Newcomers Guide to Ireland

Whether moving to Ireland for work, to be with family, to retire or simply for adventure, living the life of the Irish will be a fascinating journey. You will be enthralled by ancient myths and legends. Diverse landscapes are breathtaking, from lunar landscapes and ocean shorelines to the lakelands.  Cities are vibrant and cosmopolitan, and the lifestyle relaxing. Newcomers to Ireland will be captivated by the Irish reputation for “craic”, the word for friendliness and humour.

First Things First – The Paperwork

There are about 5,000 Canadians living in Ireland according to The Canadian Embassy in Dublin. Canadians do not need a visa to visit Ireland. If you are expecting to work in Ireland, be sure to check with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, for information about employment requirements.

Work permits are required in some cases. A Green Card permit is needed for some designated categories. Check out requirements for spouses, partners or dependents of holders of employment permits.

Where to Live

Where you decide to live, and whether you will rent or buy, will be the biggest decisions to make when moving to Ireland. A number of factors come into play:

  • Day-to-day comforts
  • Affordability
  • Access to social venues
  • Shopping
  • Closeness to work
  • Schools

There is a great range of locations from which to choose.

A good source of information about best places to live is provided by the Irish Times, where residents were asked to describe the advantages of living in different parts of the country. The following locations were top rated:

  • Cork as the best city
  • Rathmines, Dublin the best suburb
  • Ardara, Co Donegal, the best village
  • Westport, Co Mayo the best small town
  • Killarney, Co Kerry as the best large town

Wherever the eventual residence, newcomers to Ireland will be sure to enjoy the scenery, neighbors, and superb facilities.

Lifestyle to Expect

Be prepared for new customs, laws, lifestyles, and costs. Here are some of the more obvious things to consider:

  • The cost of living is higher; typically add about 60% to the euro price of Irish goods to get the equivalent Canadian value
  • Buying a new car is expensive, with VAT and VRT taxes adding up to 73% to the pre-tax price
  • Car insurance is very expensive

Accessing the Irish education system is not simple, but the Ministry of Education and Science provides extensive useful information

  • Entertainment and outdoor activities are abundant
  • The two-tier health system is excellent, but check out waiting times for coverage on health plans; obtaining a world-wide plan before moving may be advisable
  • Enjoy the “40 shades of green” and all the considerable beauties of the country

Before you know it, you will be considering yourself lucky to have landed in Ireland.

Useful Resources

In planning your move to Ireland, there are many useful on-line resources in addition to the ones already mentioned. Here are a few to get you started: