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Services (garden, handymen, electricians, plumbing, pool services, security) in Dublin

Plumbers in Ireland used to be as hard to get hold of as a day of sunshine, but now that the construction boom has slowed considerably, any problem the pipes are having can be patched up in more of a jiffy than before. That isn't to say waiting is over; just that it will get done this month instead of this year.

Many professional workers have been laid off from the big construction sites and are working independently. This means lots of Dublin handyman-type adverts. It's usually a safe bet to go with someone like this, but do check that they've carried out similar work before.


Rates

With more service people chasing the same number of clients, and with many of those clients suffering from shrinking pockets, the outlook is good for an expat looking to save a few euro on bills.

Expats will notice adverts for both handymen and tradesmen. A tradesman is someone qualified in a particular area – carpentry or bricklaying for example. A handyman could be a jack of all trades, or he could be a tradesman who is branching out, inspired by the recession to take up some other skills.

Though pools are a faux pas in the Celtic Tiger, gardens can often demand some upkeep. There are plenty of bush-whackers and landscaping professionals roaming the city, so consider personal needs and choose accordingly.


Booking services

It's getting easier to tie service providers down to specific time slots, but most people will still experience rescheduling or large windows of time that chain people to the house. Some services, like the companies installing TV connections, can happily inform customers they will come by between 9am and 4pm, expecting the homeowner to sit in and wait for them.

Take note of times and get the name of the person dealing with the request; names are the magic key for getting through when tempers are running short.

Moving to Dublin

Characterised by lush dales, magnificent scenery, ancient cities and towns, and friendly people, Ireland is an increasingly attractive prospect for expats, and its capital, Dublin, is drawing more foreigners than ever before. The city retains majestic reminders of a storied past combined with eminently modern features and infrastructure, resulting in what is one of Europe's most beautiful and efficient cities today.

For years the capital of the Emerald Isle was known as something of a peripheral European centre of sluggish industry and good alcohol. Expats moved for the charm of the city and its friendly residents, rather than career development or lucrative salaries. But following Brexit, and the fact that many corporations are now choosing to base their European headquarters in Dublin, the Irish capital is experiencing an economic boom and, as an expat destination, is now more attractive than ever before.

Remnants of a gilded age persist, mixed with modern construction projects which house the offices of a slew of international companies. A substantial IT industry and a booming tech sector are drawing expats from the USA, Europe and elsewhere to live and work in Dublin. Several major pharmaceutical companies also have manufacturing centres or headquarters in the city.

Dublin’s cost of living, unfortunately, is rather high, with astronomical property prices and stiff competition for jobs now even causing many locals to leave the city. For many expats, the cramped and overpriced living quarters can be difficult to adjust to, not to mention the, shall we say, less than stellar year-round weather.

That said, expats who manage to secure a job in Ireland are usually paid enough to ensure a good quality of life despite the expenses. And, in true Dublin fashion, most hardships can be overcome at the local pub.

Dublin has transformed into a cosmopolitan city and has opened up as an international pivot point, but retains an authentic atmosphere that combines cobblestone history with glass and steel modernity. Expats living here are not only perfectly placed to enjoy the best of life in Ireland, but also to explore the rest of Western Europe, which is mostly a quick and affordable flight away.

Weather in Dublin

With a somewhat more temperate climate, Dublin sees slightly less rainfall than the rest of Ireland. Expats moving here shouldn’t get too excited, though: winters are still exceptionally soggy, and drizzly rainfall is infuriatingly common all year round.

The wettest month, October, averages three inches (76mm) of rainfall. Summers are cool and pleasant, with temperatures in July peaking at around 68°F (20°C). May and June see the most sunshine, which we recommend expats take full advantage of exploring the Emerald Isle and its spectacularly verdant scenery. 

Winters, apart from being drenched, are relatively mild, with the mercury rarely dropping to freezing point. Snow is unlikely, although a few flurries have been known to occur. But fortunately, Dublin, like the rest of Ireland, experiences few temperature extremes. 

We would say the best time to visit Dublin is in the warm summer months between May and August. February receives the least rainfall on average but it is almost impossible not to experience at least some rain in Dublin.

A lot of Dublin expats opt to take a few weeks off during the miserably wet winters and swap the soaked dales of Ireland for the sun-soaked beaches of Spain.

 

Pros and cons of moving to Dublin

As is the case with any city, there are both perks and pitfalls of living in Dublin. Expats thinking of moving to the Emerald Isle would do well to arm themselves with all the facts before relocating to avoid any unexpected catches, snags or disappointments. A good start would be to check out our pros and cons of living in Dublin below. 


Culture in Dublin 

+ PRO: Lots to do

From pubs and bars to museums and cultural gems, expats are sure to find plenty to see and do in Dublin. Exploring Dublin's pub scene is a great way to meet locals, while culture lovers are bound to fall in love with Dublin's rich history.

- CON: Early closing times

Expats may be surprised to find that, despite Dublin's lively social scene, pubs tend to close around midnight, and public transport at any point after 11.30pm is a rarity. 


Accommodation in Dublin

- CON: Expensive accommodation

Although there is much to enjoy about living in Dublin, the often breathtaking cost of accommodation is certainly one of the city's downsides. Rental prices in Dublin are frequently higher than those in other European capitals and expats will find they'll have to shell out a healthy portion of their salary to afford an apartment or townhouse. 


Education in Dublin

+ PRO: Free education

Irish schools are free to attend for locals and expats alike, and the country's education system is considered to be of exceptional quality.

+ PRO: Teaching is in English

Unlike in many other popular expat destinations, Ireland is an English-speaking country and therefore, with very few exceptions, public education is completely in English. This limits the need to shell out for the high fees of an international school. 


Weather in Dublin

- CON: Constant rain

In all likelihood, expats are bound to get fed up with Dublin's famously wet climate at some point, and expats from warmer climes are particularly likely to yearn for a bit of sunshine. 

+ PRO: Beautiful countryside

Nourished by the rain, Ireland's lush green countryside is the reason the country is known as the Emerald Isle. When the constant downpour gets to be too much, this thought can be a consolation for expats wishing the rain away.

+ Pro: Proximity to warmer climates

Those expats who do get a bit frazzled with the near constant drizzle in Dublin often opt to spend a few weeks of the particularly wet winters in warmer locales; Spain is especially popular among the Irish. Ireland's relative proximity to warmer European countries makes the option of a warm holiday exceedingly accessible.

Working in Dublin

In recent years, Dublin has become quite the player in the international economy. Following the UK's decision to exit the EU, many multinational corporations have elected to move their headquarters from London to the Irish capital, creating a sudden abundance of opportunities for Irish locals and expats alike.

Along with its strategic location and easy access to the EU, a number of other aspects have made Dublin an attractive business destination, including business tax incentives and a friendly commercial environment. As a result, not only have international businesses sprung up all over Dublin, but many expats have followed their employers to postings on the Emerald Isle.

In general, expats report a happy and increasingly vibrant work environment, but also suprisingly competitive.


Job market in Dublin

Expats working in construction-related industries should think twice before heading to Ireland. Jobs for architects, conveyancers, building contractors and lawyers working in property law are thin on the ground.

Anyone hoping to get work in the state sector will also have great difficulty. With the hiring freeze placed on state departments such as health and education ending in 2015, competition for places is high and expats in these fields may have trouble finding work.

However, Dublin’s IT sector is particularly strong and some of the world's most prominent tech companies – such as Microsoft, Google, Dell and Amazon –  have regional headquarters in the city. The financial sector is also an important industry in Dublin and one of the biggest employers of expats. 

Most expats working in Dublin are transferred within their company and many of these work in the IT sector. Expats in Dublin are likely to find the city's work ethic and business culture similar to that of many British and American companies. 


Finding a job in Dublin

Expats looking to work in Ireland’s capital will have to do their homework. The job market in Dublin is tough, and expats will need perseverance and optimism when searching for job prospects. 

Before moving to the Emerald Isle, expats will need to research and line up a job. The most promising sectors are IT, accounting and the pharmaceutical industry.

Most expats moving to Dublin first find work through contacts already in the country. Given its size, finding work in Ireland is much easier with the help of local contacts. If expats don't have any such contacts, we recommend using online portals and social networks such as LinkedIn, or perusing company websites within a particular industry for vacancies.


Work culture in Dublin

The Irish can be obsessive when it comes to working. Although individuals and industry norms differ, long hours from Monday to Friday and working the occasional Saturday are common.

Offices are seen by the Irish to be quite informal, but expats should be prepared for long meetings and a strict hierarchy. Work attire, especially in industries such as finance and engineering, is always formal. 

As mentioned, those expats from a Western background will have little trouble adapting to Irish work culture, and there won't be any forms of culture shock in store.

Cost of living in Dublin

As more and more companies continue to choose Dublin as their base in Europe, the employment opportunities continue to rise, which means a lot of expats are flocking to the Irish capital. A word of caution to those looking to make the move to the Emerald Isle, though: the massive influx in recent years means life in Dublin doesn't come cheap. A relatively small city, Dublin has limited space, and the massive demand versus supply is causing housing costs, among other expenses, to skyrocket.

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2020 confirms this, and ranked Dublin as the 46th most expensive city out of the 209 cities surveyed worldwide.

That said, the average salary in Dublin is quite high, which means most expats can afford to enjoy the high quality of life in the city.


Cost of accommodation in Dublin

The cost of accommodation will be any prospective Dubliner’s biggest expense, and they’ll have to budget carefully before deciding where to live. This is largely due to a huge spike in demand in recent years and low availability of housing, which has seen some locals pack up and leave as they simply can't afford it any more. Many young expats who want to live in the city centre are choosing to do house-shares, but even this option comes at a premium.

Prices are somewhat gentler the further from the city centre one searches, but even then, they aren’t cheap. As one would imagine, competition for spaces is stiff, and once expats see something they like and can afford, they should have their documentation and deposits ready in order to snap it up before someone else does.


Cost of transport in Dublin

Dublin is such a compact city that those expats who elect to stay in its city centre may even find that they can get around on foot. Those less keen on walking can make use of the city’s extensive transport network, which includes bus, LUAS, DART and train networks. Using these regularly can become expensive though, so we recommend expats purchase weekly, monthly or even annual passes to bring down costs. Ride-hailing services are also useful, but costs for these can mount up if used regularly.

There's little need to own a car in Dublin, seeing as it’s so small, not to mention the associated headaches of owning a vehicle, such as finding parking, parking costs and traffic congestion.


Cost of education in Dublin

Public education in Dublin, and Ireland in general, is free to all children residing in the country, including expats. And, because of the high standards of education in the city’s public schools, most expats elect to send their children to one of these. Although tuition is free, parents may be expected to pay for things such as uniforms, books, extracurriculars and field trips. 

Tuition for private and international schools in Dublin, on the other hand, can be rather exorbitant. However, should parents want their child to continue the same curriculum of their home country by sending them to an international school, we recommend they negotiate with their employer for a school allowance.


Cost of healthcare in Dublin

Public healthcare in Dublin is free or subsidised. Even so, many expats still choose to use private health facilities, as employers will often subsidise health insurance or even cover it in full. Those who plan to make use of private healthcare in Dublin, should make sure they have the necessary insurance plan in place before moving to the city.


Cost of food and entertainment in Dublin

Depending on one’s lifestyle, food can be mildly expensive to astronomical in Dublin. The price of groceries varies, depending on which store one buys them from, and buying imported goods will of course push up the costs. It’s always best to buy seasonal produce, and to live within one’s means. 

Expats who live a busy social life and like eating out a lot should be prepared to pay a steep price for the pleasure. Dublin pub and restaurant prices have climbed steadily in the last few years, and expats who enjoy a night out on the town should budget carefully.


Cost of living in Dublin chart

Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The prices listed are average prices for Dublin in January 2021.

Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,650

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 3,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,400

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 2,350

Shopping

Milk (1 litre) 

EUR 1

Dozen eggs

EUR 3

Rice (1kg) 

EUR 1.56

Loaf of white bread 

EUR 1.46

Pack of chicken breasts (1kg) 

EUR 8.30

Coca-Cola (330ml) 

EUR 1.90

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) 

EUR 13.80

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 8.90

Cappuccino

EUR 3.30

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 5.50

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 60

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.32

Internet (average per month)

EUR 51

Hourly rate for a domestic cleaner

EUR 14

Utilities per month (gas, water, electricity)

EUR 153

Transportation

Taxi (rate/km)

EUR 1.50

City-centre bus fare

EUR 3.00

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.40

Accommodation in Dublin

Finding reasonably priced accommodation in Dublin is no easy task. Rental costs continue to rise as the city's real estate market struggles with high demand and limited supply. As many big multinational businesses move their headquarters to Dublin the demand for, and cost of, rental properties are skyrocketing. Renting in the city centre, in particular, has become a rather costly affair. 

Younger expats prefer to be near the action of the city centre, while those with families tend to look further afield towards the suburbs where space isn't at such a premium. It really comes down to the type of lifestyle that newcomers to the city would be interested in. Proximity to transport, schools, economic hubs, sport facilities, parks, and so on, should also be considered before buying or renting a property.


Types of accommodation in Dublin

The most common types of housing expats can expect in Dublin are apartments and semi-detached rowhouses.

Free-standing houses are more common towards the outskirts of the city. Older houses and apartments are usually more spacious, while rent is lower the further away from the city centre one goes. Many younger expats and students in Dublin choose to live in house shares, where they have their own bedroom but share the common living areas of an apartment or house.

Most apartments and houses in Dublin and other cities come fully furnished, including couches, tables, dressers and kitchen appliances. 

The city is divided into areas referred to as zones, which are included in all addresses. Generally, the lower the number of a zone, the closer it is to the city centre. Higher numbers tend to be in suburbs on the city outskirts. So, the higher the zone number, usually the lower the rent... The city is further divided into north and south by the River Liffey. Zones to the north of the river are odd numbers, while even-numbered zones are to the south. 

As in most cities, some areas in Dublin are more expensive than others. South Dublin is more expensive than the north, while the city centre mostly offers upmarket apartments and rowhouse options, which come at sometimes jaw-dropping prices. 


Finding accommodation in Dublin

Apartment- and housing agencies are the easiest way to find accommodation in Dublin but, unlike many other countries, the rental agencies in Dublin often bill the renter rather than the property owner. The equivalent of one month's rent is usually the accepted fee.

Expats who prefer the DIY route can try their luck with online property portals and listings in local newspapers, or by word of mouth.


Renting property in Dublin

Making an application

Once new arrivals have found a potential new home to their taste, we recommend they submit an application as soon as possible, as there will likely be other interested parties in a city with such massive demand. Prospective renters, and expats especially, will have to prove – often with bank statements – that they can indeed afford the lease, and agents or landlords will in all probability perform background and credit checks.

Deposits

A rental deposit of between one and three month's rent is usually expected by landlords in Dublin.

Deposits are refunded, but landlords are allowed to make deductions from the deposit or keep the whole amount for various reasons, including to cover unpaid rent, for damages in excess of normal wear and tear, other breaches of the lease agreement, unpaid utility bills, or – if pre-arranged with tenant – to cover the last month’s rent.

Leases

Expats in Dublin will find that they are able to choose between fixed-term and periodic tenancy in most apartments. This will be helpful to expats who are unable to commit to a full year's lease in the city.

A fixed-term tenancy, as the name suggests, covers rental for a set period of time as specified in the lease. There is no standardised period for this contract as far as the law goes, and the landlord and tenant are free to determine the length of the lease themselves. However, neither party may end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term unless both parties agree to do so or one of the parties has breached their obligations under the lease.

A periodic tenancy is more open-ended and does not specify a period of time. This gives both landlord and tenant the right to end the tenancy at any time as long as an appropriate notice of termination has been given. 

Utilities

The first thing expats should know about utilities in Ireland is that there’s no such thing. Gas, water, electricity and refuse services are referred to as “the bills”, and an expat will likely be met with blank stares if they make any mention of “utilities”.

The Electricity Supply Board remains the main electricity provider in Ireland. However, there is growing competition from other companies such as Bord Gáis Energy and Electric Ireland. 

Standard voltage in Ireland is 230V AC, and the cost of electricity is relatively high. Costs are based on the number of units used, but the time of use can make a big difference to the final bill, with usage during off-peak hours costing less than usage during peak hours. 

Gas is commonly used for cooking and heating in Ireland. Gas is provided via an underground pipe network, which is managed by Gas Networks Ireland. Despite the fact that only one company manages the network, consumers can choose their own gas provider. Most electricity providers can also provide gas.

Charges for waste removal vary greatly from area to area. Most houses or apartment buildings operate with a system of coloured bins for the purpose of separating recyclables from other rubbish. It is also possible to visit recycling depots and landfills to dispose of rubbish if one prefers not to pay for garbage disposal, but this can be a great inconvenience and is generally not worth it.

Areas and suburbs in Dublin

The best places to live in Dublin

As with all cities, the area in Dublin that an expat chooses to live in can completely change their lifestyle.

From the laid-back beaches in North Dublin to the hustle and bustle of city-centre living, there is a number of diverse areas for expats to choose from.

When choosing where to settle in Dublin, expats should consider the area's proximity to their workplace, good schools and public transport. Traffic is surprisingly heavy for such a small city and commutes of an hour or more both ways are not unheard of. 


Seaside areas in Dublin

Seapoint, Dublin

The southern beaches of Seapoint and onward to Killiney are great places to live. These areas tend to be more expensive than those in the city centre, but there are some beautifully restored Georgian properties for expats who prefer to rent a house rather than an apartment.

One benefit of living close to the beach is being able to walk or swim every morning. Howth and Malahide mark the beginning of the northern beaches. Both the northern and southern beaches are served by the DART, giving residents the option to avoid traffic and take public transport. 


Upmarket suburbs in Dublin

Ranelagh, Dublin

Ranelagh on the south side and Clontarf on the north are popular with expats. They both have good access to public transport, are roughly 10 minutes from the city centre and boast lively nightlife. There are some beautiful houses in these areas too – large enough for any expat who wants a garden, parking and privacy for their family. 

The areas of Ballsbridge and Donnybrook cater for a more settled crowd and most of the embassies are located here. Still, the closer one gets to Baggott Street the more the tempo rises.


City life in central Dublin

Smithfield, Dublin

Smithfield has been the most desirable area of Dublin for the last decade. Expats should take their time looking at apartments, as not all of the developments here are created equal.

The artsy Light House Cinema, a great gym, an artisan supermarket and plenty of busy bars mean there is little reason to leave. If residents are in the mood to wander beyond this area, the Luas tram line runs through the suburbs and travels to the Heuston and Connolly train stations in the city.

Healthcare in Dublin

Healthcare in Dublin is first-rate and the city's hospitals offer quality care and treatment. Ireland's healthcare scheme gives free or subsidised access to expats planning to reside in Ireland for one year or more. Nationals of EU countries have similar benefits.

Usually, a general practitioner first recommends a patient to receive care in a hospital. Patients who are treated at a hospital without a doctor’s referral are charged. Waiting lists for treatment can become long, though, and sometimes even for urgent care. This has led many locals and expats to opt to pay for private insurance.

Private medical insurance in Ireland gives expats access to private hospitals and medical facilities with no waiting lists, though expats with overseas insurance should check which hospitals accept their coverage.

Many companies that employ expats in Dublin offer private insurance. In fact, we would recommend that expats keen on private healthcare negotiate for at least a healthcare subsidy with their employer before arriving in Dublin.


Hospitals in Dublin

Beaumont Hospital

www.beaumont.ie

Address: Beaumont Road, Beaumont, Dublin 9

Children's University Hospital

www.cuh.ie

Address: 1 Temple Street, North City, Dublin 1

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

www.mater.ie

Address: Eccles St, Inns Quay, Dublin 7

St James's Hospital

www.stjames.ie

Address: James’s Street, Ushers, Dublin 8

St Luke's Hospital

www.stlukesnetwork.ie

Address: Oakland Drive, Highfield Road, Dublin 6

St Vincent's University Hospital

www.stvincents.ie

Address: Elm Park, Merrion Road, Dublin 4

Education and Schools in Dublin

For many parents, the prospect of organising education and schools in Dublin for their children can be a daunting one. However, it should come as some comfort that almost all public schools in Ireland teach in English, and that all children in Ireland have the right to free education, expats included.

That said, many expats still prefer to enrol their children in one of Dublin's international schools so that they can continue with their home curriculum.


Pre-schools and childcare in Dublin

As compulsory primary education only starts at the age of six, it is not mandatory for children to attend pre-school in Ireland. The minimum age for pre-school is four years old. Primary schools often offer pre-school education in the form of "infant classes" for children aged four and five. 

Childcare in Dublin is widely available, but often comes at a high cost. To ease parents' expenses, the government has introduced the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme. This provides free pre-school education and childcare at certain approved centres. Parents who opt not to use the ECCE Scheme will be subject to the full cost of fees. 


Primary schools in Dublin 

Irish children usually attend primary school from the age of 6 to 12. Each year of school is numbered upwards, from Class One to Class Six. The class size of primary schools in Ireland is one area of concern to many parents, as they often make for overcrowded learning environments.

This is directly related to funding shortages in the education sector. Parents get around issues with class sizes by finding smaller local schools or specialised schools that focus on a particular core subject area. 


Public schools in Dublin

Public schooling in Dublin is of an excellent standard. By law, any child in Dublin can attend public school whatever their parents' visa status, and they can do so for free. In practice, however, finding a public school in Dublin can be more difficult than it appears on paper. Many of the schools in Dublin are full, with little space for new enrolment.

When a school has reached its capacity, the remaining children are put on waiting lists. With the majority of Dublin public schools operating on a first-come, first-served basis, expat parents arriving in Dublin outside of regular application periods can be at a distinct disadvantage.

Once a school has drawn up a waiting list, children on the list are then prioritised according to the school's admissions policy. Sometimes a child may be moved up the list more quickly if they have a sibling already attending the school in question or if they live in the same area as the school.

It is highly recommended for expats who have decided on an area to live in to try and contact local schools before arriving. 


Private schools in Dublin

Dublin is home to the highest number of private schools in Ireland. These schools are privately funded and therefore aren't subject to state controls. Many of these are single-sex schools with religious affiliations, and boarding facilities are often available.

Expats on a budget should be aware that this is a costly option, especially if planning to make use of the school's boarding facilities, and they may have to foot extra costs such as uniforms, books, field trips, and so on.


International schools in Dublin

Many expats choose to have their children continue with the curriculum from their home country in one of the many excellent international schools in Dublin. These are considerably more difficult to get into than public schools and can be rather expensive, although they offer top-rate education. International schools can also offer tests and degrees needed for higher education in an expat student's home country, such as the American SATs.

These schools usually have long waiting lists, so it's advisable to apply as soon as possible. For families who move unexpectedly and quite suddenly to Dublin, it is possible for children to attend public school while waiting to enrol in a private or international school.


Tertiary education in Dublin

For a relatively small city, Dublin has a great range of universities and colleges covering every conceivable course.

Depending on their needs, expats can choose from the historical Trinity College or more newly established colleges such as Griffith College. While the prestige of attending Trinity might seem attractive, Dublin has many prestigious colleges and universities on offer, so prospective students should be sure to explore their options thoroughly before making a decision.

Some students with ties to the EEA may be eligible for the Free Fees Initiative. This allows free full-time undergraduate education at Irish universities. Students who wish to avail themselves of this scheme will need to fulfil certain conditions, such as either being a legal citizen or national of an EEA state themselves or being a direct family member of one.

Non-EU nationals will be faced with a larger bill, but it is manageable in comparison to the international fees levied by universities in countries such as the United States.


Tutoring in Dublin

Children arriving in a new city are often daunted by the uncertainty and unfamiliarity of new surroundings, and they stand to benefit a great deal from a dedicated tutor who could not only educate them academically, but also provide a helping hand in settling in and building some confidence. Those expat children who aren’t fluent in English will find particular value in an English language tutor. 

Dublin has a huge array of tutors to choose from, specialising in a variety of subjects and age groups. Some of the top tutoring agencies in Dublin include First Tutors Ireland, Home Tutoring Ireland and GradIreland.


Special need education in Dublin

All children in Ireland with disabilities and children with special needs have the constitutional right to free primary education up to the age of 18. The Irish policy is to provide special needs education in mainstream schools as far as possible, and to educate those children with special needs in an inclusive setting unless it’s not in the best interests of the child or the effective provision of education for other children in mainstream schools.

There are a number of special schools in Dublin catering for particular types of disability and special needs, among them schools for students who have a general learning disability at a mild or moderate level; schools for visually impaired and hearing impaired students; schools for students with physical disabilities; and schools for students with emotional disabilities.

International Schools in Dublin

Expats living in Ireland will find that, while there are a few good options when it comes to international schools in Dublin, the selection available is noticeably smaller than in other major European cities. The main reason being that the Irish public education system offers free and high-quality education to all children living in the country, and many expats choose to send their children to a local public school.

Nevertheless, expats who would prefer to send their children to an international school in the city will have a number of excellent institutions to choose from.


International schools in Dublin

Nord Anglia Dublin

Nord Anglia International School Dublin is ambitious, offering world-class learning opportunities and global experiences to achieve outstanding academic results and a love for learning. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

SEK International School Dublin

SEK-Dublin is part of SEK Education Group which was founded in 1892 and has nine international schools throughout Ireland, France, Qatar and Spain. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 12 to 18

International School of Dublin 

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Age: 3 to 12
Website: www.internationalschooldublin.ie

Lycée Français d'Irlande

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French
Ages: 4 to 18
Website: www.lfi.ie

SEK International School, Dublin

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 12 to 16
Website: dublin.sek.es

St Andrew’s College 

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Irish and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 4 to 18
Website: www.sac.ie

St Kilian’s Deutsche Schule Dublin 

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: German and Irish
Ages:4 to 18
Website: www.kilians.com

Lifestyle in Dublin

A friendly city with international status and local charm, there is something for expats of all persuasions among the Irish capital’s attractions and activities. The lifestyle in Dublin is characterised by high energy and clean living, offering expats in the city an excellent quality of life. Those who are after a pint will certainly have no shortage of lively pubs, or fellow local revellers to frequent them with.

There are also plenty of opportunities for shopping in Dublin, along with a slew of historical attractions, vibey eateries, as well as good entertainment venues, sports facilities, annual events and spas. 


Shopping in Dublin

Shopping in Dublin is centred in two main areas, which are conveniently a 20-minute walk apart. Jervis Shopping Centre offers clothing, cosmetics, jewellery and electronic goods, while Blanchardstown Centre is the largest mall in Ireland, housing almost anything an expat could want. Grafton Street hosts expensive boutiques and is one of Dublin's main shopping streets, along with Henry Street. The Blackrock Market is another essential shopping spot stocking local souvenirs, crafts and delicious food. 


Markets in Dublin

Expats in Dublin will be able to find open-air markets taking place almost every day of the week. Expats need never miss their home food for too long, as artisan stalls usually cater to every national food group possible. And in spite of the glam shopping streets everywhere, Dubliners still find time to browse clothing markets too. The Howth Market and Harcourt Street Market are two excellent shopping outings for new expats in the city.


Nightlife in Dublin

If there is one thing the Irish are known for, it’s imbibing. Unsurprisingly, this reputation is rooted in a lively nightlife scene. With a plethora of pubs, expats will have no problem finding a local haunt for a post-work pint. For a night out on the town, clubs, lounges and live music fill the streets of the Temple Bar District. 


Outdoor activities in Dublin

With one of the biggest enclosed outdoor spaces in all the capitals of Europe, Dublin has a wide selection of outdoor activities sure to appeal to expats who prefer fresh air and green fields. The sprawling grounds of Phoenix Park are a perfect place for a stroll, and visitors to the park may also spot some wild deer roaming the grounds. There are many buildings of historical significance in the park too, along with Dublin Zoo.

Sporting expats can round up some friends to play ancient Irish sports at Experience Gaelic Games. Those after something at a slower pace can cruise down the River Liffey, or hire a kayak of their own. There are also a number of options for expats looking to maintain their fitness in Dublin, including hiking, cycling and surfing. For those who prefer to watch sport rather than participate, the city has a selection of sports teams of a variety of codes to support, including Gaelic games, rugby, football and cricket.

Sport and fitness in Dublin

Initially, expats may find it difficult to stay fit in Dublin with the temptation to overindulge in frothy Guinness or fattening full Irish breakfasts. However, once settled in and over the euphoria commonly attached to arrival in a new destination, expats will find that there are opportunities for fitness in Dublin around just about every corner, both indoors and out. 


Outdoor sports in Dublin

Given Dublin’s tendency toward grey weather, if the time and opportunity come about to take advantage of outdoor sports, it is highly recommended that expats do so. The west coast has some of the best surfing in Europe in Donegal and Clare, as well as plenty of rivers for adventurous kayakers.

Hikers should try the Wicklow Mountains near Dublin. This area is perfect for day-long hikes that aren't overly strenuous. The long sweep of Dollymount Strand in Dublin is home to kite surfers and dog walkers in equal numbers, and there is well-developed cycling infrastructure to be found all over the city. 


Gym memberships in Dublin

The cost of gym membership has dropped dramatically in recent years. Joining fees have almost disappeared with some large centres only charging only a fraction of what they once did.

Larger gyms still ask for 12-month contracts, but smaller places tend to be more open to six- or even three-month contracts.

There are even one or two pay-as-you-go gyms in the city centre. The usual classes like spinning and body combat mix in with pilates and yoga in most places, and indoor swimming pools are a must for enthusiastic swimmers who prefer not to brave the Irish climate. 


Team sports in Dublin

Deciding on a team sport to participate in is a difficult choice in Dublin. Both tag rugby and touch rugby are growing in popularity around the country, while football fanatics could join in with Gaelic football.

Soccer, hockey, volleyball and basketball are all present as well. The best place to get information on indoor sports is at a local parish hall or community centre.

Weekend breaks in Dublin

The main advantage to living in a small country like Ireland is that getting away for the weekend is not difficult. Dublin is just a few hours' drive from the beaches of Donegal, the nightlife of Belfast, the country roads of West Cork or the festivals of Galway.

Belfast

Belfast’s turbulent political history has long overshadowed its many attractions. Still, anyone travelling there will find a welcoming city and an active nightlife. The compact city centre allows for easy access to attractions like the Opera House and the Giant Wheel.

Cork

Cork City has plenty to offer visitors, like a climb of St Anne’s Church Tower to ring the famous Bells of Shandon or a walk out to the Glucksman Gallery. The city centre lines up along the River Lee, giving easy orientation to visitors. Annual highlights include the Guinness Jazz Festival, the Midsummer Festival and the International Choral Festival.

Donegal

The mountainous wilds of Donegal are among the most beautiful areas of the country. Surfers, kayakers, hikers and lazy tourists alike flock to this county all year round. Towns like Bundoran offer all the typical summer entertainment while the Blue Stack Mountains are perfect for getting away from city smog. Surfers can find some of the best breaks in Europe waiting for them along the western coast between Donegal and Clare.

Galway

The City of the Tribes spreads across and around Galway Bay with winding, medieval streets to draw people in. Summertime sees some of Ireland’s largest festivals with Galway Races well known for scenes of indulgence. The Oyster Festival and the Arts Festival cater to a different crowd, but both times are perfect for getting to know Galway and its people.

Kids and Family in Dublin

Expats moving to the city with their families will be pleased to know that there are plenty of fabulous attractions and activities for kids in Dublin, not to mention a wide selection of excellent schools and education.

In fact, those expats who move to Dublin with children may find that it eases the process of meeting locals, either while exploring the city's kid-friendly attractions or by connecting with other parents through school or a playgroup. 


Child-friendly activities in Dublin

When it’s not raining, pack a picnic and head down to Phoenix Park or St Stephen's Green, or take the kids to the Dublin Zoo to meet their favourite animals.

Viking Splash Tour is a great way for the little ones to discover their new city. Travelling in an amphibious vehicle, these tours are over land and water. They depart from Stephen’s Green North, and take about 75 minutes during which a ‘viking’ entertains passengers and points out all of the city’s major attractions.

Another popular attraction for the youngsters is The Ark, a purpose-built kids’ theatre and exhibition space in the cultural neighbourhood of Temple Bar. It hosts productions of theatre, music and dance, as well as workshops aimed at kids.

For a fascinating and educational day out, take the kids to Imaginosity, the famous children’s museum at the heart of Dublin. Three floors with 19 exhibit spaces, as well as a library, art studio, puppet room and kids’ theatre mean Imaginosity is a real hit with those under the age of 10.

Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory only with no oompa-loompas and no Willy Wonka – the Chocolate Warehouse is a dream come true for chocolate-loving children. Kids can take tours of the factory’s machinery, learn about the history of chocolate, take part in fascinating chocolate workshops, and of course sample plenty of it along the way. The venue also hosts birthday parties, special events and seasonal events around Christmas and Easter.

Then parents could also take the kids out to Airfield Estate to pet the animals, watch a performance at the Lambert Puppet Theatre, or visit the Fry Model Railway. 

For those new to the city looking to make friends, playgroups are a great way for parents and children alike to find some new friends in Dublin. There are loads of playgroups to choose from, so it should be easy for expats to find one in their own neighbourhood. When looking for local playgroups, schools in the area may be able to offer some recommendations – otherwise, there are plenty of directories online that list Dublin's playgroups.

See and Do in Dublin

With the city's multitude of attractions and fascinating history, expats will certainly have no shortage of exciting things to see and do in Dublin.

Sightseeing the classic tourist attractions is a great way for new arrivals to get to know their adopted city. A good way to learn more about local history while saving money is the Dublin Pass, the city’s official sightseeing card which allows access to many of the best attractions in the area. 

Enjoy a trip around the world in the exhibits at the Dublin Zoo or pack a picnic and head to Phoenix Park, the largest urban park in Europe. Those who enjoy their tipple can take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse or the Old Jameson Distillery.

Below we list some of our favourite attractions in the Irish capital.


Recommended attractions in Dublin

Dublin Castle

Founded in 1204 by order of King John, Dublin Castle has been rebuilt many times over the centuries. By the 1600s the castle was home to the Law Courts, a banqueting hall and meetings of Parliament. It now hosts a museum, guided tours, cafés, gardens and an international conference centre.

Dublin Zoo

The Dublin Zoo is one of the city’s most popular attractions. The zoo boasts various exhibits of animals from the Arctic to the plains of Africa, and houses rescued tigers, elephants, orangutans and many other fascinating creatures. Animal lovers will be glad to know that the zoo is also involved in numerous conservation projects, including the breeding of endangered species.

Guinness Storehouse

This iconic drink may be brewed all over the world, but there’s nothing better than a Guinness in Ireland. It just tastes better. Take a tour of the famous storehouse that was set up in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, and then head up to the Gravity Bar to enjoy a pint while taking in the bar's fantastic view over Dublin.

National Museum of Ireland

Expats interested in seeing the Emerald Isle’s richest treasures need look no further than the National Museum of Ireland. Marvel at specimens dating back thousands of years, learn about Ireland’s natural history and dig through the centuries to find out about local culture and traditions. Famous exhibits at the museum include the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice, both of which date back to around the 8th century.

Phoenix Park

One of the largest parks in a European capital, Phoenix Park is a fine place to escape the city’s buzz and unwind on sprawling lawns. More active expats can take a run around the greenbelt, while nature lovers can spot deer strolling through the woodlands.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Built in 1191, the cathedral is Ireland's largest. Apart from its religious significance, this ancient structure's spectacular interior and deep sense of history make it a must-visit, particularly for those interested in the past.

The Old Jameson Distillery

Learn about the history of uisce beatha (the water of life) and all there is to know about Irish whiskey. The tour is followed by a whiskey tasting at the bar – a great way for expats to get up close and personal with one of Ireland's favourite drinks.

Temple Bar District

The hub of nightlife in Dublin, the Temple Bar District is a good place for new expats to explore their leisure options. Pubs, theatres, cinemas and clubs abound, along with a variety of art and photography centres.

Trinity College

The oldest university in Ireland, Trinity College was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 and has seen the likes of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett pass through its corridors. With beautiful buildings, green lawns and magnificent squares, expats moving to Dublin should definitely take a look, especially if they might send their children here someday.

What's On in Dublin

With so many vibrant and exciting events taking place throughout the year, Dublin has plenty of options for expats looking to get out and about. Here are some of the city's most well-known and well-loved yearly events.


Annual events in Dublin

Dublin International Film Festival (February)

Each February, Dublin draws thousands of film buffs as the city becomes a hub for international cinema. This is a two-week festival showcasing works by independent filmmakers from across the world alongside releases from mainstream Hollywood studios. There is something here for everyone, from those with art-house tastes to families looking for an exciting outing.

St Patrick’s Festival (March)

For a rip-roaring good time, there’s no better party than the St Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin. The varied events include performers, clowns, games, singing, dancing and, of course, plenty of Guinness.

Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair (March)

One for the beer buffs and gourmands, the Alltech Fair is one of the funnest weekends on Dublin’s calendar, showcasing Ireland’s best brews, stews and so much else. Visitors can look forward to live music, an abundance of exciting food stalls, and more than 400 craft beers, ciders and spirits.

Dublin International Literature Festival (May)

Literary fans have a whole week in which to catch their favourite authors at a variety of workshops, masterclasses, debates and other events all across the city. The list of big-name writers at this festival grows more impressive every year, and we’d recommend interested visitors book their event tickets early.

Dublin Pride (June)

This week-long celebration of LGBT+ culture is a magnificent showcase of Dublin's diversity and tolerance. The high point is the traditional Pride Parade – a loud, colourful street carnival that provides a spectacular day out for Dublin residents.

Body & Soul Festival (June) 

Held on the stunning grounds of Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath, this fairy-tale music festival is a yearly highlight for friendly revellers. Live music, woodland spa pop-ups and spiritual workshops are all on the cards here, not to mention healthy food stalls, wood-fired hot tubs, and plenty of other entertainment.

The Festival of Curiosity (July)

Truly one for the curious minds, this city-wide festival celebrates technology in a number of weird and wonderful ways, drawing 50,000 visitors each year with themed exhibits, events, pop-up installations, performance art, theatre, and even guided bicycle tours. 

Irish Derby (June/July)

One of the most prestigious horse racing events on any Dubliner’s social calendar, the Irish Derby is held on one of Europe’s oldest sporting grounds, The Curragh. Put on your best hat and head down to the track for a day at the races.

Culture Night (September)

Culture vultures have one night of free late-night events to enjoy when more than 200 museums, libraries, art galleries and theatres put up events, tours and workshops. We recommend setting out on foot between Trinity College and Merrion Square, as the National Library of Ireland, the Museum of Archaeology, National Gallery and the Natural History Museum are all situated in this area.

Liffey Swim (September)

The River Liffey, which runs through the centre of Dublin, isn't the most inviting swimming spot, but once a year hundreds of swimmers brave the icy waters. It's worth watching even if expats don't fancy taking a dip themselves. 

Bram Stoker Festival (October)

In the spirit of Halloween, the Bram Stoker Festival celebrates all things Gothic when various Dublin venues host readings and theatrical performances of the Dracula author’s most haunting works. Festival-goers are also treated to ghost tours, parades and other frightening performances.

Dublin Marathon (October)

The 26-mile (42km) run through Dublin's Georgian streets is dubbed the 'Friendly Marathon'. Since 1980, the marathon has become an excuse for a huge public street party. Today it attracts around 10,000 runners and even larger numbers of spectators.

Dublin City Pub Crawl (December) 

Not just any old pub crawl, this drinking tour is both fun and educational, and celebrates the city’s history and pub culture – Guinness in hand, of course. Keen crawlers are taken on a journey to Dublin’s oldest pubs and taught how and where it all began.

Shipping and Removals in Dublin

As Ireland's largest port city, shipping and removals to Dublin are relatively simple. Expats can hire shipping companies from almost anywhere in the world to deliver to Dublin.

Expats should be careful what they bring to Dublin, however, as accommodation is often smaller than what they may be used to in their home country. That being said, a common complaint about rented accommodation in Dublin is the outdated decor, and expats may want to weigh the pros and cons of shipping their own household goods and buying new furniture in Dublin. Purchasing in the city can often be cheaper than packaging, sending and insuring shipped household goods.

Expensive shipped items should be insured. Air freight is a good option for smaller cargo, although there are often weight limits.

Shipping from North America can take several weeks. Shipping from mainland Europe will likely only take a few days, and expats can also consider driving their household goods over themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dublin

New arrivals in Ireland will undoubtedly have questions about their new home. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about expat life in Dublin.

Can I arrive in Dublin and look for a job?

Expats from non-EU countries shouldn't come to Ireland without a job. To qualify for a work permit, expats will usually need to be sponsored by a company. However, expats from Europe do not need a work permit for employment in Ireland. It is still fairly easy to find low paying jobs while looking for other employment.

Do I need a car?

Probably not. The public transportation system is quite good and extends far out into the suburbs. However, commutes to schools outside of the city can be a problem.

Is it easy to get over to the rest of Europe?

It is very easy to get over to mainland Europe or the UK. Northern Ireland is just a short drive and the rest of the UK is a ferry ride away. There are good deals to be found on low-cost airlines flying out of Ireland, and this is a cheap way to travel all over Europe.

Getting Around in Dublin

Dublin City is split in two by the River Liffey and bordered on the east by the Irish Sea. An old city founded centuries ago, Dublin has expanded gradually and is comprised of many narrow alleys as well as broad streets.

The recent economic boom is visible in Dublin’s public transport system. With the migration of many multinational corporations, and the consequent influx of expats to the city, Dublin's transport infrastructure has improved markedly, and getting around in the city has never been easier. Indeed, it is no longer necessary to own a car here.


Public transport in Dublin

Dublin’s transport network includes buses, light rail (Luas) and surface rail (DART). It is cheaper and faster to take public transport than to drive or take a taxi in rush hour. Like most public transport, there are crowds at peak times, but services are clean, frequent and punctual. 

It is possible to purchase tickets online, via an app, from the driver or from station terminals for trains, buses and trams. Tickets are generally available with single-, return- and multi-journey options. Different routes start and end at different times, so expats should research routes carefully.

Leap Card 

The Leap Card is Dublin’s integrated ticketing system. Although there is no problem buying tickets on the bus or at the station, this is the best option for expats who commute frequently and are looking to save money. 

Cards can be bought and topped up at stations, newsagents or online. Leap Cards can be used on Dublin buses, the Luas, Commuter Rail and the DART. 

Buses

The Dublin Bus Service provides the iconic yellow and blue double-deckers that can be seen all over County Dublin. Most of these are wheelchair accessible. Multiple- and single-journey tickets can be bought from the driver. Designated lanes for buses mean that commuters often beat the traffic.

Trains 

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is a surface rail service with trains arriving every 15 minutes.

Commuter rail provides a few services out of Dublin, which is handy for day trips and for those who live outside of County Dublin but work in the city. 

Trams

Dublin also has a light rail service, the Luas, servicing the inner city as well as the south and southwestern suburbs. Luas services are frequent and reliable, with as little as four minutes between each tram. 


Ride-sharing services and taxis in Dublin

Taxis are widely available in the city centre, especially outside large hotels and in designated and undesignated spots along the main city streets. Taxis look like private cars with a yellow light on top, which indicates whether or not they are in service. 

Ireland has restrictive laws for ride-sharing services, and unlike many other countries, all drivers for services such as Uber must be licensed taxi drivers. 


Driving in Dublin

Driving in Dublin can be a challenge for newcomers, although the implementation of a one-way system, which at first glance seems confusing, has greatly helped the flow of traffic. 

Parking in the city centre is expensive and limited, so it is probably easier to catch public transport, cycle or walk, depending on where a person lives. Along with the one-way system, much has been done to discourage the use of private vehicles in Dublin, including tolls, which can become an annoyance if regularly passing through a tolled area.


Cycling in Dublin

Cycling is becoming more popular in Ireland. With the development of dedicated cycle lanes, it is also becoming safer to ride a bicycle. 

Expats should be wary of where they lock bicycles up, as chaining them to the fences of Georgian buildings is prohibited. 

Cyclists should always wear a helmet, and preferably light clothing and bike lights. Although it is illegal to ride without a helmet, many people ignore this law. Bicycles are required to abide by the rules of the road like any other vehicle. Confident cyclists will have no trouble cycling into town from the suburbs.

Dublin Bikes is a growing service with distinctive blue bicycles that can be hired and ridden between specified bicycled parks. There are over 40 stations across Dublin which accept Dublin Bikes Long Term Cards and offer three-day tickets. In addition to the subscription, there is a small fee to ride. 


Walking in Dublin

The city's compact size makes Dublin ideal for walking. In fact, many locals and expats regularly travel to work and do errands on foot. Exploring the city on foot also reveals many hidden treasures that may not be noticed when travelling in a vehicle or by public transport. Plus, it's healthy!