Moving to Cork
Source: Flickr | Mike Mulligan
Located on the south west coast, Cork is known as the Rebel County of Ireland. The people of Cork are proud and quick witted with a strong and pronounced accent. Many native “Corkonians” consider their county to be the true capital of Ireland.
Cork was named the European Capital of Culture in 2005, a coveted accolade and testament to the city’s cultural achievements and places of cultural interest. Cork City has a rich arts and performance background. The Cork Opera house was established over 160 years ago and has been rebuilt several times since. The county is also home to the Cork Jazz festival and several internationally acclaimed organisations such as the Cork school of Music and the Crawford College of Art and Design.
Cork’s climate is mild but changeable like the rest of Ireland. Its proximity to the sea means that it can experience flash flooding from time to time. In recent years this flooding has become more severe.
Cork is a great place to eat in. Many famous Irish dishes such as “crubeens” and “drisheen” originated in Cork. The county’s connection with the sea means that fresh fish is always featured prominently on the restaurant menus around the capital.
The Job Market
Unemployment in Cork is an issue. Economic activity is not what it once was since the economic crash in Ireland in 2008. Unemployment levels in the city and county currently stand at 11%, an improvement on two years ago.
The county has been kept going thanks to major investment from multinational companies operating in the pharmaceutical and technology space. Pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKlien and Pfizer operate out of Cork and provide vital employment in the county. Technology companies such as Apple and McAfee have their European headquarters in Cork. There are also opportunities for multi-lingual job seekers as Cork is home to the Siemens Group tech support centre.
Corks shipping industry is vital to the success of the Irish economy. Housed in one of the largest natural harbours in the world, large container shipments arrive in Cork on a daily basis. A good proportion of the goods entering the harbour are agricultural related products such as animal feed and machinery. Cork is home to very arable and good quality land and many of the country’s top farmers are based in the county. Cork is the biggest dairy producer in Ireland based on volume.
Cork is sometimes referred to as a university town. There are approximately 35,000 students studying in Cork at any one given time. Most of these students are based in University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology. These students provide a welcome injection of youth into the city as well as a positive boost for the economy.
Mahon Point is the largest shopping centre in Cork. There is a good appetite for shopping in Cork and the shopping centre is always busy despite the recessionary times that Ireland has experienced over the past number of years. People from surrounding counties such as Kerry, Tipperary and Waterford will often travel to Cork to shop at Mahon Point. There is always seasonal retail employment in this region.
Ireland is a small country so groceries spend does not really differ across the country. Cork for example has the very same supermarkets and multiples that one would find in Dublin or other major cities. Prices across these multiples are standardised. In some parts of rural cork however easy access to a larger grocery shops or supermarkets can be difficult, meaning that only small expensive shops service these areas. It would be advisable in this instance to travel into Cork city for a weekly or bi-weekly shop to achieve a cost saving.
Cork is home to many quality Irish markets and food halls. It is worth visiting these markets to snap up a bargain. Traders tend to reduce prices as the day’s trading winds down. Eating out in Cork can be expensive during the summer months. This is the case even in rural areas given that Cork is a popular tourist destination.
Transport is becoming more and more expensive in Ireland. Public Transport costs are constantly rising due to increasing fuel and operational costs. Bus Eireann operate bus transport services for commuters in and out of the city. Service is quite limited however with only a handful of established routes. Parking in the city centre is cheaper than that of Dublin and in recent months there have been calls to introduce free parking to encourage more people to shop in the large town.
Like in Dublin the cost of renting in Cork City is increasing due to housing supply issues. This means that many couples and families can become priced out of the market and are sometimes forced to move away from the city towards west cork where property rental prices are lower.
A one bedroom fat in the city centre will cost about €800 per month to rent. A similar dwelling located in the suburbs will cost about €200 less per month. A three bedroom house in the city will cost about €1200 per month while a similar dwelling in the suburbs will cost about €300 less per month. These prices continue to fall as one travels further west and away from the city.
Broadband coverage remains an issue in some areas of rural Cork. The government have committed to investing in a proper broadband infrastructure but this will take a number of years to roll out.
Property Information and Neighbourhoods
Cork city is home to the tallest building in Ireland. The Elysian tower constructed less than ten years ago stands at 266 feet. It is home to many apartments and offices. That said the majority of people in Cork live in houses. The city centre is akin to a mini San Francisco with streets that rise and fall, adding character to the cityscape. Housing around the Elysian Tower is seen as super cool, hip and trendy and attracts young high earning professionals.
It is not practical for families with young children to live in the bustling city centre. East Cork is the best place for young families to reside quite simply because of the vast range of amenities in the area. Houses in this area are close to the beach, there are quality schools in the area and there are lots of activities to do at the weekends when the kids are off school. This area also has easy access to Fota Wildlife Park and Zoo where families can pick up an annual pass at a great rate.
The Douglas area is a more upmarket area located south of the city with a great selection of shops pubs and restaurants. House prices in this area are expensive and the area is made up mostly of individually styled homes with sizeable gardens. Because of its proximity to the city however it should be noted that traffic in this area can become congested. Even if you are ready to purchase a house in Cork it is worth renting in a few areas first as each area has its own quirks that may need some getting used to.
Cobh and Kinsale are relaxed and pretty seaside towns in Cork. These locations see a lot of tourists come and go during the summer months. They are located well outside of the city and are ideal for someone who enjoys nature and the sea and the hustle and bustle of a busy seaside village.
Schools and Education
There is a good mix of both public and private schools in Cork. All of the schools in the county are governed by the department of Education. It is their aim to ensure that each school in Cork reaches the government approved benchmark in educational standards.
Glasheen primary school is a school in Cork City with a particularly excellent reputation. The school is known to be very welcoming and progressive. It has modern interactive learning aids for all students. The school has an option for direct progression into Glasheen secondary school. It is important to enrol your children in a school of your choice as soon as possible as there can be great demand for places in schools near Cork City.
Most schoolchildren upon leaving secondary school embark on further studies in University College Cork (UCC) , Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) or University Limerick (UL), all of which have an excellent reputation.
A day in the Life
Cork is a magnificent city and county alike; there are always plenty of things to do and places to see. The best thing about Cork is the people. The natives are a rare breed that always have time for a friendly chat and a laugh. It is nice to go for a walk by the sea in Cork when the weather is fair. The city council has invested heavily in spectacular beach walks and harbour side promenades which are always busily occupied. Visitors to these areas are always well catered for with small and pleasant cafés close by.
Cork City’s English Market is perhaps the best “covered market” in all of the UK and Ireland. It is a social space filled with small artisan traders selling their wares. Cork is a culture hotspot and there are many theatres in the city. The Everyman Palace Theatre is open through the week and offers a variety of themed Irish and International performances. Based on MacCurtain Street in the centre of the city, this Victorian gem always has a unique production running.
In 2010 Lonely Planet listed Cork as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit.