Investment Residency

Moving to Ireland: A Useful Guide for Expats

Updated: 2 September 2021

With the youngest population in Europe, Ireland is a dream country for many. It has a stable economy, a consistent education system, a vibrant social life, rich culture, and beautiful sights. According to The UNDP Human Development Report Index 2020, Ireland has the second- highest quality of life in the world, ranking number two of 189 countries.

While many expats prefer Ireland for its business environment, there is a huge percentage of expats who choose the country as their retirement place. In this guide, we’ll provide you with insights and tips you can benefit from before you plan your move to Ireland.

Why Move to Ireland?

Ireland is home to many expats. Nowadays more and more people are finding the country an attractive place to set up a business, start a new life, or retire. So, what are the reasons for moving to Ireland? Let’s begin with some of the main highlights of the country.

Close to Europe

Ireland is a part of the European Union. Plus, Ireland has great connections within Europe. If you’re going to live in Ireland, it’s going to be very easy for you to travel around Europe. Flights and travel are cheap. Ireland is a great place to live if you want to be on an island and stay close to the rest of the world at the same time.

Favorable Business Environment

Ireland is now the only native English-speaking member left in the European Union. The country is ideally positioned to access the EU market. If you’re planning to set up a company in Ireland, you can benefit from the country’s free movement right in the Eurozone. In Ireland, the corporation tax rate for trading companies is 12.5 percent. Favorable tax regime makes Ireland an attractive place for business.

Accessible Healthcare 

In Ireland, healthcare is accessible when compared to other international nations such as the USA. Most people in the country make use of the country’s public healthcare system. Immediate and instant healthcare is available through private medical help, too. For the most part, public and walk-in clinics are always on call. 

Social Life

One of the best parts of living in Ireland is the social aspect. Ireland is usually a very friendly place. There are many social lounge areas to meet new people. This can be a great positive if you’re an expat in the country and don’t know anybody. Ireland is one of the most accepting and interactive countries in Europe.

Culture and Sights 

Ireland is a relatively small country but there are many sightseeing opportunities in the country. There are picturesque towns, castles, museums and art galleries, and villages. The sights are best seen in places such as Cork, Kerry, Waterford and obviously, Dublin. There are wide ranges of places to visit, such as the Aran Islands, Dublin City Center, Tramore Beach in County Waterford. 

How To Move to Ireland

Moving to Ireland with Immigrant Investor Program (IIP)

One of the ways you can move to Ireland and gain an Irish residency is through the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). The IIP allows non-EEA high-net-worth individuals to make an investment in Ireland. In return, this investment allows them to gain residency status within the country. Along with the residency status, in certain situations, Irish citizenship may also be granted.

To gain access to an Irish residency through the IIP program there are four investment types you can choose from. These are the following qualifications:

Enterprise Investment: This route requires at least €1 million in personal investment into a new or existing Irish business for at least a three-year period.

Investment Fund: The investment fund route requires at least €1 million in an approved investment fund for at least a three-year period. The fund mentioned needs to be invested within a registered Irish company. It also has to be regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland in order to be approved. 

Real Estate Investment Trust: Another route is the REIT option through a minimum investment of €2 million for at least a period of three years. Investment is required to be made in an Irish Reit that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Endowments: If you’re looking to gain residency through a route without long-term commitments, the endowment is the route. This requires at least an investment of €500,000 into any of the projects ongoing within the areas of arts, sporting activities, healthcare, culture, or educational sectors.

Key Requirements To Apply for IIP

  • As a potential IIP investor, you’ll be required to show that you’ve legally gained at least €2 million net worth.
  • You and your family members that are over 16 years of age will be asked to give a statement of character from the police of your current country of residence.
  • A due diligence report is required from a well-known and respected risk management agency.
  • You’ll be required to give evidence of all the money-related acts that you have partaken in. 

For more details, please refer to our guide on IIP Investment Types.                                    

Irish Residence Permit 

Another route for moving to Ireland is through obtaining an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). These permits clarify that you have permission to stay in Ireland. There are different forms of residence permits, such as employment permits, student permits, and permits for a civil partner of an Irish national.

Living in Ireland

Now that you’ve looked into how to actually get residence within Ireland, here are some details about the way of life within the country.

Accommodation

In terms of the types of accommodation, there is a wide variety. In the countryside, you’ll find that large single houses are common, among smaller and more cozy bungalows. In the cities such as Dublin, there are a lot of semi-detached or attached houses within estates. Although apartment complexes and other smaller living areas are the more go-to option within larger Irish cities like Dublin. 

There are no restrictions when it comes to purchasing a home in Ireland. It’s an open market. But, it’s known that the further you get from Dublin, it’s cheaper to get home.

Cost of Living

Ireland isn’t very cheap. However, it’s not as expensive as Scandinavian countries. With decent financial backing and income, you’ll be fine in Ireland. Electricity is decently priced if managed. Along with this, store items are cheaper and more affordable outside of Dublin.

Below is a quick chart of grocery prices in Ireland. 

Average Price
Meat (kg) €9.3
Eggs (a dozen) €2.91
Rice (kg) €1.38
Milk (one liter) €1.02
Banana (kg) €1.77
Apple (kg) €2.20
Bread (500 gr) €1.49
Tomato (kg) €2.53
Potatoes (kg) €1.56
Onions (kg) €1.21
Local Cheese (kg) €8.5
Wine (mid-range, bottled) €10

Rental Prices in Ireland

The average rental cost of a home within the Republic sits at €1,250 per month. If you want to rent a house in Dublin, this cost rises to an average of €1,745 per month. If you’re looking for an apartment outside of Dublin city center, the cost will be around €1,400.

Property Prices In Ireland

In Ireland, the price per square meter for an apartment ranges between €2,900 and €4,000. In Dublin it’s between €3,900 and €5,600. In Galway and Cork the cost is lower.

Utility Costs in Ireland

On average, heating, gas, and water will cost €150 in total. Please note that this might vary depending on the city you’re living in. In Dublin, this cost might increase. Basic internet costs are around €35 per month for the first six months, which increases to €60 per month from then onward.

In terms of the average cost of electricity, the annual average is around €1,006.

Transportation in Ireland

In Ireland, you can make use of the abundance of public transport that is available throughout the country. All main Irish cities have a public bus system. In Dublin you can also make use of the tram. 

Ireland also boasts of a good train network. You can use the train to travel to Irish countryside and explore the country. 

One way ticket for the local transport costs around €2.5. If you wish, you can also get a monthly pass for around €80.

Climate in Ireland

Ireland is known for its inconsistent and often drab weather patterns. You’ll notice winters are ice-cold. Irish Summers are filled with cloudy skies. Despite this, Ireland does have its sunny days, and when it’s hot, it’s hot. These are the kind of days where Irish society flourishes. Pubs and bars packed and people make the most of the amazing weather.

Education System

Schools in Ireland are known for their excellent education system. Irish universities rank very well in global league tables. According to OECD reports, Ireland’s education system is above the OECD average.

In Ireland, every child has access to free primary and secondary education. Ireland is also home to many prestigious universities such as Trinity College and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Where to Live in Ireland

We’ve established a lot of the circumstances that come when deciding on moving to Ireland. However there is still the actual decision of choosing a place to live. Ireland has some fantastic counties to live in. We’ve listed some of the ideal places to choose from.

Dublin

Dublin, the capital, is one of the most popular cities both in Ireland and Europe. It has a variety of major shopping centres, sights, events to attend and just generally is a city with many opportunities. 

Cork

Cork is the second most promising city within the country. It has beautiful coastlines that you can live nearby. Places such as Blarney Castle, Cliffs of Moher and Cobh are some of the most iconic sights you can visit in Cork.  

Kilkenny

Kilkenny is a city with a lot to do and see. There are many shops and museums to visit. The nightlife is always vibrant. Kilkenny is also known for being one of the friendliest counties in Ireland.

Galway

Galway is a county known as somewhat of a cultural hub of Ireland. It’s seen as a place with gorgeous scenery that embraces traditional Irish culture and values through events and other social gatherings.

Irish Countryside Locations

Outside of the major, there’s also an abundance of peaceful and beautiful countryside locations in Ireland. Some of these include Kinsale in Cork, which is known for its beauty and culture. Allihies is the furthest area you can be from Dublin in Dublin. This area is traditionally strong and is the perfect place for you if you’re looking for wide-open scenery and peaceful backdrops. Especially if you’ve plans for overseas retirement, Ireland might be the place for you.

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