Dublin is a truly bewitching city of old-world cobbled streets, hedonistic pubs, medieval castles and soaring cathedrals contrasted to a vibrant cultural scene bursting with thriving art galleries and dynamic nightlife.
With an economy beginning to rebound again, a magnificent architectural heritage and broad expanses of greenery coupled with some of the friendliest people on the face of the planet makes living in Dublin Ireland one of the most attractive places to call home.
Relocating To Dublin
Most expats in Dublin who live in Ireland will cheerfully expound on the manifest joys of living in this tumultuous city. From its Georgian architectural legacy to its determinedly cosmopolitan outlook, the last decade has seen Dublin unashamedly embrace diversity and multiculturalism. Here, as well as the traditional craic, you’ll encounter languages and enjoy cuisine from around the globe.
Here are five of the most compelling reasons for relocating to Dublin and becoming one of the legions of expats in Ireland.
Dublin Is Unabashedly Cosmopolitan
Dublin is Ireland’s cultural and aesthetic capital. A rebounding economy has enticed an inflow of international company to locate their European headquarter to Dublin.
Whether you are a single plunging into Dublin’s nightlife or a family enjoying a day out in Phoenix Park, Dublin has an alluring quality of life. From writers, artists and performers to chefs, bakers and baristas, everyone finds themselves warmly welcomed.
With this cosmopolitan mix comes an enormously diverse range of restaurant and café cuisine styles, spanning traditional European cuisines, through to Asian, North African and African dishes.
Even a sortie to a local supermarket will spoil you for choice, as will the colourful local markets where fresh local food is a joy to behold.
Craic, Pubs And Banter
Not only is Dublin a welcoming city, they have a deeply entrenched sense of humour too! No one living in Dublin is ever short of either an opinion or something amusing to say. Dublin is rightfully famous for its “craic” a form of witty banter. A sweeping sense of humour “craic” is definitively Irish in its wry, laid-back approach.
Having the “craic” at your fingertips is a national sport, as definable as football. Indeed is one of the most important aspects of daily life in Dublin. In particular amongst communities where the traditional pub is their centre.
After a long day spent at work, entering a pub, restaurant, beer garden or park is to plunge into a larger than life buzz of people swapping stories and telling jokes. Dubliners love a chat and there’s always a conversation to be had, even at a bus stop.
Part of the enduring charm of the “craic” is an obligation not to take life too seriously. Dublin is a charmingly lighthearted place to live. Dubliners can often be heard bypassing the beige “how are you” and replacing it with “what’s the story?” So, if you plan on joining the host of expats in Dublin, be prepared to have a chat and a laugh. Oh, and the pressure is on to be as confidently witty as any Dublin native.
Where The Wild Things Roam
Dublin may be a charmingly cosmopolitan city but it maintains its wild roots. Wherever you are in Dublin, you’re rarely further than twenty minutes away from being able to enjoy the bounty of Mother Nature.
Whether it’s the mountains you love, a lazy stroll along a beach, a picnic in a park with your family, or a promenade through the botanical gardens, nature will be waiting to refresh and revive your spirits.
Much as you may love Dublin’s city vibe, there are days when a short scenic train trip is just the restorative tonic you need. The way takes along the Dublin coast to one of its quaint coastal fishing villages.
Alternatively, a fundamental part of “lifestyle Dublin” is Phoenix Park, a magnificent green expanse and Europe’s largest urban park. Here the many aspects that make Dublin live are on show. Sit down, chill out and watch the wild deer casually saunter within the park like characters out a Disney movie.
Similarly, the Wicklow Mountains, with their numerous well-laid out hiking trails and delightful views, are nearby. Staying in the Wicklow areas, its towns of Greystones and Bray provide an atmospheric cliff-side coastal connecting walk. Or, you can hop on a Dublin Bike for a leisurely ride along Sandymount Strand with its water views, or fossick for seashells if the tide is in.
Affordable Education And Medical Costs
Compared to many countries, Dublin’s educational and medical expenses are refreshingly affordable. Many good primary and secondary schools are either free or comparatively low-cost.
Similarly, college fees here are generally affordable. College grants or “free fees” are far more accessible, banishing the dreaded spectre of student loan debt.
Generally, medical expenses are also similarly affordable. If you qualify for a medical card in Dublin, basic health care is free. If you elect to go to an ER, while you may have a considerable wait a long time until a doctor is able to see you its services are free of charge. In many instances, an ambulance ride is also free of charge.
Dublin has experienced a health and wellness revolution. Out go stodgy pub dishes, in come good food and healthy exercise. Walking to work is not considered an extreme sport in Dublin. Its bustling new gyms are packed and bicycles jostle with cars on the road for popularity.
More and more restaurants, cafes and grocery stores are surfing the wellness trend and embracing customers living a vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free or “paleo” everyday lifestyle. If you are in search of a healthy lifestyle Dublin is the place to be.
However, don’t expect to find the wellness police running healthy lifestyle movement. In keeping with its character, Dublin has remained straightforward and unpretentious about its embrace of healthy living. Indeed, fish and chip shops remain as popular as ever.
Living In Dublin Ireland
A warm and friendly city combining international standing and its signature local charm, the Irish capital’s host of entertainment options and lifestyle activities has something for every potential expat.
Initially, the lifestyle in Dublin can be frenetic as its decadent nightlife centred on its nearly 1,000 local pubs can be literally all-consuming. Dublin’s high standard gyms and sports facilities, annual festivals and sublime spas balance out the downside effect its thriving restaurant and café scene can have on the average expat waistline.
Shopping in Dublin
Naturally, as you would expect from an international city, there are plenty of opportunities for shopping in Dublin. Dublin’s two primary shopping zones are the Jervis Shopping Centre and the Blanchardstown Centre. Happily, for retail therapy advocates, they are only a convenient 20-minute stroll apart.
Blanchardstown Centre is Ireland’s largest mall and plays host to almost anything an expat could desire from retail. Jervis Shopping Centre’s main attraction revolves around clothing, electronic goods, cosmetics and jewellery.
If you still haven’t shopped till you drop, Grafton Street is home to expensive international boutiques and together with Henry Street is one of Dublin’s leading shopping streets.
Newly arrived expats will also quickly discover The Blackrock Market become an essential shopping destination thanks to its fabulous range of fresh food and crafts.
Dublin’s Buzzing Gourmet Scene
Dublin’s culinary horizon has evolved substantially in recent years. Ireland’s increasingly globalised capital is now bursting with creative, award-winning chefs, innovative cafés and restaurants serving delightful Irish dishes showcasing fresh seasonal Irish ingredients.
With seven Michelin starred restaurants, Ireland is emerging as a foodie nirvana seducing expats from around the world.
While the style of food varies enormously across these much-feted restaurants they share common denominators. Warm individual Irish hospitality and excellent fresh seasonal ingredients lie at the very heart of Dublin’s culinary renaissance.
Be it the fabulous local beef, lamb and pork, or the abundant range of fresh fish and heavenly seafood, the quality of its local produce is a point of pride in Dublin’s kitchens.
The new-found confidence to experiment in specialist artisanal products such as hand-smoked meat and fish superb baked goods and indulgent preserves. it is complemented by a reinvigorated commitment to growing an extensive range of organic vegetables and fruit.
Rightly famed for the quality and endless enthusiasm of their nightlife, the Irish take socializing seriously. With an abundance of lively pubs to choose from, expats will have no problem settling on a local retreat for an after-work pint or two. For a night out on the town, it’s hard to go past the Temple Bar District with its numerous clubs, lounges and dynamic live music venues.
Dublin’s Great Outdoors
Home to one of Europe’s biggest enclosed outdoor spaces Dublin enjoys an expansive array of outdoor activities sure to appeal to expats desperate from some greenery and fresh air.
The sprawling grounds of Phoenix Park are a perfect place for a stroll. And visitors to the park frequently encounter the majestic wild deer that roam these beautifully maintained grounds. Phoenix Park is also home to several historically significant buildings if you appreciate fine architecture.
Sportingly inclined expats can explore one of Dublin’s many fine hiking or cycling tracks. Or there is an option to get off the beaten track entirely and kayak languidly down the River Liffey. You can even try your hand at surfing on a nearby beach.
Cost of Living In Ireland
Expats will find that compared to many European and Asian capitals, the cost of living in Dublin is manageable. Naturally, Dublin is Ireland’s most expensive city to live in. Expats in Ireland typically enjoy well-paying jobs that provide them with a high quality of life.
As you would expect, the biggest chunk of an expat’s salary is devoted to accommodation, followed by the weekly grocery run, healthcare and education costs.
Accommodation Costs In Dublin
The recent economic recovery has seen housing costs edge up. But the depth of the previous recession was felt particularly by Ireland’s property sector.
After its property bubble burst, expats found accommodation costs dropped from their previously astronomically expensive heights which were amongst some of Europe’s most expensive.
Driven partly by a continued under-supply of apartment dwellings in Dublin, costs have begun to edge up once more as the economy recovers.
Expats considering relocating to Dublin should manage their expectations. The most prevalent types of housing are apartments and Dublin’s pervasive semi-detached row houses. The villas and luxury condos of more exotic locations are in very short supply.
Dublin’s Zone System
Dublin is divided into a series of zones. These are included in all Dublin addresses. Usually, the lower the number a zone has, the closer it is located to the city’s geographical centre.
Higher numbers reflect an address in the suburbs or on the city’s outskirts. The River Liffey provides another point of division for Dublin. The river splits Dublin into its north and south areas. Zones to the south of the river carry even numbers, while those zones to the north of the river have odd numbers.
As with every major city, the residential area in Dublin an expat selects to live in has a major influence on their lifestyle.
Dublin offers a diverse range of areas for expats to select from, depending on their budget and lifestyle preferences. From North Dublin’s more laid-back beaches to the daily hubbub and tumult of city-centre living.
When opting to reside in one of Dublin’s zones, expats should take into consideration its proximity to their place of work. Also, the availability of good schools and the closeness of public transport is very important. Traffic is notoriously heavy for such a compact city and daily commutes of an hour or more each way are not uncommon.
Dublin’s Upmarket Suburbs
Clontarf on the north side of the river and Ranelagh on the opposing south side are the most popular up-market suburbs with expats arriving in Dublin. They have a vivacious nightlife, are located only 10 minutes from Dublin’s city centre and enjoy excellent access to public transport.
Ballsbridge and Donnybrook service a more exclusive and sedate residential group with most of Dublin’s embassies being located in this suburb. Naturally, there are some simply divine houses in these areas. Houses here tend to expansive structures and come complete with a garden and parking ensuring privacy for their family. A sage choice if your company is paying!
Central Dublin’s City Lifestyle
Smithfield emerged over the past decade as the clear winner in the “I want to live there” address stakes. Prospective expats should take their time looking at apartments in this area as sadly, not all the developments were to the same standard.
Once ensconced, plenty of busy restaurants and bars, artisan supermarket and artsy Light House Cinema complemented by a fabulous gym leave little reason to venture beyond its borders.
Dublin’s Seaside Suburbs
Seapoint’s southern beaches and down to Killiney offer inspired lifestyle locations. More expensive than the city centre these areas harbour some beautifully restored Georgian properties for expats looking to rent a house rather than an apartment.
One benefit of residing close to the beach is simple pleasure of a morning swim or a walk along the beach firth thing. Swimmers will definitely want to wear a wetsuit though as the water temperature is definitely brisk!
Howth and Malahide indicate the start point of the northern beaches. Happily, the DART serves both the northern and southern beaches, giving residents the option of dodging the daily traffic and taking public transport instead.
Dublin’s Food And Entertainment Costs
The price of groceries in Dublin can vary quite widely, depending on which supermarkets you shop at and which zone you reside in. Imported groceries will also spike your grocery bill, so sticking to local, seasonal produce where possible is the smartest option price wise.
Dining out regularly in Dublin can quickly burn a hold in an expat’s pocket, so managing your social life and being selective in your choice of restaurants quickly becomes a way of life for most expats.
Dublin’s Education Costs
Public education in Dublin is free to all children residing in Ireland, including its expat population. The majority of expats choose to send their children to public schools thanks to the high standards of education available through these schools.
Parents can expect to pay for books and school uniforms together with any extra-curricular activities. By comparison, private and international schools in Dublin are very expensive.
Dublin’s Healthcare Costs
While public healthcare in Ireland is either free or heavily subsidised for residents, most expats choose to retain private healthcare cover. Patients at private healthcare centres and hospitals are required to pay the full treatment costs making employer-provided private health insurance a crucial aspect of any relocation package.
For years expats were attracted to Dublin by the charm of the city and friendliness of its residents, rather than lucrative career opportunities. Post global recession, Dublin remains a corporate gateway to Europe. Remnants of its rich cultural heritage endure and although Dublin’s cost of living is high by European standards and the weather can be disheartening, Dublin has nevertheless managed to transform itself into a cosmopolitan city. Meanwhile, being able to retain its authentic charm and character making relocating to Dublin a smart decision.