CLMitchell provides information and advice about living, working, studying, and holidaying in Ireland on her website Relocating to Ireland.
Have you been daydreaming about moving to Ireland? Even after the global economic crisis, Ireland has remained a popular expat destination. In fact, Ireland was recently ranked joint sixth place in the top 10 places to live worldwide by the Human Development Index (HDI). The UN analysed and compared countries using three categories – long and healthy lifestyle, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
Dublin is a particularly popular city to live and has been named as the second-best city in the world for Americans to live by consultancy firm ECA International. Their study, compared 450 places for “liveability” which took into consideration factors such as climate, housing, social life, safety, air quality, and health services.
If you’re considering moving to Ireland to retire, work or study, or you're an Irish person thinking about moving back home, let these 10 reasons persuade you to make the move.
1. The Outdoor Lifestyle
Moving to Ireland will reinvigorate your weekends. From stunning coastlines to breathtaking countryside, Ireland has it all. Being a small country with an excellent network of roads, exploring this beautiful country will become your new weekend passion.
Ireland is a great place to live if you enjoy hiking and camping because there are many excellent, well-maintained hiking trails, countryside and National Parks to enjoy. My personal favourites include Killarney National Park, Connemara, the Wicklow Mountains, and Glenveagh National Park.
2. The Delicious Food
Many complain about Ireland’s wet weather, but thanks to this lush, green fertile land, Ireland produces an amazing range of delicious fresh food. Visit your local Irish farmers' market to fully appreciate the quality of Irish seafood, meat and vegetables. This lush green Irish grass also produces rich and creamy milk that goes into creating some of the best ice cream, chocolate and cheese products in the world.
As well as the tasty traditional Irish dishes such as fish pie, colcannon, and stew, Ireland has a very modern, thriving foodie scene. The Irish also have a sweet tooth, so you will find many delicious bakeries here with tasty treats on offer.
3. The Culture and History
Living in Ireland gives you a chance to become completely immersed in its history and traditions. The Irish are proud of their heritage and celebrate it through dance, music, sport and story telling (seanchaí). Ireland is steeped in history, from ancient man to early Christians, Medieval Lords and Colonial Settlers. You can still see evidence of these times in the Stone Age art, monasteries, castles and fortresses still standing today.
Entwined in this rich history is Ireland's fascinating mythology and folklore. From mischievous characters such as the Leprechaun, Faeries, and the mystery of the Tuatha Dé Danann to the dramatic realms of saints and scholars and to the larger-than-life legends of Cuchulain and the Fianna. The myths and legends of Ireland overflow with giants and heroes, maidens, battles and brave deeds, and it will leave you keen to learn more.
4. Close to Europe
Living in Ireland will provide you with the opportunity to explore Europe on your weekends and vacation time. In only a matter of hours, you can be holidaying in one of Europe’s many fascinating and diverse countries. Thanks to Ireland's budget airline Ryanair, you can easily jet-set off to over 190 destinations, even if you’re on a tight budget.
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5. The Arts Scene
If you enjoy music, art, theatre, literature and crafts then Ireland is the place for you. The Irish are very talented and passionate artists. Ireland has a huge range of art galleries and museums to enjoy.
Discover quality art and crafts by visiting the local markets and also Dublin’s Merrion Square Art Market where over 200 Artists display their works in the beautiful Georgian surroundings.
Ireland has a strong theatre scene, and as a result, many Irish actors and comedians have made it big internationally. If you enjoy theatre, then you will be in your element in Ireland, especially Dublin, which holds theatre close to its heart. On offer is a variety of classic plays, including Beckett and Wilde alongside contemporary and experimental works. There is also the annual Theatre and Fringe festival in September and October.
Ireland also has a lively music scene and you won’t have to go far to find it. Bars, pubs, on the street, and talented musicians are playing everywhere. During the warmer months, Ireland is known for its many and varied music festivals, many of which are family-friendly.
The Irish like to joke that all Irish people have been part of a music band at one time in their life. Music is in their blood so it’s no surprise that they produce many international hits.
6. Their Love of Sport
For those of you that love sport, Ireland is a fantastic place to live because they have so much on offer. Golf fans will find an array of quality golf courses to enjoy as golfing is a popular sport in Ireland. The Irish also have a long-running love affair with horses. There is a worldwide demand for Irish bred horses and the Irish compete strongly on them in a variety of events. For horse fans, I recommend the annual Dublin Horse Show which runs over four days and showcases the best of Irish horse riding.
Moving to Ireland will provide you with an entire range of new sports to embrace and enjoy. The Irish are very passionate about their traditional Irish sports including Hurling, Gaelic football and handball. These are highly entertaining sports and are what make Ireland truly unique.
7. Work Life Balance
The Irish have a good work-life balance and typically start work at 9 am and finish work by 5 pm. Because work-life balance is important to the Irish, many employers have introduced policies in order to provide flexible workplaces. Full-time hours are generally between 35 and 40 hours per week and all employees that have worked at least 1365 hours per year are entitled to a minimum of four weeks paid holiday per year. This includes full-time, part-time, temporary or casual employees. There are also eight annual Irish public holidays to enjoy.
Ireland is also supportive of women in the workplace. All female employees are entitled to maternity leave if they become pregnant whilst in employment and Ireland provides 26 weeks of maternity leave benefits as well as 16 weeks of additional unpaid maternity leave.
If you are keen to live and work in Ireland, then discover more about Irish working permits and Irish Employment Legislation and Rights.
8. The Pubs
Sometimes it seems that there are more pubs than people in Ireland. Going to the pub is a favourite Irish pastime and once you partake in this activity, you will understand why. As well as good beer, you can expect great music, both modern and traditional, Irish storytelling and people having a craic. The Irish people are a friendly bunch, and if you’re new in town, then the pub is a great place to meet the locals.
Most pubs charge a reasonable price for a drink and also provide good hearty meals. For those that are passionate about beer, alongside your typical Irish beer like Guinness, you will also find a range of quality craft beers on offer too.
9. The Education System
Ireland provides a free year of pre-school for kids aged three to four years. Ireland also provides free primary and secondary education. Irish secondary schools are excellent quality and range among the best in Europe.
The standard of university education in Ireland is also excellent and is highly ranked in the world ranking global league table. Under the Free Fees Initiative, it’s free for Irish and EU citizens to attend University in Ireland. However, if you're not eligible for this initiative, then studying in Ireland is still an attractive option because it offers reasonably priced higher education. This, as well as the varied selection of universities, historic cities, beautiful countryside and Ireland’s unique culture is why Irish universities are a popular choice for international students. If you are keen to study in Ireland, then find out more about the Irish higher education entry requirements, fees and scholarships.
10. The People
Funny and warm, the Irish don’t take themselves too seriously. They have a great sense of humour and love to take the piss out of you, but it’s all in good fun. Whilst you’re enjoying the local pubs, don’t be surprised if you’re approached by locals. They love to have a good yarn and to share a story or two. They also enjoy hearing your stories too. It’s hard not to love living amongst these unique people.
But the Irish do have a passion for apologising, so be prepared to have them constantly apologize to you for anything and everything. There have been many occasions when I have had no idea what the person was even apologizing for!
© 2015 C L Mitchell