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7 Things to Know About Living in Dublin, Ireland

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Ireland: the land of the green. All jokes aside, the grass is literally greener here!

Dublin, Ireland’s capital, is located on the east coast of the green land. It has 580,000 inhabitants and is the economical and cultural center of the country. Depending on where you come from, this could seem like a big city, but to most standards it feels more like a small town than the capital of a country. Don't let the size fool you though, there's still plenty of fun things to do in Dublin to keep you entertained!

Yes, it does rain often, but when the sun comes out, which can be a few times during the day, get ready to spot the rainbow, enjoy the light, and do your best to get outside and really soak up the sunshine.

If you're thinking about moving to Dublin or are still debating where in the world you'd like to go, here are 7 things to know when deciding if living in Dublin is right for you!

1. Understand the Districts in Dublin

Many people new to Dublin might be surprised to learn that Dublin is a divided city, just like Ireland is a divided country. This divide is historical, cultural and economical.

The city is separated by the Liffey river, and talked about in terms of north side with odd number districts and south side even number districts.

People tend to use the divide as an identifier. It's common for people to use the terminology "northsider" and "southsider" when referring to themselves and others. In general, southsiders are seen as spoiled and ritzy, whereas northsiders are considered rougher and rundown.

The south side definitely is a posher side and more residential with larger Victorian houses and the rent that goes with it. Ballsbridge D04 and Ranelagh D06 are top-notch districts, if you can and want to pay to live in them. Ranelagh in particular has a lot of cafes, restaurants, and brunch places.

The trend for the wealthier residents to move to the southside of the city started long ago and continues even today.

According to Crown Relocations, most expats live in the following districts:

  • Ballsbridge
  • Donnybrook
  • Ranelagh
  • Blackrock
  • Dalkey
  • Killiney
  • Malahide
  • Howth
  • Castleknock

An old bridge in Dublin Ireland with buildings in the background on a sunny day
A beautiful, sunny day in Dublin

2. Get a Leg Up on House Hunting

The house hunt can be daunting. Rent is really expensive in Dublin and one of the biggest costs of living in this fantastic city.

Expect to spend over 1000€/month in a house share and more around 1400€ in the posh areas. Also, so you know, your rent will most likely go up 4% every year.

Luckily, if you’re working in tech like most expats there, your salary will match this. Most expats don't have an issue affording the steep rent prices unless you're looking for something super nice in one of the nicest areas of town. But then again, that can be hard to accomplish in most big cities around the world.

Finding a house or apartment abroad always comes with some struggles. It's hard to understand how renting works, where the best places to live are, and even how to find available flats or houses. The easiest way to find a place is to browse through Daft.ie and set up alerts on new listings to be among the first to answer. In this market, you have to move fast to find a good deal.

Your network will also be very valuable when it comes to house hunting, so let your colleagues know you are on the house hunt. There may even be a board with postings at your office. Remember, finding an apartment or house is an important part to getting settled and having Dublin feel like your home away from home so you won't want to put it off for too long.

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3. Start Your Job Search Early

If you're attracted to the tech industry and want to get into sales, Dublin is the place to be!

All the top tech companies are here (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, IBM, AirBnB, Pinterest, HubSpot, etc.) and are constantly looking for salespeople with all types of experience and backgrounds.

Referrals are widely used so be proactive and connect with people from the company on LinkedIn when you see a job opening! This is the best way to get your foot in the door at a company that interests you.

Another bonus to finding a job in Dublin is if you speak a second language, especially one spoken in Europe, since most companies have their European headquarters in Dublin but market to all of Europe from here.

Interested in working at Apple? Find out how to get hired at Apple's European headquarters in Cork, Ireland.

Streetview of Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland with tourists and locals in the street
There's a lot more to the city than just Temple Bar

4. Having a Good Night Out Is Easy

There's a reason that the Irish people have such a well-known reputation for being outgoing, friendly, and, well, drinkers. With so many great bars to visit in Dublin, the perfect spot for a night out isn't hard to find.

The Irish are welcoming and lively people. Go into a pub, order a Guinness, and you'll most likely be chatting to your neighbor within minutes. Because of this, it's easy to make friends as an expat in Dublin.

Live music is all over the city, and not only trad music. Search online for gigs in pubs and intimate concert halls such as the Olympia or Vicar Street. If you're a fan of pubs and music, it'll always be a fun night out.

Beat your hangover the next day by taking a walk by the sea in Howth or Bray, hiking in the Wicklows for beautiful scenery or by visiting some of Ireland's famous landmarks.

5. Don't forget about your visa

Ireland is in Europe after all, so if you’re European it’s easy, there's no requirement. You'll be able to live in Dublin and get a legal job with no issue. If you're not European though, you can stay 3 months as a tourist, but will need a visa to stay longer and to work there.

For more information about how to get a visa for Ireland, as a non-European citizen, check out this article.

6. Enjoy a Nice Work-Life Balance

The great thing about this city is that it is full of expats. Locals are accustomed to expats moving to Dublin and other expats understand the changes you're going through when you move abroad. You'll be welcomed by this melting pot of cultures and the people are quite open, festive, and chilled. There's so many well-known tourist spots throughout the country and even more hidden gems just waiting to be explored.

The work-life balance is good in Ireland, giving you time for activities, to explore the city and the beautiful countryside. Within just a couple of hours you can be in a lovely cottage by the sea, lighting a fireplace, or hopping on a flight to explore the rest of Europe.

Dublin is a great starting point to explore major European cities over a weekend with cheap flights and only a few hours journey. Hop over to Florence, Italy or London for a nice holiday not too far away.

A lot of people swimming in Ireland on a warm, sunny day
Go for a swim for a nice change of pace from city life!

7. Be Prepared for a High Cost of Living

The cost of living in Dublin is quite high. Luckily, as I mentioned earlier, if you're working for one of the big tech companies, your salary should compensate for the cost of living. Housing, food, restaurants and transport are expensive, but at least beer is pretty cheap, and you most likely won’t need transportation if you live inside the city as distances are quite walkable or bikeable.

My advice: get a bike if you don’t mind the rain and wind. Most companies will even refund 50% of its cost.

All in all, expat life in Dublin is great. Dublin is definitely a lively city that needs exploring outside of touristy Temple Bar. Talk with the locals who always seem happy and content, take the time to travel across the country and enjoy the melting pot of cultures.

For more about living in Dublin, you can listen to this podcast episode where Marieke tells you all about her experience living abroad here.

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