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Moving to Ireland: A Guide

Dreaming of the Emerald Isle? We've got everything you need to know about moving to Ireland.

Moving to Ireland: A Guide

With fresh air, beautiful countryside and energetic cities, there are lots of reasons to consider moving the Emerald Isle. Whether you’re moving solo, as a couple, or as a family, Ireland has a lot to offer.

Removal Costs and Timings

Moving from the UK to Ireland is a comparatively small distance, but you should always do your research and ensure you use a removals company who are well recommended and know the area well. You can use an international removals calculator to see how much it would costs to move your belongings to Ireland.

Spend time considering what items you need and what you might leave behind. With the currency conversion rate, some items will be much more expensive to buy in Ireland, whilst others might not be worth the cost of transporting them.

Quality of Life

Ireland is currently rated 8 on the Human Development Index (2016), as it offers a good standard of living. The Irish lifestyle, overall, is more relaxed. Whilst living in a busy, exciting city like Dublin means there’s lots to do, the Irish attitude is to make sure you enjoy life. Work/life balance is valued, and the Irish make sure they play as hard as they work.

Whether that’s listening to a live band in the pub, or hiking through one of the many national parks is up to you.

Paperwork, Visas and Healthcare

Changes to which countries need a visa to enter Ireland are ongoing, and with Brexit, there is some insecurity about whether those travelling from the UK will still be able to move freely. Currently, if you are from the UK, you do not need a visa to live in Ireland. No visa or residence permit is required.

Healthcare is public, with the Irish version of the NHS, the HSE, available to those with healthcards, and if you intend to live in Ireland for over a year, you are likely to qualify. If not, there are generous subsidies available. Private healthcare is also an available option.

Another advantage of living in Ireland is being entitled to an EHIC – European Health Insurance Card. This would allow you to receive necessary medical care in a variety of different European countries. You would have to apply for a healthcard before obtaining an EHIC, however. Bear in mind that those moving from the UK currently have access to this, but whether this will continue after Brexit in 2020 is yet to be confirmed.

The Practicality of Moving to Ireland

Not only are more people moving (or returning) to Ireland, with 14.4% more moving in 2016 than the previous year, but less people are leaving. Of those who do leave, it is usually to study, or for a work opportunity. There are a number of Irish citizens who left, and are now returning to raise families, or possibly in the wake of Brexit.

The practical elements to consider when moving to Ireland include setting up your bank account – just as you would have to if you were in a non-English speaking country, as much as Ireland feels nearby, it is a foreign country, with the currency being Euros. Opening a bank account in Ireland requires a form of ID and proof of address. Ah, but you’re not living there yet! Don’t worry – most banks will accept proof of address from your home country, but you may need two forms of proof, or even a character reference. Unfortunately, you can’t simply open an account online, though you can fill out and post the appropriate paperwork. However, most banks will want to meet you in person before signing off on opening your account.

The process of house buying in Ireland is different to the UK, though many terms sound the same. For example, stamp duty in Ireland works differently. It is not just on property, but financial cards, stock and many other things. It is a tax based on the paperwork. In Ireland the tax on a property up to 1,000,000 Euros is 1% and over that is 2%.

There are also a variety of other charges, like Local Property Tax, Household Charge and Revenue Clearance. Currently, valuations made after 1st May 2013 hold up until 31st October 2019. This means you need a survey to assess the property and confirm that the most recent valuation is appropriate. If the new valuation is wildly different to the previous one, this will have to be justified.

The main question that continues to worry those buying property in Ireland is whether they need a PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) or PPS (Personal Public Service) number to purchase a home. These numbers are allocated to Irish citizens, and as such, make it problematic. However, you are able to buy a home without these, though as an EU citizen, you would be able to apply for them, but you would need to be living in Ireland to qualify. As such, it’s a chicken-and-egg scenario. There are definitely ways to ensure you can buy property without these numbers. Discuss this process with your Irish-based conveyancing solicitor.

Bringing your car

If bringing in your car from another country, you will need to pay VRT (vehicle registration tax), get new registration plates, attain valid insurance, and pay a motor tax. If you have owned your car for over six months, you may be able to avoid the VRT, and you can drive with UK plates for six months before changing them over.

The cost of buying a car is significantly higher in Ireland, so if you already have a car, it is worth taking it with you, rather than selling it and hoping to buy another on arrival.

City Life

Ireland offers a number of vibrant and exciting cities to explore. Dublin is usually the first place people think of when considering Ireland, but why not consider setting up home in Cork, with its English Market and beautiful cathedral? What about Galway, which offers theatres and festivals, and charmed Leonardo Dicaprio into purchasing a property there?

Places like Kildare, Cork and Kinsale each offer different atmospheres and ways of life, and are comparably very affordable. Each town has its own plethora of restaurants and pubs, and each is close to a variety of beautiful historical and cultural sites.

Whether it’s national parks or castles you’re looking for, there’s a wealth of culture available within and around each city. For those who fell in love with Dublin, but not with its prices, the surrounding suburbs, which are well connected by DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) trains and buses, might be a better option, usually getting you into the city within about half an hour.

Country Living

The beauty of Ireland’s green landscape is definitely a pull for those wanting a quieter way of life, surrounded by nature. With beautiful scenery at the coast, with the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, as well as green spaces like Glenveagh National Park and Connemara National Park, there are endless natural spaces to explore.

When choosing to live in a rural area of Ireland, be aware that while it may be beautiful, there will be limited amenities and travel. Making sure you’re qualified to drive, and being prepared for the weather is really important, as well as knowing where the nearest medical facilities are.

Cost of Living and Travel

This will vary greatly depending where in Ireland you decide to move to. Dublin is particularly expensive, as a vibrant, well connected city. Rent in the city is going to be much higher than in a rural location, or smaller town. 

The cost of living in Ireland is currently 14.82% higher than in the UK. This may partly be to do with the exchange rate to Euros, but places like Limerick and Dublin can be expensive. In 2017, renting a one bedroom city centre apartment costs an average of €1,115.45, whereas outside of the city centre, it costs approximately €901.18. In terms of buying property, prices are going up, increasing by 4.8% in the second half of 2017. The most expensive area is south of Dublin County, with the average house price at €563,000. The cheapest, in the County Sligo, is €134,000.

Bear in mind how far you may need to travel to work. If you need to depend on public transport, be aware that in more countryside locations, this is often less frequent and not as dependable. 

Food and Drink

When you think about Irish food, you think traditional – Irish stews, soda bread and Guinness. But Ireland has a wealth of food options to offer, especially in the cities. Lots of farm land ensures high quality meat and some excellent steak restaurants, along with a great range of seafood on offer. You can look forward to hearty, fresh food, made with good local produce, and if you’re in the city, a range of different cuisines await.
Prices for meals vary, but on the whole are reasonable, with an average meal for two in a pub costing an average of €42, or a three course meal with wine costing around €67 (2017). 

When considering a move to another country, assess what factors are most important to you. Are you looking for a quieter way of life, natural beauty, good schools? Ireland offers remarkable beauty, friendly people and a relaxed way of life that could appeal to many people wanting a change.


Please note: as we are awaiting information about the UK’s exit from the EU, this information is only correct up to September 2019. As soon as we have more information, we will update these pages.​ In the meantime, please refer to the government's 'Get Ready for Brexit' page.


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