Moving to Dublin
Sitting at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of Irish economic, political and cultural life, Dublin is a draw for tourists from all over the world. They come for the history, for the architecture, for the music, for the Guinness and, most importantly, for the craic.
As a destination for emigres, Dublin’s recent fortunes have been more mixed. As the capital of the Republic, the city’s fortunes have risen and fallen with those of the country as a whole in recent years. At the turn of the millenium Dublin was at the forefront of Irish economic expansion - a boom which led to extensive property development, the attraction of large multinational companies, record low unemployment and the Celtic Tiger epithet.
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Alas, the good times were not to last: a huge banking crisis requiring a bailout from the EU led to a serious and prolonged downturn in the economy, negative growth and high unemployment. It seemed the Celtic Tiger was standing on shifting sands.
There are now tentative hopes that the contraction is over and that a return to growth is imminent. But regardless of the economic situation the charms of Dublin - a city of live music, laughter, literature and learning - make it hard to resist for those looking to start a new life in Ireland.
Moving to Dublin from the UK
Much like a smaller UK city, public transport in Dublin isn’t very extensive which means that if you live outside the city centre and not near a DART (train) station then a car will be pretty much essential for getting around. If you’re thinking of taking your car with you then check with Irish Tax and Customs how much Vehicle Registration Tax you’ll need to pay.
The public healthcare system in Ireland is much newer than the NHS and is generally regarded as providing an inferior service. Many types of treatment require payment e.g. a visit to accident and emergency costs roughly €100, a GP appointment up to €60. Private health insurance is available from four providers - Vhi, Quinn, GloHealth and Aviva - and about half of Dubliners take the private approach.
The property crash in Ireland was much more precipitous than that in the UK due to a huge glut in housing. The Dublin housing market now seems to be stabilising, with price rises seen in early 2013 - the first time since the crash. Nevertheless, those selling in the UK to buy in Dublin will doubtless find that home buying is much more affordable in the Irish capital.
Rental prices are also generally lower than in the UK due to the aforementioned surplus of properties.
Comparing Dublin vs London
Weather-wise there’s very little to separate London and Dublin - they experience a similar range of temperatures, hours of sunshine and precipitation. On the whole Dublin might be slightly wetter than London but offers slightly milder winters.
The cost of living in the Irish capital is significantly lower than that in London largely due to the lower costs of accommodation. While you’ll generally pay more at the till for your groceries and to eat out in Dublin, those premiums are much more than offset by lower rents and property prices.
Dublin is much less congested and polluted than London. There are lower average commute times, cleaner air and a much shorter trip to the surrounding countryside - including the beautiful County Wicklow to the south.
The cultural offerings of Dublin might be fewer in absolute number than those of London but they’re no less densely packed: the city that was home to Joyce, Wilde, Beckett and Shaw shows off its literary heritage in the National Library of Ireland and the National Print Museum; the Gaiety, Abbey, Gate, Olympia and Grand Canal theatres sit at the heart of a thriving performing arts scene; and countless live music venues, from pubs to the O2, provide a dry place to soak up the craic when the rain falls on the street performers of the Temple Bar area.