Last Updated: October 28, 2021
Life and Living in Ireland
Ireland, the land of saints and scholars, is not only popular for its beautiful scenery and rich history, but also for being one of the best educational destinations for students across the globe. With more than a thousand courses in varied streams, Ireland provides a wide range of options, almost like an educational buffet, for potential incoming students. Moreover, Ireland is a nation brimming with opportunities, not only for their domestic students but even for international students.
After the completion of their studies, international students may want to stay back in Ireland and look for the ideal job opportunity. For students who wish to join big multinational companies, Ireland may be the top choice as many MNCs choose to set their base in the land of scholars, due to the rapid development of the country as well as the economic development that goes sky-high. But before one starts to materialize this dream, it is always good to learn more about the country, and this article does exactly that.
Languages in Ireland
Irish or Gaeilge and English are the official languages in Ireland. The Irish language is said to be one among the group of Celtic languages. It can be categorized into three main dialects, namely Munster, Connacht, and Ulster, which are used based on the province in Ireland. The "An Caighdeán Oifigiúil" is the most standard form of the Irish language used here. Even though English is widely spoken in the Republic of Ireland, staying here for a while will make one discover the Hiberno-English dialect. Ireland is also known for its multilingualism. Other languages spoken here include Polish, French, Romanian, Lithuanian, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, and even Chinese.
Cost of Things in Ireland
Managing finances to go abroad is the top-most priority of any international student. Successful financial management only happens when international students can make a plan to manage their finances way before they land in Ireland. There are several ways a student can save up on living costs - even if they are living in major cities of Ireland. The most effective and important way to save on living costs is to buy groceries from discount grocery stores instead of grocery stores with a normal price point. Discount stores are student budget-friendly without compromising on the quality of the products. The approximate price of some of the basic items in Ireland are as follows:
- 1 liter milk (whole fat) - €1.20
- A dozen of eggs (large) - €3.11
- 1 kg of apples - €2.09
- 1 kg of tomatoes - €2.18
- 1 kg of potatoes - €1.28
- 500 gm of cheese - €4.95
- Toilet paper (4 rolls) - €2.38
- A box of tampons (32) - €5.09
The price for the above-listed items may be cheaper in some of the most popular discount grocery stores in Ireland. Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, SuperValu, and Dunnes Store are some of the best discount grocery stores that international students should focus on. Other miscellaneous costs, such as water bills, internet, electricity bills, transportation, etc. differ as per the living style and the city. If a student chooses to live in the university accommodation, they automatically save up on the miscellaneous charges as it is included and paid for in the total accommodation costs. In terms of healthcare, non-EU/EEA students will require private health insurance.
Living Expense in Ireland
It is important to note that a student's living costs are heavily dependent on the area they are living in, specifically the location of their university, as well as the style of living. The cost may increase if a student is living in a rented house or a private accommodation. The average cost for renting an apartment in Ireland may range from €1,000 to €2,500. Students who opt to live in accommodation provided by the university have a considerably low cost of living, in comparison to private accommodation.
Tuition fees vary from city to city, with big cities like Dublin having the highest tuition fees in Ireland. International students will have to pay much more than domestic students to be able to attend Irish universities. Just as in most educational destinations, the cost of tuition fees may differ between universities, naturally depending on the location of the university. Most public universities in Ireland offer free education to students from Ireland or other EU countries. However, it is important to note that not all public universities do so, and they may charge the minimum education amount from domestic students as well. Additionally, the free tuition cost is reserved only
for undergraduate courses. The postgraduate courses still have to be paid for by domestic students (if they choose to pursue the same).
International undergraduate students may have to pay anywhere between €10,000 to €56,000, depending on their course and the location of the university. As for international postgraduate students, the tuition cost ranges between €10,000 to €36,000. However, Irish universities do provide a wide range of scholarships to help international students get into their desired courses.
One of the most important factors for international students to be aware of is the transition of currency between their home country and Ireland. This information is not always consistent as the rates seem to be affected by a lot of factors, hence, it is advisable to check the conversion rate frequently. It is important to keep in mind that the currency of Ireland 4is not
Irish pounds. In 1999, the Republic of Ireland changed its currency to Euros
. The most recent conversion rate from USD to Euro is 1 U.S. dollar = 0.86 Euro.
Things to do in Ireland
Even if education is the top priority of visiting the country, one cannot resist the desire to go around the Emerald Isle and explore the fantastic places that the country has to offer. Ireland is one of the most popular historical places in the world. Every street, every building, has some story to tell.
Places to Visit in Ireland
Some of the major and most popular cities in the Republic of Ireland are:
- Dublin: Dublin is the country's capital city and is also the largest city in terms of population. It is also the abode of the famous Trinity College. Grafton Street, St. Stephens Green, The Little Museum of Dublin, Merrion Square, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, The James Joyce Centre, are some of the most popular attractions in this city.
- Cork: Cork is a vibrant city in the Republic of Ireland and is also the second-largest city. There is a lot to explore in this city, be it art, architecture, or good food. Some of the most fascinating places to visit in this city include the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Elizabeth Fort, Franciscan Well Brewery, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork Butter Museum, and more.
- Galway: It is always a delight to explore the city of Galway as it offers a lot to its visitors ranging from folksy music, wonderful scenery, and festivals. Some of the best tourist attractions in this city are Eyre Square, Wild Atlantic Way, St. Nicholas' Church, Galway Cathedral, the Aran Islands, and a lot more.
- Limerick: Situated in the Munster province, this is one of the oldest places in Ireland and is popularly known as the "Irish City of Culture", and the "Treaty City". There is a lot to discover and enjoy in this city with popular sites such as King John's Castle, St. John's Square and Cathedral, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Glenstal Abbey, Lough Gur Prehistoric Site, and much more.
Cuisines to Relish While in Ireland
Popular Irish dishes are known for their rich taste despite their simplicity. Apart from the traditional delicacies, numerous restaurants in this country offer a range of international cuisines as well. However, if international students wish to reside here for quite some time, trying out a few traditional Irish dishes is a must. A warm pot of Irish stew, perfectly baked Beef and Guinness pie, the edgy mash potato mix of Boxty, Colcannon, and Champ, smokey and flavorful Gammon and Rashers, and a wholesome loaf of Barmbracks and Soda Bread are some of the most popular cuisines one must enjoy in Ireland.
Festivals to Attend While in Ireland
Be it for art, literature, humor, food, races, music, or even farm animals, the Republic of Ireland seems to celebrate every moment of life through its wide range of festivities that will keep visitors bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Some of the most popular festivals and fairs celebrated here include the musical gala of the Temple Bar TradFest, the frenzied frolicking of large crowds in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Irish Cork VegFest for promoting veganism, the National Ploughing Championship that showcases the farming prowess of the nation, hogging the freshest oysters in the Galway Oyster Festival, the Galway International Arts Festival, and a lot more. Each festival celebrated here has its unique history or cause and people from across the country celebrate it with great zeal.
Commuting to Places in Ireland
When it comes to transportation in Ireland, students can travel in and around the country via four modes of transport - air, train, bus & ferries. Trains and buses are mostly used to travel in the city - such as commuting to the university, meeting friends, or going for part-time jobs. Trains, on the other hand, are mostly used for traveling to destinations farther away. The railway lines have been developed rapidly over the years, making them one of the most convenient modes of transport. The trains can travel between both sides of the Irish border. Airplane travel is fairly cheap in Ireland, especially for traveling in and around other European countries. Additionally, a much cheaper mode of transport than an airplane is the ferry. Ferries from Ireland can take people towards the neighboring countries such as England and many more.
Entertainment Options for Students in Ireland
As an international student, it is only obvious that one would like to know about Ireland as much as possible. To make it easier for international students to know about destinations that are worth going to, a list of the most famous attractions are mentioned below:
- The Cliffs of Moher
- Dublin’s Grafton Street
- Newgrange Meath
- The Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula)
- Blarney Castle & Gardens
- Atlantic Way
- Killarney National Park
- Kilkenny Castle
- Irish Round Tower
- Giant's Causeway
Trekking, hiking, biking, attending popular music fests, exploring Irish cuisines, shopping, or simply strolling and sightseeing are a bunch of things students can do here in the Emerald Isle.
Safety Concerns for International Students in Ireland
According to the 15th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2021, the Republic of Ireland holds the 15th position in the world, in terms of safety and peacefulness. However, this is just an estimate on a global level, and it does not signify that Ireland is devoid of crime. In fact, the crime rates have increased in Ireland with incidents of shooting, drug abuse, vandalism, homicide, and so on. Drogheda, Dublin, Limerick, Cork are some of the most unsafe cities in Ireland. Students need to be careful of their surroundings or the city or locality they choose to live in. But most of the time, the location of accommodation or the city also depends on the university chosen. Therefore, students must make sure to be alert. A few things students must remember are:
- Choose to travel with a friend as much as possible and avoid being alone.
- If the institution has a pick and drop facility for students, make sure to use it to return home safely.
- Checking google maps on one's way to the destination may seem convenient, but it is best to familiarize oneself with the routes and landmarks before leaving. This will also help to avoid phones being stolen when distracted.
- Carry cash only according to need. Avoid carrying important documents or valuables.