In September 2019, Fáilte Ireland pointed to the shortfall of 1,100 rooms it Ronan’s Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) is incorporating into Aqua Vetro, the …
How bad is it to live in Ireland?
Naturally Irish people (both in the Republic and in NI) would naturally tell you that this is a great place to live. And why not? This is their homeland after all. But let me tell you from the perspective of a relatively newcomer. It has been close to two years now
and I love it!
I love it despite increasingly patchy healthcare system. In a country with a per capita annual income of almost 70.000 Euro it is a shame that 75 year old patients lay on the emergency service gurneys for over 24 hours waiting for a doctor to finally see them. Now, over 1 million people of a nation with just over 4 million residents are on the hospital waiting lists. This is truly unacceptable. Still, I love this country, and I will tell why later but lets first power through the bad stuff.
I love it despite the housing problem. More than ten thousand people are homeless (and remember the total population is just over four million). Nearly a quarter of a percent of the population is without a home. And this is despite the fact that just in Dublin over 30,000 (thirty thousand) properties are kept vacant by their owners because they cannot be bothered with renting out the place (you pay up to 52 percent on rental income). When we first moved here everybody told us that we were very lucky to find an apartment within one week. I have a couple of friends who had to stay in a hotel for months before they could find a place to live.
I love it despite the tribal politics. Irish people do not like talking about politics and for good reason. Irish politics is archaic, tribal, and still quite corrupt. Some stories out of Dublin would even curdle the blood of Italian party bosses, even Berlusconi.
I love it despite the ridiculous immigration policies. But once you are settled it is great.
NOW, lets talk about the good stuff.
CLIMATE: Even the Irish people hate the climate but I really do not mind it too much. Having lived on the Mediterranean cost most my life I thought the climate would put me down but it is surprisingly mild. (I am talking only about Dublin) Yes, sunshine is limited and it rains every other day but it is very rarely colder than 10 degrees (Celsius) except for January and February in Dublin. And the rain is usually quite light, very rarely a real downpour. So, it does not interfere with your routine very much in summers it never gets really smoldering hot. For someone who likes cycling and running a lot Dublin has a great climate. Of course I could do with a bit more sunshine and longer days in winter but you cannot get everything you want. We compensate by taking our vacations in Winter and spend three weeks in Izmir.
NATURE: This is a gorgeous country. Coming from Turkey, this is saying something. This is a small Island but you can find something that is beautiful and interesting everywhere you go. Air quality (especially on the west coast overlooking the Atlantic) is fantastic (except for Dublin in winter, when many people burn these pressed firelogs that smoke and smell like burning tires).
Also Dublin is quite surprisingly organically connected to nature. I live by the small Camac river close to the Grand Canal and you cannot believe you live in a metropolitan area when a grey heron comes hunting in your little stream, a green headed flock of ducks take flight and you can fish for even pike in your backyard. Most of my friends back in New York, Istanbul, and Izmir reacts in amazed looks when I tell about this. Most of the people I meet in Dublin are hardly impressed. Such a connection to nature is not really reserved for the rural places or the rich suburban mentions with great estates.
Oh, and Phoenix Park is perhaps one of the greatest city parks in the world complete with a wild herd of deer.
PEOPLE: This perhaps is the best part. What I love about Ireland (, Republic of) is that people you meet are usually down for a good laugh and carry a good sense of humor. If you do not take them back to the ‘troubles’ they can take a joke or two and pay you in kind. Most neighborhoods have a sense of community and it could be tough nut to crack as a newcomer and outsider but you eventually do and can really feel home. Believe me, having lived (not just visited) in more than a handful countries, I cannot state how important it is to feel welcome.
BUSINESS: Economy is recovering. So for the talented there are vast opportunities. Corporate taxes are low and government encourages employment creating investment. If we come unscathed from Brexit (the issue of a hard border with Northern Ireland is bothersome and lack of a customs union or a similar arrangement will hurt Irish exports a lot) next few years are projected to be even better. Economy is close to double digit growth rate without overheating.
I do not have children yet so I cannot speak from experience but education is quite diverse and of high quality. Universities also do not pull their punches in the international arena. 5 of the 9 universities are among the top 500 institutions in the world and Trinity College have only this year dropped out of top 100 (104). The funding cuts after the 2008 crisis are still effecting recruitment and research. But signs are positive and Ireland probably will have one or two top 100 universities before it is too long.
All in all, this is one of the best places to live if you can afford a least an upper middle class lifestyle. I feel at home here and so do many others who came from many cornets of the globe.