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The Ultimate How to Move to Ireland from America Guide

The Ultimate How to Move
to Ireland from America
Guide

Moving to Ireland from America? Our Ultimate How to Move to Ireland from America Guide covers absolutely everything you need to know about moving from America to Ireland.

With in-depth information and valuable resources, from how to apply for a visa to how to import common household items, from what Ireland’s healthcare and education systems are like, to how to decide where to live, our Moving to Ireland from America Guide will help you and your family have a safe, seamless, stress-free move to Ireland.

Chock-full of important international moving tips, as well as insights into Ireland’s customs and culture, including everything from table manners, commonly used words, holidays and food, to the sports the Irish like to play and watch, our Moving from America to Ireland Guide will also assist you and your family assimilate into day-to-day life quickly and easily on arrival.

As the largest moving company in the world, with over 1,000 service centers across 180 countries, UniGroup Worldwide International Movers will help make your move to Ireland as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With over 85 years' experience, successfully delivering 48,000 international shipments annually, our overseas move experts can help ensure your safe, seamless stress-free move to Ireland from America.

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Americans to Ireland safely, seamlessly and stress-free

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Americans to Ireland safely, seamlessly and stress-free

For your convenience, you may:

  • Easily navigate through our Ultimate How to Move to Ireland from America Guide by clicking the links within the Contents section below.
  • Read our accompanying step-by-step Complete How to Move to Ireland from Americans Checklist, a full-proof list of easy-to-follow, chronologically ordered tasks designed to help ensure you and your family enjoy a smooth, stress-free move to Ireland.

BASIC INFO TO KNOW WHEN MOVING TO IRELAND

Nationality

Irish

National Holidays

New Year’s Day, 1 January St Patrick’s Day, 17 March Easter Monday, Date fluctuates May Holiday, Date fluctuates June Holiday, 5 June August Holiday, 7 August October Holiday, 30 October Christmas Day, 25 December St Stephen’s Day, 26 December

Financial Year

Calendar year

Government Type

Parliamentary republic

Currency

Euro (EUR)

International Dialling Code

353

Country Domain Code

.ie

Road Traffic

Drives on the left

Electricity

230V, 50Hz. UK plugs

Emergency Numbers

112 or 999: General Emergencies

Time Zone

GMT (GMT+1 from late March to late October)

HISTORY OF IRELAND

Between 600 and 150 B.C., Celtic tribes arrived in Ireland. In the late 8th century, Norsemen began invading but this ended when King Brian Boru defeated the Danes in 1014. It was during the 12th century that Norman invasions began, which set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle. Ireland’s population dropped by one third when a famine hit in the 19th century and for over a century thereafter, the population continued to decline. The failed 1916 Easter Monday Uprising that resulted in several years of guerrilla warfare is where the modern Irish state originated from.

POPULATION

Population

4,952,473

Population Growth Rate

1.20%

Median Age

total: 36.4 years
male: 36.1 years
female: 36.8 years

Life Expectancy

80.8 years

GEOGRAPHY

Location

Ireland

Geographic Coordinates

53 00 N, 8 00 W

Area

total: 70,273km2
land: 68,883km2
water: 1,390km2

Geography

Ireland is located along major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe and 40% of its population resides within 100kms of Dublin.

Capital

Dublin geographic coordinates: 53 19 N, 6 14 W

Major Urban Areas and Population

Dublin 1.169 Million

CLIMATE

Ireland’s climate can be modified by the North Atlantic Current. The country generally experiences mild winters and cool summers but is quite humid overall.

ECONOMY

In 2002, Ireland was one of the first groups to start circulating the euro. Overall, the country has a small, trade-dependent economy. Between 1995 and 2007, GDP growth averaged 6% but the global financial crisis caused economic activity to drop quite drastically. Ireland exited its EU-IMF bailout program in 2013 because of its strict adherence to deficit-reduction targets and its success in refinancing a large amount of banking-related debt. When the construction sector collapsed and consumer spending and business investment declined, the export sector quickly became a very important component of Ireland’s economic success.

GDP Per Capita

$69,400 USD

Taxes and Other Revenues

25.5% of GDP

CULTURE

Languages Spoken

Irish English

Major Ethnic Groups

White Irish

NATIONAL IDENTITY

National Flag

National Anthem

"Amhran na bhFiann" (The Soldier's Song)

National Symbol(s)

Harp, Shamrock (trefoil)

National Colours

Blue, green

IRELAND's COUNTRY RANKING

Quality of Life

Ranked 12th of 80 countries

Cost of Living

Ranked 8th of 104 countries

Education System

Ranked 11th of 187 countries

Healthcare System

Ranked 19th of 190 countries

Happiness of Residents

Ranked 15th of 155 countries

Crime Rate

Ranked 45th of 117 countries

Suitability for Green Living

Ranked 19th of 180 countries

How Much Does It Cost to Move to Ireland?

Calculating moving to Ireland Calculating moving to Ireland

The cost of moving to Ireland from America comprises of a number of expenses, each with their own variables. The largest components will likely be the shipping of your household belongings and the relocation of your family. Beyond that, there are additional costs for storage, insurance and temporary accommodation upon arrival.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship Household Goods to Ireland?

The cost of shipping your belongings can vary dramatically depending on the volume you’re shipping, what you’re shipping, how and from where and to you ship it. For example, a sparsely furnished two to three-bedroom home shipped by LCL (Less than Container Load) or Groupage sea freight from Washington DC to Dublin or Cork could cost US$1,000 to US$2,000, whereas a heavily furnished four-bedroom home shipped by FCL (Full Container Load) sea freight from and to the same ports may cost twice that. Furthermore, the cost would increase if you’re shipping antiques, a piano, wine, and/or expensive or bulky items that may require custom crating or packing. And if you’re in hurry to ship your belongings to Ireland, the same size home could easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars to ship by air freight.

Given all these variables, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a detailed quote from an experienced, reputable international mover, like UniGroup Worldwide International Movers.

For more information on the different types of sea and air freight, their respective advantages, disadvantages and how to calculate their costs, read our in-depth guide, What is the Best Way to Move Overseas? Best Air & Sea Freight Options.

How Much Does It Cost to Relocate Your Family to Ireland?

The average cost of an economy class ticket from Washington DC to Dublin is approximately US$700 to US$900 per person. So, relocating a family of four from America to Ireland can cost from US$2,800 to US$3,600 in airfares alone.

Additionally, if you are bringing any pets, there will be costs for their flight, any health checks or vaccinations required and possible quarantine charges on arrival. Roughly, a cat or medium-sized dog would cost between US$600 and US$1,200 to join you.

How Much Does an Irish Visa Cost?

Everyone that applies for an Irish work permit must pay an application fee. This application fee ranges from €500 to €1,000, depending on the length of visa required. Plus, there is a €300 fee for a Certificate of Registration for some types of visas. However, 90% of the fees will be refunded if your application is not approved.

For more information, visit How to Apply for an Irish Visa.

What Other Costs are Involved in Moving to Ireland?

There are several other costs involved in moving to Ireland, including:

  • Storage: If you are not moving to Ireland permanently and opt to leave some of your household goods in America, you may need to organize and pay for secure long-term storage
  • Insurances: When moving to Ireland, you may need to invest in several different types of insurance, including moving insurance, international health insurance and travel insurance
  • Temporary accommodation: If you plan on searching for a new family home once you arrive in Ireland, you will need some form of temporary accommodation for when you first arrive. On average, a hotel room in Ireland costs between US$120 to US$170 per night, while a serviced apartment costs on average between US$800 to US$1,000 per week. So, if you need temporary accommodation for one month, the cost could exceed US$4,000.

How to Apply for an Irish Visa?

Applying for a Irish visa Applying for a Irish visa

To apply for an Irish visa (referred to as an employment permit) with minimum stress and maximum convenience, you must first determine which of the nine different types of permit you need. You will then need to compile all necessary visa documentation, complete all forms, pay the application fee and submit your application. Follow each of the steps below to help ensure you receive your Irish employment permit quickly, easily and hassle free.

Why Do I Need an Irish Visa?

American citizens wishing to move to Ireland must obtain an Irish visa. Having a visa allows you to request permission from the Irish Government to enter and legally work in Ireland. Whilst having a visa does not guarantee you entry into Ireland, it does indicate that a consular officer at an Irish Embassy or Consulate has determined that you are eligible to seek entry for that specific purpose.

Select an Irish Employment Permit Category

To apply for an Irish employment permit, you must first determine which of the nine types of employment permits in Ireland applies to you:

  • General Employment Permit: These permits allow holders to work in jobs with annual salaries of €30,000 or more. In exceptional cases, this permit can be granted for jobs with salaries of less than €30,000. To attain a job, a labor market test must first be applied. This means that the position must be advertised to Irish and European Economic Area (EEA) nationals before it is offered to you
  • Critical Skills Employment Permit: This permit is available for employment in occupations with an annual salary of €60,0000 or more or jobs with remuneration of at least €30,000 that are included in the Highly Skilled Occupations List. There is no need for jobs under these permits to be subject to a labor market needs test
  • Dependent, Partner or Spouse Employment Permit: These permits allow recognised partners, spouses, civil partners and dependents of holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits or researchers under a hosting agreement to find employment. These is no need for jobs to be subject to a labor market needs test
  • Reactivation Employment Permit: This permit is designed for people who have worked in Ireland on a valid employment permit of any type, but have been removed from the system due to circumstances outside of their control, such as workplace abuse or malpractice. Applicants must first apply for a temporary immigration permission stamp via the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). Applicants can download the application form and read the eligibility criteria here
  • Contact for Services Employment Permit: This permit allows non-EEA employees to work for Irish entities whilst remaining employed and contracted outside of Ireland. Labor market tests are usually required before these permits are awarded
  • Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits: This permit allows key personal, trainees and senior management of multi-national companies to transfer to Irish branches. To receive this permit, the applicant must earn more than €40,000 per annum (or €30,000 per annum for trainees) and have been employed at the company for at least six months (or one month for a trainee)
  • Internship Employment Permits: These permits are available to non-EEA national full-time students completing studies at a tertiary level outside of Ireland that have received a work experience job offer from Ireland
  • Sport and Cultural Employment Permits: These permits may be provided to foreign nationals who are employed by Ireland in the fields of sport and culture
  • Exchange Agreement Employment Permits: These permits are available for foreign nationals that are employed under exchange agreements, such as the Fulbright Program.

Australians between the ages of 18 and 30 can also apply for a Working Holiday Authorisation under an agreement between the Irish and Australian Governments. Applicants should be aware that:

  • You need sufficient funds to support yourself until you find work
  • Medical insurance is strongly recommended
  • The market for causal work is highly competitive in Ireland and having a visa does not guarantee you a job
  • Holders of this visa are still subject to immigration controls. Australians need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days. There is a €300 fee for the issue of the Garda (police) registration card that proves your registration.

Compile Irish Visa Documentation

To apply for an Irish visa, you need to supply a range of supporting documentation. This is an example of the types of documents you should begin compiling to ensure your application is not subject to delays:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Previous passports
  • Recent passport photograph
  • Tax returns for the last three years
  • Bank statements for the last six months
  • Medical examination reports
  • Academic records
  • Police check report.

How to Apply for a General Employment Permit

If you are applying for a General Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation
  • Pay the application fee of €500 for six months or €1,000 for two years. 90% of this fee will be refunded if your application is not approved
  • Once complete, you can check on the status of your application via the online status enquiry facility.

How to Apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit

To apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation
  • Pay the application fee of €1,000 for two years and €300 for a Certificate of Registration. 90% of this fee will be refunded if your application is not approved
  • Once complete, you can check on the status of your application via the online status enquiry facility.

How to Apply for a Dependent, Partner or Spouse Employment Permit

To apply for a Dependent, Partner or Spouse Employment Permit:

How to Apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit

To apply for a Reactivation Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation, includes the ‘Reactivation Employment Permit’ letter from the Department of Justice and Equality
  • Pay the application fee of €1,000 for two years and €300 for a Certificate of Registration. 90% of this fee will be refunded if your application isn’t accepted
  • Once completed, you can check on the status of your application via the online status enquiry facility
  • Holders of Reactivation Employment Permits are also required to re-register with the Burgh Quay Registration Office or the regional registration office (if living in Dublin). For applicants living outside of Dublin, they should register at the local Garda District Headquarters. Registering enables the holder of this permit to secure legal employment.

How to Apply for a Contact for Services Employment Permit

To apply for a Contact for Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation
  • Pay the application fee of €500 for a six month permit and €1,000 for a two year permit
  • Applications will be processed in a strict order of the date they were submitted. You can track the progress of your application here
  • You may be contacted for extra information if it is required
  • You will receive notification that either your application was successful or unsuccessful
  • You can review the decision within 28 days by submitting a Submission of a Decision for Review Form.

How to Apply for an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit

To apply for an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation
  • Pay the application fees of €500 for a six month permit and €1,000 for a two year permit
  • Applications will be processed in a strict order of the date they were submitted, you can track the progress of your application here
  • You may be contacted for extra information if it is required
  • You will receive notification that either your application was successful or unsuccessful
  • You can review the decision within 28 days by submitting a Submission of a Decision for Review Form.

How to Apply for an Internship Employment Permit

To apply for an Internship Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation
  • Pay the application fees of €500 for a six month permit and €1,000 for a two year permit
  • Applications will be processed in a strict order of the date they were submitted, you can track the progress of your application here
  • You may be contacted for extra information if it is required
  • You will receive notification that either your application was successful or unsuccessful
  • You can review the decision within 28 days by submitting a Submission of a Decision for Review Form.

How to Apply for a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit

To apply for a Sport and Cultural Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation
  • Pay the application fees of €500 for a six month permit and €1,000 for a two year permit
  • Applications will be processed in a strict order of the date they were submitted, you can track the progress of your application here
  • You may be contacted for extra information if it is required
  • You will receive notification that either your application was successful or unsuccessful
  • You can review the decision within 28 days by submitting a Submission of a Decision for Review Form.

How to Apply for an Exchange Agreement Employment Permit

To apply for an Exchange Agreement Employment Permit:

  • Apply through the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). This system includes all necessary forms, as well as a detailed list of the required documentation
  • Pay the application fees of €500 for a six month permit and €1,000 for a two year permit
  • Applications will be processed in a strict order of the date they were submitted, you can track the progress of your application here
  • You may be contacted for extra information if it is required
  • You will receive notification that either your application was successful or unsuccessful
  • You can review the decision within 28 days by submitting a Submission of a Decision for Review Form.

How to Apply for a Personal Public Service Number

Applying for a Personal Public Service Number Applying for a Personal Public Service Number

The Personal Public Service (PPS) is a unique number that enables Irish residents to access public services, including:

Before you can be allocated a PPS, you must prove that you need a number to facilitate a transaction with a specific body. For instance, if you are commencing employment in Ireland, you will need a PPS in order to register with the Irish taxation office, the Revenue Commissioners.

To apply for a PPS, you will need to apply in person once you arrive in Ireland at a PPS Registration Centre. Whilst there, you will need to complete the necessary application form and provide evidence of your identity (a passport, birth certificate and drivers’ licence), as well as evidence of your address in Ireland (lease agreement, utility bill or bank statement).

How to Decide Where to Live in Ireland

Deciding where to live in Ireland Deciding where to live in Ireland

Most people relocating from America to Ireland for work will already know where they are going to live—your location will have been confirmed during the application process for an employment permit. However, if you aren’t relocating for work or haven’t yet secured employment, you’ll need to take several factors into account when deciding on where to live.

From low crime rates to health and education systems, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect place for you and your family to call home. Geography and weather can also play a large part in your decision, just as unemployment rates, average salary and the cost living are likely to influence the location of your new home.

To help you decide where in Ireland will best suit both your needs and those of your family, some of the most important factors are outlined below.

What is the Unemployment Rate in Ireland?

Understanding local unemployment rates is vital in choosing where you live. Unemployment rates are a key statistic in gauging your employment prospects and how quickly you will be able to find a job. The Central Office of Statistics provides searchable data on unemployment statistics in specific areas throughout Ireland.

What is the Average Salary in Ireland?

The average annual salary in Ireland is approximately €26,800 per annum. However, a better factor to consider when choosing where to live in Ireland is the local average salary, which will provide a good indication of your likely earning potential. PayScale offers average salary statistics for specific cities in Ireland.

What is the Cost of Living in Ireland?

The cost of living in Ireland varies greatly from county-to-county and even city-to-city. Investigate the average cost of living in your preferred locations so that you can budget accordingly.

The following list provides an idea of the average prices you can expect to pay for products and services in Ireland’s most expensive city, Dublin (although keep in mind that these prices will vary based on both location and provider):

  • Monthly rent for an unfurnished three-bedroom apartment: €2,300
  • A dozen eggs: €3
  • A liter of milk: €1
  • A loaf of bread: €1.50
  • McDonald’s Big Mac Meal: €8
  • A cappuccino: €3
  • Three course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): €30
  • Monthly internet (with 8MB download): €45
  • Monthly utilities (gas, power and water) for a small apartment: €150
  • Petrol (per liter): €1.30

What are Crime Rates Like in Ireland?

Everyone wants to find a safe neighborhood to call home. Just how safe a neighborhood is varies from county-to-county and even city-to-city. So, before you decide where to live in Ireland, review The Irish Examiner's crime rates by county.

What is the Quality and Availability of Health Care Like in Ireland?

The standard of healthcare in Ireland is very high. There is a good doctor-patient ratio and the size of the country means that you can access quality healthcare from most areas. However, you should be aware that healthcare may be limited in some of the more remote areas of Ireland.

For more information, visit What is the Health Care System Like in Ireland?

What is the Quality of Schools Like in Ireland?

If your children will be accompanying you on your relocation to Ireland, it’s important that you move to an area that can provide them with a quality education. Schooldays has published a list of the top 10 schools in each of the Irish counties, as well as the top 10 boys schools, top 10 girls schools and the top 20 co-educational schools.

For more information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Ireland?

What is the Population Wellbeing and Standard of Living in Ireland?

Ireland performs well in many measures of wellbeing relative to most other countries in the OECD Better Life Index. Ireland ranks above average in housing, personal security, health, education, social connections, subjective wellbeing, work-life balance and environmental quality. However, Ireland is below average in income and civic engagement.

However, when it comes to deciding on a place to live, you really need an understanding of what local population wellbeing is like. Healthy Ireland provides some information on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the Irish population in the different counties and cities.

What are Tolerance and Diversity Like in Ireland?

If you or any member of your family belongs to a minority group, general levels of societal tolerance and diversity are important factors. As in any country, some cities and counties of Ireland are more accepting of cultural, racial, religious and sexual differences, both socially and legally.

What is the Average Commute Time in Ireland?

When deciding on where to live in Ireland, the average commute time can be an important consideration, particularly if you plan to drive to and from work every day. On average, 70% of the Irish population drives to work every day, with an average commute time of around 30 minutes per day. This report by the Central Office of Statistics provides in-depth information on commute times throughout Ireland.

What is the Climate Like in Ireland?

The Atlantic Ocean is the greatest influence on the climate, saving Ireland from the extremes in temperature that afflict other countries at the same latitude. The average annual temperature throughout Ireland is 9°C (48°F). The middle and eastern portions of Ireland have more extremes in temperature than the rest of the country, ranging from a daily mean of 19°C (66°F) in summer to 2.5°C (36°F) in winter. It can rain for up to 200 days every year in Ireland, with the northwest, west and southwest of the country experiencing the highest rainfall levels. Be sure to research the climate of the potential county you’re planning to live in to ensure it suits your preferred lifestyle.

What is the Geography of Ireland?

Inland Ireland is characterized by lowlands of rolling plains, lakes, bogs and rivers. The Comeragh, Blackstairs, Bluestack, Derryveagh, Reeks, Ox, Slieve Mish and Wicklow are some of the major mountain ranges in the country. The highest point is Carrauntuohill in the far southwest, which stands at 1,041m (3,415 feet) high.

A major geographical feature of Ireland is the sea cliffs along the west coast. The Cliffs of Moher are the most famous stretch, reaching a height of 213m (698 feet).

Ireland is also surrounded by islands, including the Aran Islands which lie to the southwest of Galway, and Achill, which is the largest.

The River Shannon runs for 386km (239 miles), making it Ireland’s largest river, and feeding four major lakes: Lough Bafin, Lough Allen, Lough Derg and Lough Ree.

What is the Weather Like in Ireland?

will have to accept the fact that rain, fog and mist are part of daily life in Ireland. It essentially rains all year-round in Ireland. While this rain may be an annoyance, it is also the reason for the year-round lush green hills that have made Ireland a tourist destination for so many years.

Temperatures are moderate, thanks to the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic Ocean. Summers are mild but rarely hot with temperatures between 16°C (60°F) and 21°C (70°F). Winters are mild but rarely freezing, with temperatures hovering between 4°C (40°F) and 16°C (60°F). Rainfall is heaviest in Winter and Fall, and snowfall is very rare.

When is the Best Time to Move to Ireland?

Deciding when to move to Ireland Deciding when to move to Ireland

Relocations need to be carefully planned to ensure everything runs smoothly. When timing a move, several factors need to be considered. The most important of these factors are weather (you don’t want to move in heavy rain or snow) and holiday seasons (when moving is generally more expensive).

Consider the Weather

The relative evenness of temperature and rainfall means that expats don’t need to take the weather into account as much as they would if moving to an area characterized by extreme weather. However, the best time to move to Ireland is in Spring, when rainfall is at its lowest and temperatures are moderate.

American will have to accept the fact that rain, fog and mist are part of daily life in Ireland. It essentially rains all year in Ireland and while this may be an annoyance, it is also the reason for the year-round lush green hills that have made Ireland a tourist destination for so many years.

Temperatures are moderate, thanks to the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic Ocean. Summers are mild but rarely hot with temperatures between 16°C (60°F) and 21°C (70°F). Winters are mild but rarely freezing, with temperatures hovering between 4°C (40°F) and 16°C (60°F).

Consider Holiday Seasons

Moving during holiday seasons in any country is generally more expensive. So, keep in mind that Ireland’s location in the Northern Hemisphere means that the longer break is taken over the Irish summer, which is the same as America?s summer.

If possible, avoid the following holiday seasons in Ireland:

  • All federal public holidays
  • Christmas holidays: Two weeks from late-December
  • Winter break: One week from late-January
  • Easter break: Two weeks around Easter in March to April
  • Summer break: Nine weeks from early July.

What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Ireland?

Types of schools in Ireland, and how to choose one Types of schools in Ireland, and how to choose one

In Ireland, all children are entitled to free primary and post-primary education. Most primary schools are funded by the state and the vast majority of children attend these schools. There are a small number of private schools. If you decide to send your child to a private school, you will have to pay fees every year.

In the Irish Education System:

  • It is compulsory to attend education in Ireland from the age of six to 16 or until the student has completed three levels of secondary education
  • In Irish schools, education is divided into three levels:
    • Early Childhood: This level of education is not compulsory, although 40% of four year olds and all five year olds do attend. Education is provided at primary schools in the form of infant classes
    • Primary: Primary education covers first to sixth class, for children aged from six to 12
    • Post Primary: This stage of education comprises of a three-year Junior Cycle (lower secondary) and a two or three-year Senior Cycle (upper secondary).
  • In Ireland, the Government plays a central role in setting the curriculum, learning outcomes, and assessment of both primary and post-primary schools. The Minister for Education and Skills is responsible for setting the curriculum and advises the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)
  • Children normally attend their local school. You can send your child to the primary or post primary school of your choice, as long as there is a place for them. While most schools can enroll all the children who apply, there is no guarantee of a place in the local school
  • To enroll your child, you should first check the list of primary and post primary schools in your area. You should contact the school of your choice to see if there is a place available. If a school is full, it may not be able to enroll your child. The school may place your child on a waiting list or suggest another school in the area
  • Irish schools generally observe three school terms (unlike the two terms in America), with one longer nine weeks summer holiday in the middle of the year. The terms are usually:
    • First Term: September to December
    • Second Term: January to Easter
    • Third Term: Easter to July.

What Types of Schools are there in Ireland?

The standard of education in Ireland is very high and there are a variety of schools to cater to the needs of all parents and students, from public and private schools through to international schools.

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education is not compulsory but most Irish children attend some form of early childhood education. Education is provided at primary schools, in what are known as infant classes. Early childhood education and care services in Ireland are delivered outside the formal education system by a diverse range of private, community, and voluntary interests and are described variously as crèches, nurseries, pre-schools, naíonraí (Irish language pre-schools), playgroups and daycare services.

Public Schools

The public school system in Ireland is of a high quality, making them a popular choice for expat parents. Education is provided for free, although parents will have to pay for textbooks, uniforms and extra-curricular activities. Public schools all follow the national curriculum, meaning expectations and assessment are uniform across schools. American students may need time to adjust to the heavy focus that the Irish school system places on examinations. English is the primary language of instruction. Parents can apply to have their students excused from religious education and lessons in the Irish language.

Private Schools

Most of Ireland’s private schools are situated in Dublin, with a large majority being Catholic affiliated. Private schools receive no public funding and are not required to teach according to the national curriculum.

International Schools

There are three international schools in and around Dublin and one in Limerick. These are the only international schools in Ireland, so expat children in other areas will need to attend local public or private schools. International schools prepare students for the International Baccalaureate examination and diploma, qualifying graduates for entry to universities outside Ireland. Waiting lists for international schools can be long and the fees can be very expensive. Find your local International Baccalaureate school.

What Types of Tertiary Education are there in Ireland?

In Ireland, tertiary education is referred to as third-level education. Universities, technology institutions, colleges of education and other specialized colleges all contribute to this stage of education.

Technology Institutes

Technology institutes provide education and training in areas such as engineering, science, business and music at certificate, diploma and degree levels. There are 14 technology institutes in Ireland; they are located in Dublin as well as in areas such as Cork, Waterford, Athlone, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Limerick and Carlow.

Specialized Colleges

These institutions require students to pay fees and usually provide specialist education in vocational or business degrees. These providers are often linked to universities or industry associations, with awards varying depending on the association.

Colleges of Education

Colleges of Education train students to enter the education industry. The three-year Bachelor of Education program prepares students to teach at a primary level, while secondary level teachers usually undertake a postgraduate degree.

Universities

All Irish universities are state funded, but generally operate autonomously. Universities in Ireland offer the same degrees as American universities, running from undergraduate to postgraduate awards. There are seven universities in Ireland:

How to Choose a School in Ireland

To assist you in finding the most appropriate school for your children, visit:

How to Ship Household Goods to Ireland

Shipping household goods to Ireland Shipping household goods to Ireland

If you’re moving to Ireland, then a huge part of the process is going to involve shipping your household belongings to Ireland and associated customs requirements. To ensure that your household items arrive in Ireland safe and sound and clear customs as quickly and easily as possible, be sure to follow our advice on the documents required, customs prescriptions and other tips and suggestions below.

Keep the following considerations in mind when shipping your household belongings to Ireland:

  • Used household goods may be imported into Ireland duty free if they have been in your possession and used for at least six months and are for your continued use, rather than resale
  • New furniture and household goods are liable to the payment of customs duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) and must be separately declared
  • The importer must be a resident in the country of origin for at least one year and intend to take up permanent residence for at least 185 calendar days
  • You must provide evidence that you are taking up permanent residence in Ireland, as well as evidence of residency in America for a continuous period of 12 months or more. This evidence may include a letter of reference from your previous employer, utility bills or bank statements
  • You may import household goods and personal effects up to six months prior to your transfer of residence and for up to one year after.

What Documents are Required for Shipping Goods to Ireland?

For the safe shipment and smooth customs clearance of your household goods, you’ll need to ensure that the following documentation is completed as accurately as possible and provided:

  • Original copy of Moving to Ireland Customs Form 1076 Transfer of Residence
  • Legible inventory in English with same signature of shipper as on Form 1076
  • Proof of residence abroad
  • Up to five of the following dated over 12 months old:
    • Utility bills
    • Credit card statements
    • Bank statements.
  • One of the above dated within six months of your move
  • Proof of sale of American residence or copy of American rental or lease agreement
  • Proof of employment abroad
  • Proof of residence in Ireland
  • Proof you have entered into a purchase agreement or a copy of rental or lease agreement in Ireland
  • Proof of employment in Ireland.

If you are importing inherited goods, you will also need to provide:

  • An original copy of Moving to Ireland Customs Form 1080 Application to Import Inherited Property
  • A copy of the Will of the deceased or a copy of Probate from the Court
  • A copy of the death certificate
  • A detailed inventory (if the Will or other documents do not specifically detail the goods that are being imported) with supporting declaration from a Lawyer confirming that the goods to be imported are your rightful share of the estate.

If you are importing new furniture or household goods, you will also need to provide:

  • A customs valued inventory list to determine your payable VAT & duty amounts
  • Freight costs
  • Your PPS number.

For more information about How to Ship Household Goods to Ireland visit Ireland Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Vehicles into Ireland

Importing vehicles into Ireland Importing vehicles into Ireland

You can move cars, trucks, caravans, campervans and motorbikes to Ireland, so long as the relevant customs requirements are met. To help ensure that you meet customs requirements and that the clearance of your vehicle is as smooth as possible, follow our advice on these requirements below. It’s also worth considering the various taxes imposed on importing vehicles into Ireland before you decide to ship your beloved car, motorbike or truck.

What are Ireland’s Vehicle Importation Requirements?

To import vehicles into Ireland from America, they may have to comply with all general vehicle importation requirements, including:

  • Motorbikes and automobiles may only be imported once the shipper is in Ireland
  • The importation of vehicles will be exempt from duty charges so long as the vehicle has been in your possession and substantially used abroad for at least six months prior to it being shipped to Ireland
  • The vehicle cannot be sold or otherwise disposed of for one year after the date of importation
  • All automobiles being imported and not covered under transfer of residence conditions are subject to sales tax and vehicle registration tax. In order to ascertain the amount payable to customs, you will need to supply the following information: name, make, model, year, type, engine capacity, petrol or diesel, length of time owned and invoice value.

What Safety and Emissions Standards Must Be Met?

All cars imported into Ireland that are four years or older are required to undergo a National Car Test (NCT). The test covers a range of things, including emission, brakes, steering and suspension, chassis and underbody, electrical systems, transmission, interior, glass and mirrors and fuel system. In preparation for this test you should:

  • Ensure the car is completely emptied of personal belongings
  • Clean the car, especially the underbody
  • Top up your oil and water
  • Remove hubcaps and have tyres inflated to the correct pressure
  • Ensure all seat belts and clips are fully visible
  • If you have a diesel vehicle, the timing belt should have been replaced within the timeframe specified by manufacturer
  • Have your lights checked.

Faults with brakes, headlights and exhaust emission are the most common causes of import failure, so pay attention to these areas. In most cases, a slight engine tuning will be enough to ensure your exhaust emissions pass.

Before attempting to import any vehicle into Ireland, you must ensure that the vehicle meets all European Union emissions standards, including:

  • Euro 1: Cars registered after 31 December 1992:
    • Petrol: CO: 2.72g/km, HC + NOx: 0.97g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 2.72g/km, HC + NOx: 0.97g/km, PM: 0.14g/km.
  • Euro 2: Cars registered after 1 January 1997:
    • Petrol: CO: 2.2g/km, HC + NOx: 0.5g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 1.0g/km, HC + NOx: 0.7g/km, PM: 0.08g/km.
  • Euro 3: Cars registered after 1 January 2001:
    • Petrol: CO: 2.3g/km, HC: 0.20g/km, NOx: 0.15g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 0.64g/km, HC + NOx: 0.56g/km, NOx: 0.50g/km, PM: 0.05g/km.
  • Euro 4: Cars registered after 1 January 2006:
    • Petrol: CO: 1.0g/km, HC: 0.10g/km, NOx: 0.08g/km
    • Diesel: CO: 0.50g/km, HC + NOx: 0.30g/km, NOx: 0.25g/km, PM: 0.025g/km.
  • Euro 5: Cars registered after 1 January 2011:
    • Petrol: CO: 1.0g/km, HC: 0.10g/km, NOx: 0.06g/km, PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only)
    • Diesel: CO: 0.50g/km, HC + NOx: 0.23g/km, NOx: 0.18g/km, PM: 0.005g/km, PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km.
  • Euro 6: Cars registered after 1 September 2015:
    • Petrol: CO: 1.0g/km, HC: 0.10g/km, NOx: 0.06g/km, PM: 0.005g/km (direct injection only), PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km (direct injection only)
    • Diesel: CO: 0.50g/km, HC + NOx: 0.17g/km, NOx: 0.08g/km, PM: 0.005g/km, PM: 6.0x10 ^11/km.

What is the Process to Import a Vehicle into Ireland?

To ship your vehicle to Ireland, you must complete and provide the following documentation:

Once your car has arrived Ireland, you will need to make an appointment with the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) for a Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) inspection, which is carried out on behalf of the Revenue Commissioners. This inspection will confirm that your vehicle is as described in your customs documentation.

What Requirements Must Be Satisfied to Drive an Imported Car in Ireland?

Before driving an imported car in Ireland, you must satisfy four requirements. You need to pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT), acquire new vehicle registration plates, purchase motor insurance and pay motor tax. Each of these requirements is outlined in detail below.

Vehicle Registration Tax

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) is the tax associated with registering a vehicle in Ireland and is required upon import. After paying VRT, you will be given a registration certificate. Any delay between the import and paying the VRT could result in substantial penalties, including prosecution and forfeiture of your vehicle.

The VRT is paid at a National Car Testing Service (NCTS), as the nature of your car determines how much VRT you pay. You can book an appointment online and must visit a center within 30 days of importing the vehicle. You will need to take your PPS number and proof of identity to the meeting.

For regular-sized vehicles such as cars and vans, the VRT is based on a percentage of the recommended retail price, taxes included, as well as CO2 emission bands. You can estimate your liability by visiting the Revenue Vehicle Registration Online Enquiry System.

Motor Insurance

It is illegal to drive in Ireland without motor insurance. Third party insurance is the minimum insurance required by law. However, it is recommended that you take out a more comprehensive insurance plan to protect yourself against serious liability and loss in the case of accident.

Motor Tax

Motor tax is assessed by two methods, depending on when your car was registered. Tax is measured by:

  • CO2 emission bands for private-use cars that were registered after July 2008
  • Engine capacity for cars registered before July 2008.

After paying motor tax, you are required to show proof of your payment by affixing a current tax disc to your window. Failure to display this disc will result in a €60 fine.

For more information about How to Import Cars into Ireland, visit Ireland Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Pets into Ireland

Importing pets into Ireland Importing pets into Ireland

You can take most pets to Ireland, so long as they are accompanied by the correct documentation, free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and are not deemed harmful to the environment. As such, importing most cats, dogs, birds and reptiles is possible.

General laws and regulations for importing pets into Ireland include:

  • The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine controls the import of pets into Ireland, with the aim of preventing infectious disease from spreading and affecting local animal populations
  • Wildlife and wildlife products must enter or exit Ireland at one of the following designated ports (unless permits allow otherwise): Dublin Port, Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport
  • All pets must be accompanied by original paperwork; copies will not be accepted
  • Your pet must arrive in Ireland within five days before or after you travel to the country (but it can be accompanied by someone else)
  • Five is the maximum number of any type of pets that you can import into Ireland.

There are also specific requirements for importing different types of pets, each of which is outlined in detail below.

How to Import Dogs, Cats and Ferrets into Ireland

As America is considered a lower-risk non-EU country, it is quite easy to import your pet dog, cat or ferret into Ireland. However, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Your pet must have a readable microchip. To ensure it can be read by Irish authorities, ensure your vet implants an ISO-certified chip. If the microchip cannot be read by the Irish authorities, your pet may be refused entry or put into quarantine
  • You must have an official veterinarian fill in, date, and sign this official veterinary certificate to prove that your pet is immunised against rabies and your dog has been treated against tapeworm 23 to 120 hours before arrival in Ireland. Dogs should also be treated against ticks, although this is not compulsory
  • An official veterinarian is one registered with the United States Department of Agriculture. You can also have your local veterinarian complete the relevant paperwork and then have it stamped by an official veterinarian
  • You must organise a compliance check in advance, by contacting Lissenhall Veterinary Hospital ([email protected]) or Vets Direct ([email protected]).

How to Import Birds, Rabbits and Rodents into Ireland

You can bring your pet bird, rabbit or rodent into Ireland so long as you apply for the appropriate permit ahead of time.

To import pet birds, you will need to complete:

To import rabbits or rodents, you will need to complete:

Once you have completed the relevant forms, they must be mailed to:

Animal Health and Welfare Division
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Animal Health Section
Agriculture House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Ireland

For more information, visit our Ireland Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Weapons into Ireland

Importing weapons into Ireland Importing weapons into Ireland

All owners of firearms must obtain a temporary importation licence prior to arrival in Ireland. On arrival, firearms will be examined by customs and surrendered to police, who will issue a licence to hold a firearm in the Republic of Ireland. To apply for a firearms import licence, you will need to:

What Types of Weapons are Prohibited from Importation into Ireland?

The following types of weapons and ammunition are prohibited from being imported into Ireland:

  • Explosive military missiles and launchers
  • Automatic firearms
  • Firearms disguised as other objects
  • Ammunition with penetrating, explosive or incendiary projectiles and the projectiles for such ammunition
  • Pistol and revolver ammunition with expending projectiles and the projectiles for such ammunition, except in the case of weapons for hunting or for target shooting for the person entitled to use them.

What Types are Weapons are Subject to Authorization for Importation into Ireland?

The following types of weapons and ammunition are subject to authorization before being imported into Ireland:

  • Semi-automatic or repeating short firearms
  • Single-shot short firearms with center-fire percussion
  • Single-shot short firearms with rimfire percussion whose overall length is less than 28cm (11 inches)
  • Semi-automatic long firearms whose magazine and chamber can together hold more than three rounds
  • Semi-automatic long firearms whose magazine and chamber cannot together hold more than three rounds, where the loading device is removable, or where it is not certain that weapon cannot be converted with ordinary tools into a weapon whose magazine and chamber can together hold more than three rounds
  • Repeating and semi-automatic long firearms with smooth-bore barrels not exceeding 60cm (23 inches) in length
  • Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use that resemble weapons with automatic mechanism.

For more information, visit Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality’s information on Importing Weapons and Firearms into Ireland or our Ireland Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Alcohol into Ireland

Importing alcohol into Ireland Importing alcohol into Ireland

You may import wines and other alcoholic beverages into Ireland as part of your household goods shipment, pursuant to Irish laws and regulations. The following amounts of alcohol can be imported from America to Ireland duty-free:

  • 1 liter of spirits
  • 2 liters of intermediate products (fortified wine, sherry, sparkling wine, etc.)
  • 4 liters of still wine
  • 16 liters of beer.

Alcohol brought in by diplomats for personal consumption is allowed in free of charge. Please consult your Embassy for more information about potential quotas before shipping.

If you exceed these amounts you will pay 23% Value Added Tax (VAT), based on the total cost of imported alcohol.

For more information about How to Import Alcohol into Ireland, visit Ireland Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Plants into Ireland

Importing plants into Ireland Importing plants into Ireland

The process for importing plants into Ireland is quite complicated and multi-faceted. As such, you may want to consider whether importing plants is necessary. Americans seeking to import plants and plant produce into Ireland must:

  • Register as an importer with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. To register you must:
  • Apply for a plant import licence by:
  • Upon receipt of this request to import, you will be issued with directives as to what needs to accompany the plants and plant produce. All items will need to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, demonstrating that your plant consignment conforms with European Union plant protection rules. You can apply for a phytosanitary certificate in America through the United States Department of Agriculture
  • Plants can only be imported into Ireland at Dublin Airport and Dublin Port. The importation licences will give explicit details as to where the plants need to be declared and how much notice you need to give of the consignments arrival.

For additional information on the importation of plants and plant products, visit the Department of Agricultural, Food and the Marine or our Ireland Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Find Employment in Ireland

Finding employment in Ireland Finding employment in Ireland

If you’ve already secured a new role (or are moving to Ireland for a specific employment opportunity), now is the time to investigate employment options for your partner. Or, if you haven’t secured role, to investigate employment for yourself. Follow our tips for the easiest job search possible, from using the most popular employment websites and best recruitment agencies in Ireland through to how to establish a business in Ireland.

What are the Best Employment Websites in Ireland?

Some of the major employment websites in Ireland are:

  • Irish Jobs
  • Jobs Ireland
  • Recruit Ireland
  • Monster
  • Indeed.

What are the Major Recruitment Agencies in Ireland?

Alternatively, you may wish to register with a recruitment agency. Some of the major professional recruitment agencies in Ireland include:

  • CPL
  • Sigma Recruitment
  • Irish Recruitment
  • FRS Recruitment
  • HRM Recruitment.

Some of the major executive recruitment agencies in Ireland include:

  • MERC
  • Brightwater
  • Ascension
  • Principal Connections
  • Executive Edge.

Self-Employment and Establishing a Business in Ireland

If you or your partner are considering self-employment or establishing your own business in Ireland, the following resources may be useful:

Further Resources on Employment

The Department of Job, Enterprise and Innovation provides a range of resources designed to make securing employment easier and to ensure expats are aware of their rights as an employee in Ireland.

It provides sections on support for small and medium enterprises, workplace safety and dispute resolution, company and employment law and a range of other useful topics and tools.

What is Working in Ireland Like?

Working in Ireland Working in Ireland

Despite its small population, there is diversity in Irish workplaces, and while it’s difficult to make generalizations about working in Ireland, there are some things you need to be aware of. One thing is common across all workplaces however—hard work is expected and appreciated. There are many commonalities to working in America: office hours (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) are the same, as are expected standards of office etiquette and dress code. Plus, communication style is quite like that in America—direct while remaining informal.

How Do the Irish Communicate in Business?

The Irish are famed for their wit and eloquence in conversation and this extends to communication in a business setting. Humor and gentle teasing are often used to build rapport and stave off conflict. It may take some time to learn the balance between humor and seriousness in the workplace.

In communication, you should always be direct, honest and open. Never act in a brash or loud manner as this will be greeted with suspicion.

Greetings

A firm handshake made with direct eye contact is the appropriate greeting for business colleagues and associates of both sexes.

Use titles and last names when first meeting people. However, it is customary to quickly move to a first-name basis. Just wait until you are invited to do so.

Business Meetings

Business meetings in Ireland can be less structured than what Americans are accustomed to. For example, meetings may take place in a café or a pub, and there is often no formal agenda. Small talk is an essential part of the meeting, although, as always, never discuss religion and politics.

Many Irish businesses are family owned and building rapport and trust is often more important than outwardly displaying your skills as a businessperson or negotiator. So, it’s important that you are reserved and take your cues from leaders during business meetings.

Email

Communication via email should be no different than any other form of business communication—it should remain professional at all times. When first contacting a person via email, you should use some degree of formality. As your business relationship progresses, you can adopt a friendlier, more casual tone. Some tips for email communication:

  • Your subject line should be clear, succinct and in line with the content of your email
  • Keep your sentences short, clear and easily understood
  • Include a signature in your email with relevant contact information, such as your return email, cell phone number and landline phone number.

Text Messaging

Business communication via text message is becoming more common in Ireland. However, the appropriateness of texting as a business communication method varies from company to company and industry to industry and can sometimes even be influenced by regulations.

For instance, a real estate agent and their client may regularly use text messages for communication, particularly as it is an easy communication method to use whilst on the go. However, a financial advisor may be prohibited from texting clients due to security and privacy concerns.

What are Business Hours in Ireland?

Business hours can vary depending on the industry, location and even company. General business hours include:

  • Banks:
    • Weekdays: Most banks are open from 9.30am or 10am to 3pm or 4pm, with late hours on one or more days
    • Saturdays: Some banks are open from 10am to 1pm
    • Sundays: Most banks are closed.
  • Corporate Offices: Working hours in Ireland are similar to those in America – 8am or 9am to 5.00pm or 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, with a half hour to an hour lunch break. However, working over 40 hours per week is not uncommon, with unpaid overtime and weekend work sometimes expected. Some companies also offer ‘flexi-time’, with flexible start and finish times
  • Retail Outlets:
    • Monday to Saturday: Most shops open at 9am or 10am, closing at any time from 5pm to 10pm
    • Sundays: Some stores are open from 12pm to 6pm.

What is the Usual Office Dress Code in Ireland?

Men and women should dress conservatively during the introductory stage of working in Ireland. Men typically wear suits and ties for business. However, some industries and businesses adopt a more casual dress code.

Women tend to wear conservative pantsuits, dresses or slacks with blouses. However, style is becoming more and more important for women in business.

Bringing wet weather clothing to the office is essential in Ireland, as it can rain up to 200 days a year.

What is Common Office Etiquette in Ireland?

Office etiquette in Ireland varies from county-to-county and despite the similarities between the Irish and American cultures, there are differences that you need to be aware of to make a smooth transition.

Work Ethic in

The Irish workforce is highly educated and highly motivated. Successive periods of economic downturn have given the Irish a fierce desire to find employment and excel so they can hold down their job. American will need to work hard to hold their place amongst the enthusiastic Irish workforce.

Gifts

Giving gifts is uncommon in a business setting and is not expected. However, if you are invited to a colleague’s home, it is polite to bring a good bottle of wine or spirits, a box of chocolates or some flowers. It’s important not give red and white flowers as they are the colours of England.

Do’s and Don’ts of Business in Ireland

  • Do dress formally for initial meetings and interviews. After this initial meeting, follow the example set by your colleagues
  • Do engage in small talk about appropriate topics, such as sport. Never discuss religion, Northern Irish politics or the relationship between England and Ireland
  • Do speak openly and honestly
  • Do start by addressing business associates formally using their title and surname. It is likely that business associates will ask to be referred to using their first name
  • Don’t forget to maintain eye contact while speaking as looking away can create a feeling of mistrust
  • Don't be late for meetings or appointments
  • Don’t forget to exchange business cards with associates.

What are Common Customs and Social Norms in Ireland?

Customs and social norms in Ireland Customs and social norms in Ireland

If you’re an American moving to Ireland, you’ll need to understand local Irish customs and common cultural differences to help you and your family assimilate more easily into Irish culture on arrival. Luckily, you can follow our in-depth guide below that takes you through everything from Irish religion and table manners through to metric versus imperial conversions and words commonly used in Ireland.

What is Irish Pub Culture?

Other drinking establishments are gaining popularity, but the traditional Irish pub is still the centerpiece of Irish life. Pubs are a place to gather and socialize with friends and family and, most importantly, to have a craic which loosely translates to ‘good time’.

Refusing a drink at a pub used to be considered a grave insult, although this is no longer the case. Even if you don’t drink you should take part in the Irish pub culture if you really want to assimilate. Pubs, especially in smaller towns, are places for people of all ages and entire families often gather together to drink, eat and listen to traditional Irish music.

What is Religion Like in Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland is a Catholic country and Catholicism still informs much of the culture, tradition and even politics. Migrants have brought other religions with them and, for the most part, Ireland is a very tolerant country. However, as in all countries, there are some areas where conservatism rules and difference is not treated kindly.

Expats moving to areas near the border of Northern Ireland should be aware that tension does still exist between Protestants and Catholics. The story behind these tensions has a long and bloody history. The Republic of Ireland is historically a Catholic country, while Northern Ireland inhabitants are Protestants. Expats should never engage in conversation about this religious divide. If you find yourself in a conversation about this religious tension, it is better to quietly listen than join in unless you know the other people very well.

What is Considered Good Manners in Ireland?

Much like in America, good manners and politeness are important in Ireland. To ensure that you exhibit good manners when you arrive in Ireland, follow our comprehensive list of tips:

  • If someone does something nice for you, thank them
  • Hold the door open for people behind you; never let it slam in their face
  • Respect your elders
  • Always say “excuse me” if you’ve interrupted or bumped into someone
  • Try to help other people if they need it, such as a person carrying a pram up and down stairs on their own or someone picking up dropped shopping
  • Personal hygiene is very important in Ireland, so be sure to maintain good habits when it comes to showering and brushing your teeth
  • Do not stop in the middle of a busy street, particularly in big cities; you’re likely to get bumped into or knocked over
  • Do not stare at other people
  • Do not stand too close to other people; give them ample personal space
  • Do not ask personal questions (such as their age, religion, political stance or how much money they make) of someone you have only just met
  • The Irish have a loose concept of time, so don’t be surprised or upset if someone is late to a meeting or appointment. However, expats should pay attention to punctuality
  • Never cut in line in Ireland. Queues are respected and you should wait in line patiently
  • The Irish pride themselves on hospitality. If you go to someone’s house, tea and biscuits or drinks will be laid out and it is expected that you will do the same.

What is Considered Good Table Manners in Ireland?

Table manners are important in Ireland. So, to ensure you make a good impression at your first dinner party or your first meal out a restaurant, follow these handy tips and tricks on good table manners:

  • Eat politely and chew with your mouth closed
  • Never talk with your mouth full
  • Try not to make too much noise; do not slurp or loudly munch or crunch
  • If something on the table is out of reach, politely ask someone to pass it to you
  • Lift food up to your mouth, rather than bending over to eat it
  • Place a napkin on your lap when eating
  • If in a group, wait until everyone has been served before you start eating
  • Keep your elbows in when cutting food
  • Always use cutlery when eating; never pick up food in your hands, expect in rare exceptions to the rule, such as fried chicken and corn on the cob.
  • Once you have finished your meal, it is polite to place the knife and fork together on the plate
  • If someone is hosting a dinner, it is not uncommon for a toast to be given. You should wait until the toast has been given before you drink. The word for cheers in Irish is ‘slainte’, pronounced ‘slan-cha’, which means ‘good health’.

There is some behavior that should be avoided when eating in Ireland, including:

  • Burping at the table
  • Placing your elbows on the table
  • Smoking at the table
  • Speaking with your mouth full.

How Do the Irish Communicate?

The Irish are witty and eloquent and some of the best conversationalists on the planet, which makes conversing with the Irish a pleasure. To help ensure you’re neither offended nor offend others when you first arrive in Ireland, follow these rules:

  • When speaking, it is important to make and maintain eye contact
  • Some topics of conversation, such as religion and politics, should be avoided at social gatherings, until you know the other guests well. Safe topics of conversation include sports, hobbies, travel and one’s children
  • In general, the Irish maintain an arm length’s space of personal space between one another during social gatherings
  • Friendly teasing, known as ‘banter’, is quite common in Irish conversation. It is important for expats to know that this teasing is good-natured and not intended to cause offence.

Ireland uses the metric system, unlike the United States which uses the imperial system.

The Imperial system is based on the old British system of measurement (as ordered by the king, hence the name Imperial). The units of measurement in the Imperial system are yards, miles, feet, inches, pounds, ounces, and gallons.

The Metric system is an internationally agreed system of measurement. Based on the mètre des Archives and the kilogramme des Archives introduced by the French in 1799, the metric system uses the units of meter, kilogram and second.

Units of Measurement

Units of measurement in the Imperial system, versus those in the Metric system include:

  • 1 inch = 2.54 cm
  • 1 meter = 3.28 feet
  • 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers
  • 1 gallon = 3.78 liters
  • 1 kg = 2.2 lbs.

Some tips and tricks to help remember how to convert units of measurement include:

  • Converting miles to kilometers: Five miles is equivalent to 8 kilometers (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1 kilometer equals 0.62137119 miles). To convert miles to kilometers, the easiest way to formula to use is: divide the number of miles by five, subtract the answer from the number of miles, and then double the number left. For instance:
    • 100 miles ÷ 5 = 20
    • 100 – 20 = 80
    • 80 x 2 = 160km.
  • Converting pounds to kilograms: 2.2 pounds is equivalent to 1 kilogram (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1lb equals 0.45359237 kilograms). To convert pounds to kilograms, halve the number of pounds, and then subtract one tenth of the result. For instance:
    • 100lbs ÷ 2 = 50
    • 50 - 5 = 45kg.
  • Converting gallons to liters: One liter equals 1.8 imperial pints, and there are eight pints in a gallon. Therefore, one gallon equals 4.55 liters. To convert gallons to liters, multiple the number of gallons by nine, and then halve the answer. For instance:
    • 100 gallons x 9 = 900
    • 900 ÷ 2 = 450 liters.
  • Converting inches to centimeters: One inch is equivalent to 2.54cm. So, to convert inches to centimeters, you simply need to multiply by 2.45. For instance: 100 inches x 2.45 = 245 centimeters
  • Converting feet to meters: There are 3.28 feet in a meter. So, to convert feet to meters, take your measurement (in feet) and divide it by 3.28. For instance: 100 feet ÷ 3.28 = 30.48 meters.

Temperature

In Ireland, temperatures are expressed in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit (as in America). A few key temperatures to remember:

  • 32°F = 0°C (freezing)
  • 70°F = 21°C (comfortable)
  • 100°F = 38°C (uncomfortable).

Do the Irish Use Different Words to Americans?

There are many words that are specific to the American vernacular. As such, it is unlikely that the British will understand what you are trying to say. To avoid confusion in day-to-day conversation, try substituting the following American words for their Irish counterparts:

  • “eggplant” versus “aubergine”
  • “national or federal holiday” versus “bank holiday”
  • “trunk” versus “boot”
  • “bathrobe” versus “dressing gown”
  • “cell phone” versus “mobile phone”
  • “cotton candy” versus “candy floss”
  • “counterclockwise” versus “anticlockwise”
  • “cookie” versus “biscuit”
  • “beets” versus “beetroot”
  • “drugstore” versus “chemist”
  • “cornstarch” versus “cornflour”
  • “potato chips” versus “crisps”
  • “zucchini” versus “courgette”
  • “pacifier” versus “dummy”
  • “Santa Claus” versus “Father Christmas”
  • “apartment” versus “flat”
  • “soccer” versus “football”
  • “bangs” versus “fringe”
  • “period” versus “full stop”
  • “principal” versus “headmaster”
  • “vacation” versus “holiday”
  • “popsicle” versus “ice lolly”
  • “sweater” versus “jumper”
  • “elevator” versus “lift”
  • “truck” versus “lorry”
  • “highway” versus “motorway”
  • “sidewalk” versus “pavement”
  • “sneakers” versus “trainers”.

Useful Irish Phrases

While English is the main language in Ireland, there are certain areas particularly in the west such as Gaeltacht, where Irish is still the first language. Try learning the following Irish phrases, particularly if you’re moving to these areas:

  • “Failte” means “welcome”
  • “Dia dhuit” means “hello”, or literally “good day”
  • “An bhfuil tú go maith?” means “how are you?”
  • “Tá mé go maith, go raibh maith agat, agus tú fein?” means “I’m good thanks, and you?”
  • “Tráthnóna maith duit” means “good afternoon” or “good evening”
  • “Oíche mhaith” means “good night”
  • “Slan” means “goodbye”
  • “An bhfuil Béarla agat?” means “do you speak English?”
  • “Tá brón orm!” means “sorry”
  • “Le do thoil” means “please”
  • “Go raibh maith agat” means “thank you”
  • “Tá fáilte romhat” means “you’re welcome”.

Irish Gaelic Pronunciation

The spoken Irish Gaelic language features pronunciation that is different to other English languages. One of the reasons for this is the use of two sets of vowels, with different sounds for each:

  • á: pronounced as in the English "pa"
  • a: pronounced as in the English "ago"
  • é: pronounced as in the English "hey"
  • e: pronounced as in the English "peck"
  • í: pronounced as in the English "knee"
  • i: pronounced as in the English "pick"
  • ó: pronounced as in the English "woe"
  • o: pronounced as in the English "mock"
  • ú: pronounced as in the English "shoe"
  • u: pronounced as in the English "muck".

So, using some of the common words listed above as examples, the pronunciation for each is:

  • “Failte” is pronounced “fahl-cheh”
  • “Dia dhuit” is pronounced “dee-a-ghwit”
  • “Tráthnóna maith duit” is pronounced “Tra-known-na m-awh a-gut”
  • “Oíche mhaith” is prounounced “ih-hah”.

There are also several common Irish first names that are often pronounced incorrectly by expats. Follow our guide below to help ensure that you don’t mispronounce names when you first arrive in Ireland:

  • Caoimhe: pronounced “Kweeva”
  • Siobhan: pronounced “Shiv-awn”
  • Oisin: pronounced “Ush-een”
  • Sinead: pronounced “Shin-ade”
  • Aisling: pronounced “Ash-ling”
  • Niamh: pronounced “Knee-ov”
  • Grainne: pronounced “Grawn-yah”
  • Cathal: pronounced “Cah-hull”
  • Tagh: prounounced “Tig”
  • Saoirse: pronounced “See-or-shah” or “Ser-shah”.

Expats also need to keep in mind that there are three different dialects spoken throughout Ireland: Ulster, Connacht and Munster. The pronunciation varies between each dialect. To hear the different between the dialects, try using this online Irish Pronunciation Database.

What is a Credit Rating?

Maintaining a good credit rating is important in Ireland, as it influences loan and credit card applications. The major credit rating bureau in Ireland is the Irish Credit Bureau, which collects credit rating information. Several factors affect your credit score, some of which include:

  • The number of credit accounts you hold
  • The amount owed on your credit accounts
  • Your total available credit limit
  • Your total debt
  • Your promptness in paying bills
  • Payment or credit issues, such as bankruptcy, loan defaults or foreclosures.

What are the Most Popular Sports to Play and Watch in Ireland?

Most popular sports to play and watch in Ireland Most popular sports to play and watch in Ireland

Sport is central to Irish culture. If you take the time to learn about the popular national sports, you’ll find it a lot easier to start conversations and settle into your new home. The Irish don’t just like watching sport—they also love playing sport. You’ll find some form of recreational facility in almost every Irish town.

The four main sports in Ireland are football, Gaelic football, hurling and rugby. Games attract huge crowds at the professional level and supporters are very passionate.

League of Ireland Premier Division

The League of Ireland Premier Division is the top professional football (soccer) competition in Ireland and has been in operation since 1985. It is played over the summer months and is a relegation format competition, in that the bottom team each year are relegated to a lower division. 12 teams play in the competition, with the Dundalk Football Club being the most successful.

Gaelic Football

Gaelic football is indigenous to Ireland. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is responsible for running the main-level competition and while it is an amateur sport, there is strong support throughout Ireland. The league final regularly leads to sell-outs at the 73,500 capacity Croke Park Stadium in Dublin and is the most attended sport in Ireland.

Hurling

Another indigenous sport that is run by the GAA, hurling also enjoys significant popularity throughout Ireland. The game is thought to have been played for over 3,000 years. Players use wooden sticks to advance the ball up the field and score one point for hitting it over a crossbar or three points for hitting under the crossbar. The final at Croke Park also regularly attracts sell-out crowds of more than 73,500 people.

Rugby Union

The top Irish rugby union teams participate in the Pro14, which is an annual rugby competition consisting of teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. The season is played between September and May, with Irish team Leinster holding the most titles in the competition’s history.

Other Sports in Ireland

Apart from the four main sports, there is also significant interest in sports such as golf, boxing, Mixed Martial Arts and horse racing.

Playing Sport in Ireland

Joining a sporting club in Ireland is easy. The best place to start is at a local YMCA or local private club. You may also find that locals hold casual games of football, Gaelic football, hurling and rugby at parks and fields.

Fitness in Ireland

As in most places, there is a current craze for fitness in Ireland. Most cities and towns have local fitness facilities. YMCAs are a great option for exercising on a budget. Private gyms offer a larger-range of facilities and private classes, although membership fees are higher. Some of the larger private gyms include:

  • FLYEfit
  • NRG Express
  • Ben Dunne Gyms.

Locals also exercise for free by taking advantage of the jogging and biking paths that wind through lush green fields. Horse riding is also a popular pastime and most towns will have an equestrian centre close-by.

What Holidays and Traditions are Celebrated in Ireland?

Celebrating holidays and traditions in Ireland Celebrating holidays and traditions in Ireland

There are many different types of holidays and traditions celebrated in Ireland, from religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter, through to cultural celebrations such as St Patrick’s Day, as well as more general school holidays. Read our guide below so that you understand the meaning behind each tradition, as well as how and when they are celebrated.

When are the School Holidays in Ireland?

Irish schools generally observe three school terms (unlike the two terms in America), with one longer nine week summer holiday in the middle of the year. The terms are usually:

  • First Term: September to December
  • Second Term: January to Easter
  • Third Term: Easter to July.

When are Ireland’s Federal Public Holidays?

Ireland observes nine federal public holidays, each of which is outlined below. If a federal public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it is moved to the first available weekday.

New Year’s Day (1 January)

New Year’s Day celebrates the beginning of the new calendar year. Generally, people attend large parties on the night of 31 December, ringing in the New Year at midnight. While the 2nd of January isn’t a public holiday, most people will take this day off work as well.

St. Patricks Day (17 March)

This is Ireland’s national holiday and is dedicated to the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. The day is a celebration of Irish culture, with the country covered in green and the sounds of traditional music fill the air.

Good Friday to Easter Monday (Date Fluctuates)

The majority of Ireland is Catholic, making the Easter period an important holiday. Businesses are closed from Good Friday to Easter Monday to commemorate the death and celebrate the rebirth of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and saviour of mankind.

May Bank Holiday (First Monday in May)

This bank holiday is connected to International Worker’s Day, which is celebrated around the world on 1 May every year. This day is also associated with the Gaelic festival of Beltane, which celebrates the last day of Winter.

June Bank Holiday (First Monday in June)

This day is connected to the holiday that used to be taken on Whit or Pentecost Monday. It is now celebrated on the First Monday in June and allows people to plan trips and enjoy the warmer weather.

August Bank Holiday (First Monday in August)

The reason for this holiday is uncertain, although evidence suggests that the creator Sir John Lubbock picked the day because it was an important day in the cricketing calendar. In modern times, it is used to plan trips and make the most of the last days of summer and warm weather.

October Bank Holiday (Last Monday in October)

The proximity of the October Bank Holiday Halloween means that it is often used to celebrate Halloween. Many of the American Halloween traditions were actually transported from Ireland—Halloween was an important Celtic festival that was originally called Samhain Eve.

Modern celebrations consist of a dinner of cabbage, raw onions and boiled potatoes. Coins are often hidden in potatoes for children to find. Barnbrack cake is served for desert. The cake has a ring, a coin and a rag inside. Whoever finds the ring is bound for happiness and romance and whoever finds the coin will achieve prosperity, while the unlucky person that finds the rag faces a future of financial uncertainty.

The tradition of Jack-O-Lanterns is descended from the legend of an Irish blacksmith who was condemned to wander the Earth as punishment for his collusion with the devil. Hollowing out a turnip or a pumpkin and placing a candle inside was a way to keep the damned soul of the blacksmith away.

Christmas Day (25 December)

Just as in America, Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and, as Christianity is the most widespread religion in Ireland, it is the biggest holiday of the year. Most businesses are closed on Christmas Day and many on Christmas Eve as well.

Most people decorate their homes with Christmas lights and Christmas trees and children believe that Santa Claus will visit their home and bring them gifts, so long as they have been well-behaved.

St. Stephens Day (26 December)

This day falls on the same day as Boxing Day in America, except in Ireland it is held to recognize the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen.

Other Irish Holidays and Festivals

In addition to federal public holidays, there are various other holidays, festivals and celebrations observed by the Irish population, each of which is outlined below.

Valentine’s Day (14 February)

Much the same as Valentine’s Day in America, this festival is celebrated in memory of St Valentine. Lovers exchange gifts and cards, often anonymously.

Passover (14th Day of the First Month of the Jewish Year)

Passover is a Jewish tradition, which lasts for eight days and celebrates the survivals of the Jews in Egypt. The tradition is marked with ritual dinners called Seder. While Passover is not a federal public holiday, most Jewish companies close during this period and practicing Irish Jews may also take time off work.

Mother’s Day (Fourth Sunday of Lent)

Just like Mother’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their mother, often buying presents and gifts.

Father’s Day (Third Sunday in June)

Once again, just like Father’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their father, often buying presents and gifts.

What is Food and Drink Culture Like in Ireland?

The eating and drinking culture of Ireland The eating and drinking culture of Ireland

A key way to experience the culture of a new country is through their food and beverages, and Ireland is no different. Not only does Ireland have its own unique foods and drinks, it also offers a range of culturally diverse options due to its rich cultural heritage. You’ll also need to be aware of some cultural norms when it comes to food and drink in Ireland, such as expectations around tipping and the legal drinking age.

Does Ireland Have a National Dish?

Ireland has an array of speciality foods. The influx of migration has diversified Irish cuisine, but there are still some traditionally Irish foods that you can sample around the country:

  • Soda Bread
  • Irish Stew
  • Colcannon
  • Boxty
  • Boiled Bacon and Cabbage
  • Black and White Pudding
  • Coddle.

Ireland is also home to several beverages that are consumed all around the world. Whiskey was invented in Ireland, with the word stemming from the Irish “uisce beatha”, which means “water of life”. Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur are all popular around the globe.

What are Restaurants Like in Ireland?

Ireland has experienced a boom in restaurant cuisines over the last 20 years. Traditional Irish fare still exists, but it is now possible to find cuisines from all over the world, even in small towns.

If you want traditional food, head to a pub. However, you should check the hours that pub kitchens are open; generally, pub kitchens are open from 12 noon to 3pm (for lunch) and then from 6pm to 9pm (for dinner). At traditional pubs, you can expect hearty food, generous helpings and plenty of craic.

The quality of local produce has meant that chefs are using traditional ingredients for modern creations, often with incredible results.

Standard dining etiquette is observed in Ireland; don't speak too loudly, don't place your elbows on the table, don't burp and don't speak with your mouth full.

How to Find a Restaurant in Ireland

There is no standard restaurant rating system in Ireland, although newspapers and magazine regularly print reviews. The easiest way to find restaurants and view their ratings is by visiting review websites:

  • The Taste
  • Where to Eat
  • Menu Pages.

How to Tip in Ireland

The tip is usually included in the bill at Irish restaurants, but if you can’t see a service charge on the bill don’t hesitate to ask. 10% to 15% is an appropriate tip. Tipping in pubs is not expected, but always appreciated. You never have to tip at a fast food restaurant.

What is the Legal Drinking Age and Drinking Restrictions in Ireland?

The legal drinking age in Ireland is 18.

There are strict punishments in place for driving while intoxicated. The legal limit is 0.05% for fully-licenced drivers and 0.02% for learner or specialist drivers, such as truck drivers.

Shopping for Food

Food shopping in Ireland can be very expensive, but the quality of the food makes up for the cost. Food is fresh or snap frozen at the source and shipped by air. As such, food is very safe, with no need to disinfect surfaces–rinsing fruit and vegetables in tap water is sufficient.

The most common means of shopping for food is in large chain supermarkets. These are self-serve, with people pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles. Some of the larger supermarket chains include:

  • Tesco
  • Supervalu
  • LIDL
  • Aldi.

A rising trend in Ireland is home delivered meal-kit options, with the major suppliers including:

  • DropChef
  • Clean Cut Meals
  • The Pure Kitchen
  • Gousto.

What is Housing Like in Ireland?

Housing in Ireland Housing in Ireland

If you’re not moving to Ireland from America for work or your employer hasn’t secured housing for you, you’ll need to investigate potential properties to buy or rent in Ireland. Before you start your house search, you’ll need to understand what renting and buying property is like, as well as what types of houses and apartments are available in Ireland.

What are the Best Real Estate Websites in Ireland?

A good place to start your search is some of the most popular real estate search websites. These will give you an idea of the type of housing available, as well as the average cost. Try:

  • My Home
  • Daft
  • Property.

What is Renting Property in Ireland Like?

If you’re planning on renting property, keep in mind:

  • Rent is paid monthly and always paid in advance
  • You will need to provide a deposit of at least one month’s rent to secure accommodation
  • Fixed-term tenancy and periodic tenancy agreements are available. Fixed-term is ideal for expats who know exactly how long they will be in the area, as it guarantees them accommodation for a set period. Periodic tenancy is better for expats who are unsure about how long their employment will last, as it offers the freedom of being able to move out with little notice
  • Houses are rarely furnished, although it is possible to find furnished properties
  • If the property you rent is furnished, ensure that you complete a detailed condition and inventory report
  • It is rare for utilities to be included in the rent, so factor the costs of utilities into your budget.

What is Buying Property in Ireland Like?

If you’re planning on buying property, keep in mind:

  • To purchase a home for private use, the house must be on five acres of land or less. There are restrictions in place for foreigners seeking to buy property over this limit
  • Engage the services of a local, reputable real estate agent. Some of the largest estate agents, which have offices in most cities, include:
    • RE/MAX
    • Coldwell Banker.
  • Organize inspections of properties that meet your criteria for when you arrive.

What Types of Housing are there in Ireland?

Housing types, styles, and even availability vary from county-to-county and even city-to-city. However, some general facts you can expect about housing in Ireland include:

  • Housing prices and rent are significantly more expensive in major metropolitan regions, such as Dublin and Cork
  • Houses do not usually come furnished
  • Houses generally have several bedrooms and bathrooms, a lounge room and separate living area, a separate kitchen and laundry and sometimes have a study or media room, as well as a finished basement. These houses are more typically found in suburban or regional areas, rather than city-centers
  • Kitchens in Irish houses are typically smaller than kitchens in American houses, so consider selling your appliances and purchasing new ones to ensure everything can fit
  • Laundries in Irish houses are usually European-style (located in a large cupboard, rather than in a separate room). As such, these laundries only suit front-loader washing machines and dryers
  • Most houses feature heating, although cooling is rare
  • Garages may be rare in city-centers, so if you don’t feel comfortable parking your car on the street, it may be best to leave it in America.

What are Houses Like in Ireland?

There are two types of houses in Ireland:

  • Detached: Free-standing properties that have their own backyards. These yards can range in size from 550m2, right up to more than an acre
  • Semi-Detached row houses: While these are self-contained, they share a ‘party’ wall with the neighboring property and often share a yard. The upkeep of this yard is paid for by all homeowners via a monthly or quarterly ‘Home Owners Association’ fee.

What Architectural Styles are Common for Houses in Ireland?

Houses in Ireland may be any one of several different architectural styles:

  • Georgian: Dating back to the 1700s, Georgian style homes feature double-hung windows, transom lighting and a pedimented crown
  • Victorian: Usually featuring steep-pitched roofs, which has made this style popular for loft-conversions. This style can range from being highly-detailed to featuring more simplistic designs, depending on when the house was built
  • Edwardian: Built during the early 20th century, homes were given a larger frontage and colors became lighter. The design features of Edwardian houses are also less elaborate and complex than previous styles
  • 1930s: As people moved into the countryside, this modern style of housing became more popular. Taking cues form Victorian housing, this style is marked by gentle curves, uncomplicated design and the use of steel and cement for building materials
  • Post-Second World War: This period covers a range of styles. Victorian and Edwardian revivals were popular, but modernizm also paved the way for Brutalist and Internationalist style housing, which was marked by function, coldness and the exposure of building materials.

What are Apartments Like in Ireland?

Apartments in Ireland may be:

  • Occupant-owned
  • Leased from the building owner (or their appointed representative, such as a real estate agent)
  • Cooperatively-owned (referred to as a ‘co-op’), where owners become shareholders in a company that owns the entire building and its grounds. Members of a co-op pay a monthly fee to cover the cost of gardening, maintenance, the mortgage, insurance and taxes. As members have voting rights when new owners seek to rent or buy a property within the building, they can be difficult to rent or buy.

What is the Best Way to Get Around in Ireland?

Getting around in Ireland Getting around in Ireland

An efficient and comprehensive public transport system, coupled with safe, well-conditioned roads means getting around Ireland is easy. Expats have several transport options at their disposal. So, if you choose to live in one of the major cities, such as Dublin, Cork or Galway, a car isn’t necessary. Although, a car is very useful for exploring the more remote parts of Ireland.

What are the Road Rules When Driving Ireland?

If you plan to drive once you arrive in Ireland, there are several different road rules you should make yourself aware of:

  • Main highways are tolled, so you need to keep some spare change in your car at all times
  • Pay attention to your fuel levels when driving in remote parts of Ireland, as service stations are rare
  • While most roads in Ireland are safe and in good condition, the roads in the country side can be narrow and winding, particularly along the coast. Ensure you drive to suit the condition of the road and use your horn when moving around a tight corner
  • Major national roads are marked with an ‘N’, regional roads are marked with an ‘R’ and motorways are marked with an ‘M‘. Speed limits are 100km per hour (60 miles per hour) on national roads, 120km per hour (175 miles per hour) on motorways and 80km per hour (50 miles per hour) on regional roads. The speed limit is 50km per hour (30 miles per hour) in built up areas
  • The driving side in Ireland is the left, so Americans will need to alter their driving accordingly.

For more information, visit Driving in Ireland by Discovering Ireland.

Can You Drive in Ireland with a Foreign Licence?

Americans can drive on their American licence for up to a year in Ireland. After a year, expats will need to apply to have their licence converted to an Irish licence. To organize a conversion, expats need to:

For more details, visit Ireland’s National Driver Licence Service’s information for holders of foreign licences.

What is Public Transport Like in Ireland?

Ireland has an extensive public transport system, allowing expats to travel to most places without a car, particularly in large cities such as Dublin and Cork. However, expats should keep in mind that transport in remote areas may not operate on Sundays or during Winter in extreme weather. Public transport in Ireland is safe, efficient, clean and punctual.

Trains

Iarnod Eireann (Irish Rail) is state-owned and operates Ireland’s national rail network. The service provides rail connections between major towns and cities and offers commuters a comfortable and economical means of transport. Direct services are offered between major towns, but expats should be aware that services to smaller towns are less frequent and often require transfers.

Buses

Ireland’s national bus network is also state-owned and operated by Bus Eireann (Irish Bus). Commuter and inter-city bus routes are available, although services to remote areas may not operate on Sundays and can be cancelled during winter. Bus Eireann has an app that allows you to purchase smartphone tickets or you can pay in exact change when boarding the bus. Bus travel is considerably cheaper than train travel.

Railways, Subways and Trams

Dublin offers an electrified train system known as Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) that travels along the coastline of the Dublin area, from north to south. The service operates every 15 minutes, with extra trains provided during rush periods.

Dublin also has a tram system called Luas. The system consists of two lines: the 22 stop Green Line and the 32 stop Red Line. The system connects with bus and train systems to provide complete coverage of the Dublin metropolitan and suburban areas.

You can use prepaid LEAP cards to pay for public transport throughout Ireland.

Taxis and Uber

Taxis (or ‘cabs’) are common in inner city and suburban areas, as well as within smaller towns. Taxis can be hailed from the side of the street with the wave of a hand or a whistle at taxi ranks, or booked over the phone. Charges for taxi services are similar throughout the country.

A relatively new company, Uber is an app-based ride share cab company. Using Uber, you can hire a driver to pick you up in their private car and take you to your desired destination. The nearest driver can be at your pickup location within minutes. The service is currently limited to Dublin.

What is Air Travel Like in Ireland?

Affordable domestic flights are available in Ireland, with major airports located in Knock, Shannon, Dublin and Cork. Aer Lingus is the national airline, with Ryan Air providing low-cost flights throughout Ireland and Europe.

When travelling with Ryan Air, passengers need to remember to print off the tickets before arriving at the airport and ensure they only bring the baggage allowance purchased, as charges for extra baggage are extremely expensive.

Smaller regional carriers also provide services on specialized routes.

While air travel is fast, passengers should allow ample time to clear immigration, customs and security, particularly for international flights.

What Items are Prohibited when Shipping Goods to Ireland?

Prohibited items when shipping goods to Ireland Prohibited items when shipping goods to Ireland

Many dangerous or prohibited goods cannot be shipped to Ireland. People attempting to import prohibited items into Ireland may be subject to a penalty and the items may be seized by customs officials. To help ensure that your goods are not seized and that your entire shipment is not delayed, follow our guide on prohibited items.

What Items are Prohibited Entry to Ireland?

General items prohibited from entry into Ireland include:

  • Controlled drugs
  • Psychoactive substances
  • Dangerous chemicals
  • Ozone depleting substances (CFCs, Halons, HCFCs and so on)
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Radioactive substances and nuclear devices
  • Offensive weapons
  • Goods from sanctioned countries
  • Indecent or obscene articles, videos, publications, prints and so on
  • Books and periodical publications banned under the Prohibition Orders under the Censorship of Publication Acts, 1929 to 1967, as amended by the Health (Family Planning) Act 1979 and the Regulation of Information (Services outside the State for Termination of Pregnancies) Act 1995
  • Archaeological objects
  • Oral tobacco products.

What Wildlife Products are Prohibited Entry to Ireland?

Any products made from endangered or threatened wildlife, as defined by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are prohibited entry to Ireland. The Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht functions as the CITES Management Authority in Ireland.

For more information, download our Guide to Moving Dangerous, Prohibited and Restricted Items.

What Items are Restricted When Shipping Goods to Ireland?

Restricted items when shipping goods to Ireland Restricted items when shipping goods to Ireland

When shipping items to Ireland, some items are subject to restrictions and will require additional precautions, including rough diamonds, money, trademarked items and food.

Rough Diamonds

The import of rough diamonds needs to be accompanied by a Kimberley Process Certificate.

Money

You must declare any cash or coins of more than €10,000 to customs upon arrival in Ireland.

Trademarked Items

Imitation products represented by a registered trademark are restricted entry to Ireland. The items most frequently identified as having false trademarks are perfume, jewelry (including watches), cameras, tape recorders and musical instruments. Pirated copies of copyrighted books are also restricted.

Food (including Herbs and Spices)

The European Union has strict controls over all food products entering the European Union (EU) from non-EU countries. To prevent any hold-ups in the importation of your shipped goods, it is not recommended that you pack food products in your shipment.

What is the Health Care System Like in Ireland?

The healthcare system in Ireland The healthcare system in Ireland

Ireland has a world-class public healthcare system, provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE). If expats have been granted a Personal Public Service number, they have access to all services provided by Ireland’s public healthcare system.

While the standards of care are excellent, long waiting lists for treatment mean that many locals and expats choose to take out private healthcare to circumvent the wait times and receive treatment right away.

What is Health Insurance Like in Ireland?

There is strong competition between private healthcare providers in Ireland. As such, with a little research, you should be able to find affordable health insurance that suits the level of coverage you require.

The Health Insurance Authority (HIA) is an independent watchdog that ensures private health care companies work within the law. The HIA also creates legislation for the industry, meaning the private health care industry in Ireland is one of the most well-regulated in the world.

Major Health Insurance Providers

Some of the major health insurance providers in Ireland include:

The Citizens Advice Bureau provides more information on private health insurance.

What are Emergency Medical Services Like in Ireland?

If you have an acute medical emergency, dial ‘999’ on your phone to request an ambulance (as well as the police and the fire brigade). The operator will dispatch the ambulance as quickly as possible. Paramedics are highly trained throughout Ireland.

Alternatively, you can make your own way to the nearest hospital with an emergency room for immediate treatment.

How Do Pharmacies and Prescription Medication Work in Ireland?

Pharmacies in Ireland are similar to pharmacies in America. There are smaller, family-owned pharmacies, as well as large chains that stock much more than medication. Some of the largest national pharmacies are:

  • Lloyds Pharmacy
  • CarePlus Pharmacy
  • McCabes Pharmacy.

International prescriptions will not be filled by Irish pharmacies. You will need to take a copy of your American prescription to an Irish doctor and have them write you a local prescription.

How Do Electricity, Water and Gas Utilities Work in Ireland?

Electricity, water and gas utilities in Ireland Electricity, water and gas utilities in Ireland

When moving to Ireland, you’ll need to understand how electricity, water and gas utilities work, from the biggest utility companies in the market, to connecting your services, as well as whether your American appliances and electronics will work in Ireland.

How to Connect Your Utilities in Ireland

Once you’ve found a property to rent or buy, you’ll need to organize the connection of your electricity, water and gas utilities. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Electricity is the main source of power throughout Ireland and it can be expensive. There are two different rates – day and night
  • Flats are typically powered by pre-paid electricity
  • There are several electricity and gas utility providers throughout Ireland, so do your research to find the best possible price
  • To connect your home to electricity, you need to provide your ESB supplied Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). If you’re renting, your landlord will be able to provide you with this. If you have purchased a property, you will need to contact your local municipal authority to confirm this number
  • There is only one supplier of water in Ireland, Irish Water. The Irish Water website explains charges for water
  • If you’re renting, your landlord should be able to tell you who your local utility suppliers are and how to have them connected
  • The biggest electricity utility companies in Ireland include:
  • The biggest gas utility companies in the Ireland include:

Will American Appliances and Electronics Work in Ireland?

Your American appliances and other household electronics may not work in Ireland due to three potential compatibility issues: the plug, the voltage and the frequency.

The different power plug is easy to overcome with a plug adapter. However, the difference in electricity voltage and frequency can be more challenging. In America, electricity operates at 100 to 110 volts. In Ireland, electricity is 230 volts, at Frequency of 50 Hz. So, you should check manufacturer instructions before plugging appliances in for the first time..

Generally, many electronic items nowadays (like computers and peripherals) can run on both voltages and frequencies. You just need to check their power labels or manuals for ‘110-240v 50/60Hz’ before plugging them in for the first time in Ireland. And if they can’t run on both voltages, there is still a chance they’ll work by purchasing ‘step-down’ voltage transformers. However, these transformers can be costly, bulky, unsightly and inconvenient.

Unfortunately, many American appliances, especially those with motors like washing machines and dryers, may not work in Ireland. Their motors might struggle with the frequency difference and there’s no practical solution to change electrical frequency. Furthermore, televisions and video and DVD recorders operate in different digital formats and standards, which may also make them incompatible in Ireland.

You should therefore thoroughly check the power labels or manuals of all your appliances and electronics to ensure they are compatible with Ireland’s voltages and frequencies before incurring the cost of shipping over items that might be useless upon arrival. Buying new or secondhand appliances and electronics once you arrive may not only be more cost-effective, but your only solution.

How Do Cell Phones and the Internet Work in Ireland?

Mobile phones and the internet in Ireland Mobile phones and the internet in Ireland

There is any number of cell phone and Internet providers in Ireland, all of which offer a range of different packages at a range of different price points. Be sure to do your research into which package best suits your needs before signing on the dotted line.

There is nationwide connection to the internet via DSL. Many Irish locals prefer cell connections, with cell connection usage rates among the highest in the world.

The main cell phone providers are:

The main internet providers are:

How to Keep in Touch with Family and Friends Back Home While in Ireland

Keeping in touch with family and friends from Ireland Keeping in touch with family and friends from Ireland

Relocating to Ireland is an important moment in your life. It allows you to gain invaluable life experiences, but it also requires you to move away from your family and friends in America. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to keep in touch from cell phones and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) apps like Skype and WhatsApp, through to the Irish Postal Service.

Phone

To make an international call from Ireland, you'll need to dial:

  • The Irish international access code, which is ‘+353'
  • The international country code for the country you wish to call (this is '1' for America)
  • The area code. For example:

    • '907' for Alaska
    • '302' for Delaware
    • '808' for Hawaii
    • '208' for Idaho
    • '207' for Maine
    • '406' for Montant
    • '605' for South Dakota
    • '802' for Vermont
    • '307' for Wyoming.
  • The number of the person you wish to call.

Different carriers will have different international call rates, so make sure you confirm these rates early on.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Apps

One of the cheapest ways to make an international call from your mobile is to take advantage of a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) app, such as:

If you use any of these apps while you're connected to Wi-Fi, you'll save a lot of money. You also won't have to worry about international country codes—just click on the contact and press call. You also have the option of making videos call over Skype, Facebook Messenger and FaceTime, helping you feel more connected to your friends and family.

Internet

The popularity of mobile devices, excellent DSL connection, and the ubiquity of Wi-Fi connection points around cities and towns means it’s easy to stay connected via the internet. The internet offers you round-the-clock access to the people you miss back home. Email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all allow you to stay connected and you can also use your computer or phone to make international calls via Facebook and Skype.

Postal Service

AnPost provides an efficient and reliable postal service for sending international mail. AnPost offers two international postage services:

  • Registered Post International: This service ensures your post gets to its address by having it registered, securely handled and insured. Cost varies depending on weight; you can view costs by visiting this page. America is considered a Zone Four destination.
  • Express Post International: This service provides customers with all the security of Registered Post International with faster delivery times. Delivery times vary and will be quoted when you send the parcel. You can view rates here.

What Tax Do I Pay in Ireland?

Paying tax in Ireland Paying tax in Ireland

As with any developed nation, there are several taxes that you’ll be required to pay when living in Ireland. These taxes are outlined below and include income tax, sales tax, property tax and capital gains tax.

What is Income Tax?

If you are an employee, income tax is taken directly from your paycheck, so you won’t need to set aside money each month. If you are self-employed or have your own company, you will be responsible for paying your own income tax.

Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, each year you will need to complete a tax return, which declares how much money you’ve earnt, how much tax you’ve paid and therefore whether you’re owed a refund (or if you owe more tax).

The income tax you pay throughout the year also includes other taxes, including:

  • Universal Social Charge: This tax pays for Ireland’s social security and is charged at a progressive rate:
    • 5% on income up to €12,012
    • 5% on the next €5,564
    • 7% on the next €52,468
    • 8% on the balance.
  • Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI): This is a payroll tax that funds employee benefits and certain medical benefits. This tax is usually paid at a rate of 4% of your income.

What is Sales Tax?

The sales tax in Ireland is known as a Value Added Tax (VAT), with most goods and services subject to a 23% tax. However, there are two lower rates. Domestic fuel and power, labor intensive services and building services are taxed at 13.5%. Sales involving greyhounds and livestock are taxed at 4.8%.

Food, oral medicine, footwear and children’s clothing are all exempt from VAT.

What is Property Tax?

All residential properties with a market value below €1 million are subject to a 0.18% property tax. Properties above €1 million are taxed at a rate of 0.25%.

What is Capital Gains Tax?

The Capital Gains Tax applies to all sold property and is charged at 33%. Exemptions apply for property transfers between spouses.

What to See and Do in Ireland?

Things to see and do in Ireland Things to see and do in Ireland

Ireland may be tiny island, but its unique combination of history, stunning natural beauty and charismatic locals mean there are endless things to see and do in the Emerald Isle. There’s a reason why Ireland is one of the most visited nations on earth. This is just a selection of what expats can look forward to.

Blarney Stone

Yes, it’s a typical tourist attraction in Ireland but no trip to the Emerald Isle would be complete with kissing The Blarney Stone. Those who kiss the stone are said to be blessed with eloquence and if the locals of the Cork countryside are anything to go by, it must be true! The Blarney Castle itself is worth making the trip.

Bunratty Castle

The Bunratty Castle in County Clare is unparalleled in its completeness. Its 15th and 16th century tapestries and artwork are still intact and if you plan your visit right, you can take part in a ‘medieval banquet’ and be transported back to the time of kings, queens, knights and damsels.

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are on Ireland’s west coast, near Galway. They are simply breath-taking. The impossibly high and sheer cliffs reach heights of 213m (700 feet), allowing visitors to tower over the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs are home to an array of birdlife, including puffins and razorbills.

Cork

The local accent may be impossible to understand, but the locals make up for it with charm and a love of hospitality. The streets of Cork are lined with Georgian-era homes and the pubs are among the best in the country. Dublin has become an international city and that’s why Cork is often referred to as the ‘real’ capital of Ireland or ‘The People’s Republic of Cork’.

Croke Park

Whether it’s for a game of hurling or Gaelic football, there’s nothing quite like the energy that erupts out of the 73,500 capacity Croke Park Stadium. The Irish are passionate about their sports, particularly their indigenous sports, and heading along to a game is an important way to imbibe a bit of the local culture.

Galway

If anywhere can lay claim to being ‘the true Ireland’, it is Galway. Full of craic, there are almost more pubs than people and all of them seem to be full from morning until evening. Traditional Irish music is played, patrons dance on tables, and people of all ages come together to dance, sing and revel in the fun and charisma that is at the heart of Irish culture.

Glendalough

This valley in County Wicklow seems as though it were sculpted by hand. In fact, it was sculpted by a glacier and the beautiful surrounds inspired St Kevin to establish a monastery here during the Irish ‘Golden Age’ (AD 500-900). Visitors can still wander through the ruins and soak up the glory of nature and man’s devotion to God.

Guinness Storehouse

Pints of ‘Black Gold’ are served all over the world and the original Guinness brewery has been tuned into a fascinating museum. You’ll learn about the brewing process, see some of Guinness’s famous advertising campaigns and raise a pint on the top-level, which affords unbeatable views of Dublin.

Ireland’s Islands

Ireland is surrounded by islands that offer a glimpse into a simpler life of times gone by. The Aran Islands in particular, seem to be frozen in time. Irish is the first language and the modernization of Ireland hasn’t had as much of an effect. The islands are also noted for their geographical formations and historic monuments. They are easily accessible from Galway.

Killarney National Park

The Killarney National Park lies within the Ring of Kerry and features 25,000 acres of untouched oak woodlands, filled with mountains, parks, gardens and lakes. It carries the honor of being the first national park created in Ireland. Its significant populations of trout, deer, cormorants and salmon have made it a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Kilkenny

This city is a historical and cultural centre, thanks to its medieval streets, Gothic cathedral and enormous castle. To sample the famous Kilkenny craic, try to time your visit with one of the cities many festivals, such as the Kilkenny Arts Festival or the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival.

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Goal is the place where the Irish Rebels of the 1916 Easter Uprising were executed. It is the place where so many Irish political prisoners were sent during the years of the British rule. A place of terror and oppression, but a must-visit for anyone who wants to understand the complex history of Ireland.

Rock of Cashel

The 4th century Rock of Cashel castle is perched on top of a limestone cliff in County Tipperary. The castle has an auspicious past, as it was the place where King Aengus was baptized by St. Patrick.

St. Stephens Green

Ireland’s most famous park has made its way into several seminary literary works. Today, it is home to the busts of James Joyce and James Clarence Mangan, author of My Dark Rose. You can also wander through the William Butler Yeats Memorial Garden and soak up the inspiration from all the great people that have walked on the very same grass.

The Ring of Kerry

The Iveragh Peninsula is one of the most scenic parts of Ireland and the Ring of Kerry provides explorers with the perfect route. The route travels for 180km (110 miles), passing through quaint villages, all with their own stories to tell. Of particular interest is Skellig Monastery, an ancient Christian monastery situated on a rocky island 12km (7.5 miles) off the coast of Portmagee.

Disclaimer

We have been furnished with the above information, however, UniGroup Worldwide Moving gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action or relying upon it. UniGroup Worldwide Moving cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Guide.