A high quality of life, friendly culture and excellent education system make Ireland a favorite destination among expats.
As long as you can tolerate the rainy weather, Ireland a great place to live, especially if you’re looking for dual citizenship. As long as you have Irish ancestry, it’s easy to get an Irish passport without having to renounce citizenship from your homeland.
But what does it actually cost to live in Ireland? British and American expats are often surprised that the cost of living is as high as it is in Ireland. In fact, the cost of living in Ireland is equivalent to living in some of the more expensive cities in the United States.
Check out this guide to the cost of living in Ireland where we cover everything from housing to education to entertainment. Here are the basics you need to know about living in the Emerald Isle.
Housing Costs in Ireland
Compared to the United States, housing expenses are rather high in Ireland. Forget the expensive cities for a moment – the cost of a furnished one-bedroom apartment in an average neighborhood will cost you about $2,000 per month. If you prefer to live in an expensive neighborhood, prepare to pay prices comparable to London or New York City.
Cost of Public Education in Ireland
Ireland has a top-tier education system. Whether you’re an expat or a citizen, public education is free for everyone who lives within the country’s borders. Students are often required to cover the cost of meals, uniforms, transportation, and other expenditures. The Irish Times estimates this total to be about $450 per year and almost twice that for secondary education.
Cost of Health Insurance in Ireland
Ireland has a free and subsidized public healthcare system, but most expats carry private health insurance instead. Not everyone qualifies for the subsidized healthcare system, but if you do you can save money with their Community Rating System. But that all depends on your age.
With the Community Rating System, everyone pays the same premium for their chosen insurance plan. Your current health status is irrelevant. However, the premium is subject to an additional percentage depending on your age. If you’re 35 years old, you’ll pay an extra 2%, and for every year you get older, your premium increases by 2% up to 70% maximum. So if you’re 55 years old, you’ll pay an additional 40%.
Food and Entertainment Costs
Spending a night out in the city of Dublin will cost you about as a much as a night out in New York City. You can always find affordable spots, but for the most part, bars and restaurants are rather pricey.
Pubs are a big draw for Irish people and expats, and they’re known for having good food and good beer. Dinner for two, plus a beer or two, will cost you about $50. Depending on how often you like to go out, you’ll need to budget your money properly in order to enjoy Ireland’s thriving pub culture.
Transportation in Ireland
In comparison to other major cities, public transport in and around Ireland is expensive. For example, a monthly transit pass in Dublin will cost you 134 Euros (around $155 USD). In New York City, a monthly MetroCard costs less than $120, and NYC is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
It’s important to note that public transit only exists in big cities and major areas. If you plan to live on the outskirts of town or in the countryside, you’ll need to own a car. And, like the transit system, owning a car isn’t cheap. According to this survey published in the Irish Times, owning and operating a vehicle will cost you about $1,000 a month in Ireland. This is due, in large part, to high gas prices.
Before you pack your bags and fly to Ireland, decide if you can afford it. It’s an expensive place to live compared to America. Monthly costs will be comparable to major cities in the United States, so weigh your options before you go. Think about the cost of housing, the cost of health insurance, and the cost of food and entertainment. It’s a beautiful country with a lot to offer, but if you can’t afford living there, it might not be a good idea to make the move.