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Moving to Ireland: Cost of Living and Relocation Considerations

Moving to Ireland comes with various considerations. We weigh up living and working in expat hotspots, including Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Limerick. This guide details essential expenses, cost of living, and logistical details helping you prepare for relocation to Ireland.

For expert advice on moving to Ireland or for other Ireland work visa enquiries, call us on 0333 305 9375 or reach out to us online.

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Cost of Living

Ireland’s cost of living varies across regions. As an EU27 country, Ireland uses the Euro. Their cost of living is comparable to other Western European countries. Understanding the cost of moving to Ireland will help you budget effectively for your new life.

Bills

You can expect to spend €150 to €250 monthly for electricity, heating, water, and refuse collection. This is typical for utilities in an 85m² apartment. Council tax or LPT (Local Property Tax) is generally payable by the property owner and is not an additional expense for renters.

Transport

Public transport aligns with neighbouring countries. Dublin commuters can expect to pay around €100-150 a month. Single journeys on Dublin’s DART and LUAS systems cost approximately €3.50. Elsewhere, bus journeys in Ireland are typically €2 to €3 for short trips and €2 to €4 for short train journeys. Maintaining a car might cost €200 to €300 a month.

Groceries

Groceries for a couple are typically €350 to €550 per month nationwide, influenced by dietary preferences and shopping habits. Example prices for groceries in Ireland:

  • Milk – €1.30
  • Bread – €1.58
  • 500g Chicken – €4.70

Healthcare

Health insurance costs vary widely, averaging between €100 to €200 per month, depending on coverage levels and the insured’s age. Residents staying for over one year can qualify for free or reduced healthcare. There are two options for accessing public healthcare in Ireland:

  • paying standard patient charges
  • a medical card

Leisure 

Dining out at mid-range restaurants can cost €15 to €25 per meal. Leisure activities such as cinema outings, gym memberships, or hobbies generally cost around €50 to €100 per person per month.

Childcare

Public schooling is available for expats, and is free of charge for children aged 4-5 and beyond when they can attend Primary School. All uniforms, books and extra-curricular activity are not included. Nursery school is not funded, and incurs additional costs. The Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report shows it is typically around €800 a month or €186.84 a week for full time child care, or €110.92 for part time childcare.

If you have any questions about moving to Ireland or about Ireland visas, our experienced and affordable lawyers are on hand to support you.

Ireland Economic Overview

Ireland now has one of the most skilled and educated workforces in the world. The country offers a robust economy, with a GDP reaching €528.2 billion in 2024, reflecting steady growth. Ireland’s GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) is notably high at €105,066, underscoring economic prosperity. The employment rate stands strong at 73.2% as of 2024, above the EU average.

In recent years, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook have established significant operations in Dublin, while other major companies and employers like Cisco, Medtronic, and Dell Technologies have operations across the country. 

The effects of these companies on the workforce in Ireland have been dramatic. The requirement for skilled workers has grown, attracting expats from across the world. 

Popular Expat Areas in Ireland

Ireland has become a haven for expats, especially those entering on Critical Skills Employment Visas. We examine the city-by-city outlook for living in Ireland, focusing on work and lifestyle, as well as rental market prices. 

Dublin

  • Population: Approximately 1.4 million in the Greater Dublin Area
  • Avg. Apartment Rental Prices: €1,500-€2,500 per month 
  • Points of Interest: Trinity College, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle, and the Temple Bar district

From its proud literary heritage to its lively pub scene, Ireland’s capital offers a mix of history and culture. Dublin attracts tourists and residents worldwide to its unique cultural and entertainment sphere. Expats in Dublin enjoy a vibrant tech hub with opportunities in multinational corporations.

The capital city offers diverse neighbourhoods with varying rent prices. Generally, a one-bedroom apartment might cost €1,000 to €2000 per month. The apartments at the lower end might be small, and the upper back is likely to be a more comfortable space in a more convenient location. Areas like Dublin 2 (city centre), Dublin 4 (Ballsbridge), and Dublin 6 (Ranelagh) are popular among expatriates.

  • a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre can range from €1,500 to €2,500 per month
  • outside the city centre, prices range from €1,200 to €1,800.

Major companies operating in Dublin include:

  • Google: Google’s European headquarters is in Dublin, known as “Google Docks.”
  • Facebook: Facebook’s European headquarters are situated in Dublin’s Grand Canal Square.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft’s European Development Centre is based in Dublin.
  • Amazon: Amazon has several offices and operations in Dublin, including its AWS division.

Cork

  • Population: Approximately 210,000 
  • Avg. Apartment Rental Prices: €1,000-€1,500 per month.
  • Points of Interest: English Market, Cork City Gaol, Fitzgerald Park, and the scenic Ring of Kerry.

Cork is known for its friendly atmosphere, vibrant arts scene, and culinary delights. The city hosts the Cork Jazz Festival. It also offers a blend of historic, creative and cultural experiences in a compact city centre, making exploring easy. Expats in Cork benefit from a relaxed lifestyle and a burgeoning arts community. The employment landscape is positive, with a spotlight on the technology and pharmaceutical sectors.

Cork offers a more relaxed pace of life than Dublin. Rent prices for apartments in Cork City Centre can range from €1,000 to €1,500 per month.

Major companies operating in Cork include:

  • Apple: Apple’s European headquarters, Hollyhill Campus, is in Cork.
  • Dell Technologies: Dell’s European operations centre is based in Cork.
  • VMware: VMware has a significant presence in Cork, focusing on research and development.
  • Pfizer: Pfizer has a central pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Cork.
  • Johnson Controls: Johnson Controls operates a global business services centre in Cork.

Galway

  • Population: Approximately 80,000.
  • Avg. Apartment Rental Prices: €1,000-€1,500 per month.
  • Points of Interest: Galway Cathedral, Spanish Arch, Eyre Square, and proximity to the Aran Islands.

Galway is renowned for its cultural richness. It hosts traditional music sessions and festivals like the Galway International Arts Festival. The city’s compact size fosters a strong sense of community. It is flanked by stunning coastal scenery and provides easy access to the Atlantic coast. Expats in Galway experience a vibrant coastal city with a youthful energy and a thriving arts scene. It is popular among students and young professionals.

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Galway City Centre averages around €1,000 per month.

Major companies operating in Galway include:

  • Medtronic: Medtronic has a substantial presence in Galway, focusing on medical device manufacturing.
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE): HPE operates a global services centre in Galway.
  • Boston Scientific: Boston Scientific has a manufacturing facility in Galway that specialises in medical devices.
  • Cognizant: Cognizant has an IT services and support centre in Galway.
  • Cisco: Cisco has a research and development centre focusing on networking technologies in Galway.

Limerick

  • Population: Approximately 100,000.
  • Avg. Apartment Rental Prices: €800-€1,200 per month.
  • Points of Interest: King John’s Castle, Hunt Museum, University of Limerick, and access to the scenic Cliffs of Moher.

Limerick blends historic charm with a relaxed lifestyle. Festivals like Riverfest and cultural attractions like King John’s Castle enrich the city’s vibrant community spirit. Its proximity to scenic landscapes like the Cliffs of Moher offers a unique escape from the hustle and bustle. Limerick expats find affordable living, a unique culture, and reasonable access to job opportunities in tech and healthcare.

Rent prices range from €800 to €1,200 per month, depending on location.

Major companies operating in Limerick include:

  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals: Regeneron has a central biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Limerick.
  • Northern Trust: Northern Trust has a fund administration and financial services centre in Limerick.
  • Analog Devices: Analog Devices operates a semiconductor manufacturing facility in Limerick.
  • Cook Medical: Cook Medical has a medical device manufacturing facility in Limerick.
  • Dell Technologies: Dell Technologies also operates in Limerick and focuses on support services.

Get expert immigration advice to navigate Ireland work visas and immigration rules today.

Moving Logistics

  • International Shipping: Costs for shipping household belongings to Ireland can vary widely. Expect to pay between €2,000 to €5,000 for a standard container shipment.
  • Furniture and Appliances: Consider purchasing locally upon arrival to save on shipping costs and ensure compatibility with Irish electrical standards (230V).

Banking and Utilities

  • Bank Account: Opening a bank account is essential for managing finances. Central banks in Ireland include AIB, Bank of Ireland, and TSB.
  • Utilities: Arrange for electricity, gas, water, and internet connections in advance. Utility setup fees may apply, with internet costs averaging around €50 to €70 per month.

Legal and Administrative Tasks

Necessary Documentation:

  • PPS Number: Similar to a Social Security Number, the Personal Public Service Number (PPS) is required for employment, taxes, and accessing social welfare services.
  • Residency: Depending on your visa type, you may need to apply for a residency permit or register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).
  • Registering with Local Authorities: You Must Register your address (or ‘register your name’ in Ireland) to access public services and prove residency.

Tax Rates in Ireland

Understanding the tax landscape is crucial for anyone considering relocation to Ireland. Here’s an overview of the central tax rates applicable as of 2024:

  • Income Tax: Ireland operates a progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 20% to 40%. The standard rate for income up to €42,000 is 20%, and income above this threshold is taxed at the higher rate of 40%.
  • Pay-related Social Insurance (PRSI): PRSI is another mandatory contribution based on income and employment status. Rates vary, but employees typically pay 4% on earnings up to €398 per week. Some temporary workers might be exempt.
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): CGT applies to gains from the disposal of assets, with a standard rate of 33%. There’s an annual exemption of €1,270. Beyond that, there might be further exemptions.
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): In Ireland, VAT is charged on most goods and services at 23%. Reduced rates of 13.5%, or 9% and super reduced rate of 4.8% apply to some goods and services, typically in the hospitality and tourism industries.
  • Local Property Tax (LPT): LPT is an annual self-assessed tax based on the market value of residential properties in Ireland. Rates vary by property value and location. Renters, unless long leaseholders, typically don’t pay this and it is the responsibility of the property owner.

What Visas are Available to Move to Ireland

  • Critical Skills Employment Permit: This is for highly skilled workers in occupations with skill shortages. Workers will not be subject to the LMNT (Labour Market Needs Test) for this permit.
  • General Employment Permit: This permit is for occupations with a minimum annual remuneration of €32,000. The visa is subject to receiving a job offer that complies with LMNT.
  • Family Visa: Allows spouses, partners, and dependents of Critical Skills or General Employment Permit, and other residents to join their family in Ireland.
  • Study Visa: This is for those enrolled in a full-time course at an approved Irish institution.
  • Retirement Visa (Stamp 0): For retirees with sufficient income and private health insurance.

For more guidance on which visa you might need, see all short stay and long stay visas and residency options in Ireland.

Why Work with IAS

Immigrating to Ireland can be an exciting opportunity, but understanding the immigration laws and visa types is crucial to ensure a smooth transition. 

Our Ireland immigration lawyers are experienced in all areas of Irish immigration law, and can uncover your eligibility, application process and support you every step of the way.

From advice to submitting supporting documentation, our experts can help you with a stress-free visa application. Call us on 0333 305 4796 or contact us online to begin your Ireland visa application.

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