggings, but cheaper.

This is a big divide in Dublin. You will know which side you are on by simply looking at the people. The divide is also evident in the heart of the city, the south side is beautiful, greener, cleaner, and has better shops. The north side is a bit dirtier, more junkies around the area, and quite dark in comparison.

I never really noticed this up until a few years ago, but you can really tell the difference in people from each side. Clothing really does define you in Ireland. I have not gotten to a point where I wear tracksuits 24/7, I’m still at the jean wearing stage.

3.Everything is really expensive!

You would think this is such a small island that everything would be quite cheap, but no, Ireland is ranked quite high on the list of the most expensive countries to live in. It was not this expensive ten years ago. Prices seem to grow every year with new extras brought out every year for the people to pay.

Salaries are good but could be better considering the cost of living here. The cost of houses is mental in Ireland! If you want to live in Dublin city, prepare to be saving for at least 20 years before you can actually get a mortgage. Years ago, it was very easy to get a mortgage and buy a house. These days it is impossible to save the amount you need, along with paying for your car, food, and whatever else you need to get covered.

The cost of food was cheaper back when I first moved here, but every year prices seem to be on the rise, yet your wages remain the same. The struggle is real! But comparing Ireland to other countries, health care is free and does not cost millions. Hospital bills are not crazy like America. This is manageable here.

Even college dorms are crazy expensive. If your family is from the countryside but your college is in Dublin, you are looking at an easy $1000 per month for a room in the city. I was lucky that I already lived in Dublin, so I did not have to rent anywhere. For the parents that have to pay for this, it is insane money. You can only imagine what actual house prices to rent, and buy are!

If you have a good salary this is all manageable, wait until we get to the taxes!!

4.Taxes…Yay!

Who knew that every time you get a pay rise, your taxes also rise significantly! So if you were getting paid £2300 a month after taxes, and moved job to where you thought you were getting a really good wage increase (say $9000 extra a year), and then you get your first new payslip and you see you come out with $2450 after tax….does that not want to make you cry??

I learnt this the hard way. I did know taxes are high, but I did not expect them to be this high. That is a major downfall for me with living in Ireland…the taxes! Taxes are always increasing, constantly some new changes introduced around this subject. It was not like this when I moved here…but I suppose I was only in college and working a shitty job where the tax was very low. Having a proper job now, I cannot compare.

Remember to take a look at the economic situation & taxes rate for your destination to make sure you are ready to move to a new country with mo financial hassles ( budget is the most struggle you will face when thinking about moving)

5.Ireland is BEAUTIFUL!!

Ok let’s get off the topic of taxes, and let’s get onto happier chats such as how beautiful Ireland really is! I was shocked by some of the scenery I have experienced in this country so far. Let me tell you…being on a plane and looking down is NOT the same as actually driving through some of the counties and finding the hidden beauties Ireland has to offer.

I have been to many counties within Ireland, Waterford, Donegal, Clare, Galway, and much more. Some of these places just completely take your breath away! I went to Donegal recently and I felt like I was in Seattle, Washington, driving through mountains, and seeing the most beautiful waterfalls. I forgot I was still in Ireland, to be honest.

Some of the beaches in Ireland have been beyond amazing…but beware of jellyfish! Very common pretty much on any beach you go here. I have gone on some amazing hikes in Glendalough, Wicklow mountains, and Donegal mountains. The views from the top are breathtaking. There are a few spots where you can overlook the whole city of Dublin, and at night-time, it is truly majestic.

Ireland is beautiful, that is a fact. I love the fact that I live here and still have so much more to explore.

6.Drinking after work every day!

So, I don’t know if this the norm in other places…definitely not where I am originally from, but in Ireland, a glass of wine after work is more than acceptable. I have learned that it is ok to de-stress after a long day with some wine or have a work party mid-week where you are all sitting in the office the next day half asleep and hungover.

Even when I first arrived here, it was normal to go out to nightclubs in college during the week. Classes were always random hours of the day like 11 am to 2 pm or 3 pm to 5 pm. Everyone was always partying. There was never a week where something wasn’t happening somewhere.

This has not changed at all with full-time work. People are constantly out. It is all about the good times here, and pub crawls. I swear, if you drive into the city and just open your car windows, every single pub/club will have music roaring from it, and a ton of people standing outside smoking and laughing. The city is always buzzing!

7.Insane Traffic

I remember always taking the bus to college, which was fine because there are bus lanes, so I always made it in on time with no issues. But my god, the minute I got a car and started a job…for such a small country, you would think traffic would not be an issue! But no, you could easily spend 1.5 hours in the morning and another 1.5 hours in the evening sitting in traffic!

Nobody is happy with this. I think this why maybe people go drinking so much because sitting in all that traffic will make you so unbelievably angry! The craziest thing I have seen, a few times actually, is driving in my car, getting stuck in traffic, and then getting to the point where the traffic originated. The only reason there is traffic is that people are very nosy! There could be a crash or something and everyone slows down to look at what happened or take a video.

If people stopped doing this, there would be less traffic. Traffic has progressively gotten worse over the years as more people are getting cars and commuting to work. I don’t see this ever calming down.

8.Transport

As mentioned earlier, transport in Ireland is really good. There are many different options to choose from which I think is great. 10 years ago, Ireland did not have as much as it does now. We have bicycles in the city which we can take and park at another site.

There is the LUAS as well, which is practically a train, but it runs on lines throughout the actual city and goes to areas where the physical train cannot.
Transport developed over the years. The only thing that is a bit negative is the fact that prices for all these are on the rise every year, same as the cost of living.

9.Weather is Bi-Polar

If you want gloom and rain, Ireland is the place for this. Ah, it is not all that bad. It does rain a lot, but at least there is no snow here. I learned that when the summer comes around, do not expect sun for 3 months. The sun lasts for 3 weeks maximum, and then guess what…rain.

Also, who knew that four seasons could happen in one day? Well in Ireland this is a big possibility. The amount of time I have gotten dressed lightly expecting a nice day! Usually, it starts off really nice, and then all of a sudden, the rain starts, then you get some snow out of nowhere, then back to being sunny. It is very hard to keep up with.

Everyone goes crazy for the sun. The minute it comes out, you can expect parks and beaches to be fully packed!

10.Where is the Irish language??

Before moving to Ireland I thought I would need to learn Irish. I mean, this is Ireland after all, you would think Irish would be a big language here. No, only about 20% of the population speak it. Unless you are planning on moving permanently to the West of Ireland, you do not need Irish.

I am not too fussed about this, kind of glad actually that I did not have to learn another language. But it is something I learned by moving here, as it was a scary thought of possibly having to learn a brand-new language. Everyone speaks English 100% of the time. Another crazy fact I learned, is that they only have 1 channel that speaks Irish, and that is not even for the full day!

Am I happy you ask?

Yes, I am! I wouldn’t move anywhere else because this is home and I feel happy here. After 10 years I have definitely grown to love the people, the scenery, and everything else that Ireland has to offer. Like any other country, it has its bad moments, but I still would not move anywhere else. Ireland has taught me a lot, and I feel I have grown as a human being here. I would not change a thing.

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