With the beautiful country that is Ireland being only an hour’s flight from the UK, it’s surprising how many residents have yet to visit its friendly shores. Many of those that do, however, decide that the notable difference in culture and pace of life is so attractive to them, that they want to relocate there for good.
Here at Britannia Ryans, we offer a weekly Ireland removals service to and from the Emerald Isle, which is maintained by our dedicated team who are permanently based there. As such, we know quite a bit about the land of saints and scholars. That’s why we created this guide to moving to Ireland, to help you understand more about the country and what you might need to consider if you are planning to move there.
Ireland is part of the Common Travel Area, which means that even though the UK is no longer part of the EU, British and Irish citizens can live and work in either country and travel freely between them. This means that you will not need a visa or residency permit to live, work or study in Ireland.
If you are bringing your pet with you, the documents you need will differ depending on the type of animal. Since Brexit, a GB-issued EU pet passport can’t be used to take your pet to Ireland, although a pet passport issued in Ireland or another EU country will be valid. There is more detailed information about bringing your pet into Ireland on the Irish Government website.
Ireland is about 3.5 times smaller than the UK, but it is much less densely populated. Ireland’s population is around 5.2 million, around 7% of the UK’s population of 67 million. These lower numbers are partly due to the fact that over the last century, about 50% of the population emigrated, mainly due to economic pressures. However, recent years have seen a growth in population; 2021 was the first time numbers reached over 5 million since 1851.
Nowadays, approximately 40% of the population lives within 60 miles of the capital city, Dublin.
The Irish language, referred to as Gaeilge or Irish, is Celtic in origin and is the first official language of Ireland. You’ll find it on all street and road signs in Ireland, along with English. Only around a third of the population speaks Irish, but it is still taught in schools. Almost everyone speaks English, which is another primary language in the country. You might find many people speak Hiberno-English, which blends Irish grammar with English.
Ireland is in many ways more relaxed and friendly than its UK neighbour, with a strong sense of community spirit. This laidback way of life is perhaps most notable on Sundays when many shops and establishments do not open their doors until mid-afternoon, if at all.
Sports are very popular in Ireland and you can often find revellers crowded around a pub TV, cheering on their local Gaelic football or hurling team. Of course, the more familiar sports also have a huge following, as in the UK.
The climate in Ireland is temperate, humid, generally mild and fairly similar to that of the UK, with a few differences. Due to its location on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, it is often more weather-beaten and receives a lot of annual rainfall. This is not such a bad thing, as it is the rain that gives Ireland its incredibly green and vibrant appearance. Winters tend to be wet and mild, and snow is a rarity. Summer temperatures usually stay between 15°C and 20°C, with more risk of rain.
Ireland’s economy was notoriously hit very hard by the financial crisis of 2008 but has since begun to improve somewhat. The unit of currency used is the Euro, and at current May 2022 exchange rates equates to about 1.17 euros for every UK pound. VAT is slightly higher than the UK at 23%, so certain items are more expensive due to this.
We would recommend not using a UK mobile phone to call your UK friends and relatives; instead buy one in Ireland when you arrive, as it will be much cheaper, or use web-based apps to call home instead.
Ireland has a close economic affinity with the USA, perhaps even more so than the UK does. Approximately 500 US companies have their European headquarters based there, including giants such as Google, eBay and PayPal. This is almost certainly due to the 12.5% corporation tax – the lowest rate in the developed world.
Transport facilities vary quite drastically within Ireland, but in the cities (particularly Dublin), traffic congestion can be quite severe. Using a bike negates this issue and also makes the Emerald Isle a little bit greener! Most cities in Ireland have a comprehensive bus network, and travel by train is usually the fastest way to travel across the country. However, to get to the more rural areas, a car will normally be required.
Cars are expensive to buy in Ireland and it can be cheaper to buy a car in the UK and ship it there yourself. If you would like to take your current car with you, Britannia Ryans offers car shipping services and can transport it for you safely and securely. More detailed information on importing your car can be found on the Irish Citizens Information page.
Unlike the UK, there is no fully comprehensive NHS as such in Ireland. There is, however, the Health Service Executive which performs a similar function, as well as private healthcare options of course. Visits to the GP will usually require a fee (around €50) and if you need to go to A&E, there is usually a fee of around €100 if you do not have a referral from your GP.
You may be eligible for a GP visit card or medical card, more information on which can be found on the Citizens Information website.
If you’re moving to Ireland with children, they will be able to attend school for free up to the end of secondary school. For third-level colleges and universities, you will usually have to pay fees. Children do not have to legally attend school until five or six years old, but as in the UK, schooling usually begins at age four or five.
The quality of education in Ireland is generally quite high in both public and private schools. Many private schools will have religious affiliations, with the majority being Catholic.
Moving To Ireland?
There are many things to consider when moving to Ireland. However, the reality is that most British nationals who move there quickly become familiar with the subtle differences.
As a moving company with over 30 years of experience helping UK residents move to Ireland, we’ve seen it all before, so we’re experts at ensuring the relocation always goes smoothly. We can transport the entire contents of a house, or if necessary, just one valuable item. We offer a full packing and unpacking service, overseen by our professionally trained packers and movers. If you require storage containers, we can provide these too and unlike most moving companies, we have storage facilities both in the UK and Ireland.