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 moved to a new country, started a new school, met new people, learned new ways of getting around, and the new places I could hang out.
I would soon learn that the Irish people are very friendly, so making new friends was not all that hard. The teachers in the school were 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.
Living In Ireland: 10 Lessons I Have Learned
Coming to Ireland on the plane looking down, the country seemed like it had a lot of lands! Very green and just a lot of ground! I could tell straight away that it was a farmer’s country, and it was not mountainous and did not have any desserts. Every patch of land was equally divided up, and it was colorful.
The city of Dublin was beautiful the first time I visited. Everything looked neat and well built, and people looked well dressed and kept smiling at me when they walked past. I have lived in Ireland for ten years, and I have learned a lot about this country. Let me share with you some quick facts & essential things you should know.
1.People are super friendly
Coming from a different country with zero knowledge of Ireland can be pretty daunting, but as mentioned earlier, it was really easy to make friends as everyone was welcoming. It seemed that Ireland was not the place where racism would be an issue, and they were not the type to complain 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 a friendly conversation about anything that came to their mind. I felt safe knowing that I could walk down the street and be ok. This was then, at the start.
Now, people are still friendly, but I have learned that the more you go into the countryside, the more people get a bit angry that foreigners are taking over their small island. I have learned 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 regions, “The North”, which is the north 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 there is no need to worry about moving here. Most people are still very 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” on rare occasions.
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. People will be more sophisticated in the South, wearing regular clothing and more expensive tracksuits, and 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 range 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, has more junkies around the area, and is quite dark in comparison.
I never really noticed this until a few years ago, but you can tell the difference in people from each side. Clothing 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 pretty cheap, but no, Ireland is ranked relatively 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 to pay.
Salaries are good but could be better considering the cost of living here. The price 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 get a mortgage. Years ago, it was straightforward 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 prices seem to be on the rise every year, 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 in America, which is manageable here.
Even college dorms are crazy expensive. If you live in the countryside, but your college is in Dublin, you will need at least $1000 per month for a room in the city. I was lucky that I already lived in Dublin, so I did not 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!!
Who knew that your taxes also rise significantly every time you get a pay rise! 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 living in Ireland…the taxes! Taxes are continuously increasing; some new changes are constantly 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 meager. 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 biggest 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 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, including Waterford, Donegal, Clare, Galway, and much more. Some of these places 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 coast you go here. I have gone on some fantastic 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 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 is the norm in other places… 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 customary to go out to nightclubs in college during the week. Classes were always random hours like 11 am to 2 pm or 3 pm to 5 pm. Everyone was always partying, and 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, and it is all about the good times here and pub crawls. I swear, if you drive into the city and 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!
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 is 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 get cars and commute to work, and I don’t see this ever calming down.
As mentioned earlier, transport in Ireland is excellent. There are many different options to choose from, which I think is great. Ten years ago, Ireland did not have as much as it does now. We have bicycles in the city to 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. Public transport developed over the years, but the only thing that is a bit negative is 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 there is no snow here. I learned not to expect sun for three months when the summer comes around. The sun lasts for three weeks maximum, and then guess what…rain.
Also, who knew that four seasons could happen in one day? Well, in Ireland, this is a strong possibility. The amount of time I have gotten dressed lightly, expecting a nice day! Usually, it starts nice, and then suddenly, the rain starts, then you get some snow out of nowhere, then back to being sunny. It is tough 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.Irish language Isn’t A Big Problem
Before moving to Ireland, I thought I would need to learn Irish. I mean, this is Ireland after all; you would believe Irish would be a sign language here, and no, only about 20% of the population speak it. Unless you plan to move permanently to the West of Ireland, you do not need Irish.
I am not too fussed about this, kind of glad 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 one channel that speaks Irish, which is not even for the whole day!
What Is It Like to Live in Ireland?
Am I happy you ask? yes, I am! I wouldn’t move anywhere else because this is home, and I feel happy here. After ten years, I have grown to love the people, the scenery, and everything else that Ireland offers. It has its bad moments like any other country, 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.