Living in Ireland
Living in Ireland
Deciding to study abroad is not an easy decision. But the friendliness and hospitality for which the Irish are distinguished contributes to the ease with which overseas students adapt to the way of life in Ireland.
Ireland is a dynamic, lively, modern country with a young population and a successful, technologically orientated economy, but it also remains a country where music, conversation, culture and traditions are important. Find out more about life in Ireland:
- Ireland, in common with much of the EU, is not a cheap country to live in. Dublin City is considered to be more expensive than other parts of Ireland to live.
- The cost of studying in the Ireland is determined by the tuition fees of your course and whether you wish to study in the capital city of Dublin or elsewhere outside.
- While Irish is the first official language of the Republic, English is the first language of the majority of the population outside the Gaeltachtaí.
- Ireland has a mild, temperate climate with summer temperatures ranging from 16-20 degrees Celsius. In winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing point.
- Ireland observes Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in the winter. However, Irish summer time is GMT plus 1 hour.
- There are 9 public holidays (called Bank Holidays) in the year.
- Ireland has five international airports (Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Belfast and Knock). It also has a low-cost network of bus and train routes linking cities and towns across the island.
- Shops are generally open Monday-Saturday from 9am/10am until 5.30/6pm. Some also open for more limited hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
- Internet cafes are now common throughout Ireland. These are places where you can use a computer (connected to the internet, with e-mail and web access) for a specified time period for a fee.
- Mobile phones are widely used in Ireland and phone companies offer both pay-as-you go and monthly contract plans. Mobile phones can be expensive for international calls so phone cards and call centres(phone booths at Internet cafes) may offer alternatives.
- Banks are open between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday, (some smaller branches may close for lunch, check locally). On Thursdays banks stay open until 5pm (Dublin area - other late opening days apply to other parts of the country).
- Cinemas in Ireland are very popular and large multi-screen complexes have opened all over the country. It is cheaper to go to the afternoon shows. There is a student discount available on production of a valid student identity card for certain shows.
- The pub is the social meeting place for many Irish people. They serve alcohol, soft drinks, tea and coffee. Pubs are licensed to open between 10.30am and 11.30pm Sunday to Wednesday. From Thursday to Saturday the closing hours are extended to 12.30am.
- Smoking is forbidden in enclosed places of work and on public transport in Ireland.
- In case of an emergency dial 999 or 112 from any phone for police, ambulance, fire, sea and mountain rescue services.
- The police in Ireland are called Garda Síochána. Full details of national and local garda stations can be found at the beginning of telephone directories.
- In a medical emergency, one should go to the Accident & Emergency department at the hospital closest to his/her home.
Cost of living in Ireland
Ireland, in common with much of the EU, is not a cheap country to live in. Dublin City is considered to be more expensive than other parts of Ireland to live. Dublin is followed by Cork, Galway and Limerick in terms of cost of living.
Recent estimates for the cost of living in Dublin have ranged between €8,000 and €12,100, largely depending on the type of accommodation chosen, including rent, electricity, food, books and laundry and medicine as well as travel passes and social expenses, but excluding tuition fees.
Rent in shared house/flat
Books and other academic costs
Clothes, laundry, medical, etc.
- Rents and many prices are cheaper for those living outside of Dublin so lower overall costs can be expected.
- On campus accommodation is in heavy demand and is priced at the higher end of this range.
- You will be able to save if you share a room with someone in the private sector.
- If you plan on travelling by public transport, it is advisable to purchase a Student TravelCard.
- The cost of an average journey on a bus in Dublin is about EUR 2.30 and will depend on the number of fare stages travelled. Weekly and monthly Dublin Bus passes will save money for regular travel.
- Many students also cycle in Dublin and there are road lanes dedicated to bicycles only.
- Supermarkets offer the best value for most, but not all, ordinary groceries. Street markets offer the best value in fruit and vegetables, while meat is usually cheapest in butchers' shops.
- Supermarkets often have bulk buy bargains, which are handy if a group of people go shopping together and the cost can be split for items like rice, pasta etc.
- Some shops and restaurants will offer discount on production of your college card.
- If you buy an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) it can be used more widely and you will receive a list of places which offer reductions for students, both in Ireland and abroad.
- Student discounts on cinema tickets are usually available during the week on production of a student card.
Accommodation for international students
Students have a range of options to choose from:
- On-campus accommodation: Almost all universities have halls of residence, generally as apartments of 4 to 8 students, with a private bedroom and shared kitchen, living room and bathroom. Utilities such as heating are usually extra.
- Student hostels: One can stay in a hostel with other students and the monthly rent provides for use of a communal living area and kitchen, along with a bedroom.
- ‘Digs’/ ’homestay’/ Accommodation with a family: Students can live as a paying guest in an Irish home, where they will have their own room with space to study.
- Private rented accommodation: The options here include renting a bed-sit, a flat/apartment or sharing a house. For private rented accommodation, students are recommended to arrive at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the term.
The Accommodation Officer at the university or college is the person who can advise students about the accommodation that best fits their needs and budget. At the accommodation office students will be able to look through lists of suitable places.
When considering accommodation off campus, students should try and find out how good the transport links will be and how much time they will spend travelling.
The Evening Herald is the best newspaper for private accommodation listings in Dublin. For Cork and Limerick, the newspaper, Evening Echo is of immense help.
The Irish Climate
Ireland's climate is temperate. Given Ireland's high latitude the weather is quite mild. Temperatures rarely fall below freezing point in winter, but might sometimes due to easterly winds. Irish summers may be considered good if the temperature rises above 16 degrees Celsius, though some parts of the country routinely have higher temperatures and 30 degrees is nothing new.
- The dominant influence on Ireland's climate is the Atlantic Ocean.
- Average annual temperature is about 9 °C.
- In the middle and east of the country temperatures tend to be somewhat more extreme than in other parts of the country.
- Mean annual windspeed varies between about 4 m/sec in the east midlands and 7 m/sec in the northwest.
- Strong winds tend to be more frequent in winter than in summer.
- Sunshine duration is highest in the southeast of the country.
- Average rainfall varies between about 800 and 2,800mm.
- With southwesterly winds from the Atlantic dominating, rainfall figures are highest in the northwest, west and southwest of the country, especially over the higher ground.
- Rainfall accumulation tends to be highest in winter and lowest in early summer.
- The annual number of days with more than 1 mm of rain varies between about 150 in the drier parts and over 200 in the wetter parts of the country.
The best way to prepare for Irish weather is to make sure you have warm clothes, at least one waterproof coat, some strong shoes, warm blankets and bedding.
To study effectively, it is important to keep the rooms that you work in warm enough.
Health and Medical Services
- The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) states: "All non-EEA students are required to have private medical insurance when coming to and residing in Ireland for the purpose of study. The private medical insurance should provide cover for accident and/or disease and should cover the student for any period of hospitalisation."
- Students from non-EU countries are not covered for any free medical attention off-campus and must therefore have their own private insurance.
- Non-EU students are required to show proof of comprehensive medical insurance when registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
- Proof of health insurance is also required when applying for a student visa.
- For short-term students and newly arrived first year students, travel insurance may be sufficient in some circumstances.
- Some institutions include insurance in the fees they advise to students.
- It is best to have a plan that is valid in Ireland.
- There are different levels of private health insurance available. Basic plans cost €120 and are available from companies like O’Driscoll O’Neil Insurance Brokers.
- More comprehensive plans are available from companies like VHI Healthcare, AVIVA and Quinn-Healthcare.
- You would also need to wait for your coverage to begin which can be 26 weeks.
- Some of these companies might have student discounts.
- Please note that you will normally have to pay for all optical and dental services while in Ireland.
- With regard to hospital services, if you have not obtained the necessary documentation entitling you to free or minimum-cost services, costs can be as much as €550 per day.
- The major universities and institutes of technology have medical centres on campus, or arrangements with GPs based nearby.
- Student health services can give you information about keeping healthy, dealing with sports injuries and any illness or health related problems you may have.
- A Student Counsellor is also available if you need someone to talk to about any kind of problem you may have.
- General Practitioners (GPs) are widely available in Ireland and their services can be obtained at most times of the day. They generally charge about €60 for a consultation.
- Pharmacies are generally open from 9 am - 6 pm Monday to Saturday, although some in busy districts have late night hours and are also open on Sundays. They stock a wide range of prescription and non-prescription medicines.
- For emergency medical care, DIAL 999 or 112 from any phone or go to the hospital accident and emergency department.
- Under EU/EEA regulations students from other member states who are attending a course of study are entitled to medical services in Ireland.
- In order to be eligible for any of these services, you will be required to provide the Irish health authorities with documentation from your home country that validates your entitlement.
The Citizens Information website provides a range of health related guides.
- Irish Rail is the only company providing rail services in the Republic of Ireland. There are two main stations in Dublin providing train services to the rest of the country. Connolly Station serves Belfast, Rosslare (for ferry services) and Sligo. Heuston Station serves all other cities including Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. Train services are usually quicker than bus services, especially on longer journeys. There are also Commuter Rail Services operating from Connolly Station to Drogheda, Arklow, and Maynooth and from Heuston Station to Kildare.
- Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) is an electrically-operated train system that serves 27 stations along the coast of Dublin, running from Howth in the north to Bray and Greystones in the south and is an efficient way to travel on Dublin's east side.
- The LUAS is a tram service which operates two lines. The Green Line connects Sandyford to St. Stephen's Green and the Red Line connects Tallaght to Connolly Station. Tickets bought for a journey starting on one line and finishing on the other are valid for the whole journey. Trains run from 5.30am to 12.30am every 7-10 minutes at peak times on the Red Line and every 5 minutes at peak times on the Green Line. Single journey tickets start from euro 1.30 depending on the length of your journey. A reduction in weekly and monthly fare prices is available if you have a Student TravelCard.
- Bus Éireann operates services from the Central Busáras Station, Store Street, Dublin 1. This is the place where you can get buses to all parts of the country. Information on departure times, routes, cost and so on is available from there. Bus Éireann also operates urban bus services in the Republic of Ireland's other main cities, radiating principally from the centres of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
- Dublin Bus operates an extensive network of bus routes from the city centre to most destinations in the city. Dublin Bus also runs a service from the Dublin airport to the city centre.
- Nitelink - Dublin Bus also operates an express night bus service from Dublin city centre to a large number of suburban destinations.
- Aircoach is a company operating services between Dublin airport's arrivals terminal and Dublin's main hotels and business districts in the city. They can also make request stops in the city centre.
Taxis are available throughout Ireland. However, they are expensive. Before your journey begins, there is a basic charge of EUR 4.10 between the hours of 8am - 8pm and EUR 4.45 between the hours of 8pm - 8am. The rest of the journey is metered based on the distance travelled or, in slow moving traffic, the time taken.
Student Travel Discounts:
Students can purchase a Student TravelCard which gives access to discounted ticketing valid on Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann rail services, DART, LUAS, and Bus Eireann services.