Information on Ireland’s Cost of Living, Infrastructure, Climate, Residency, Health Care and Real Estate
If you are seeking a superior quality of life, the Emerald Isle has many options. For those looking to escape to a relaxed lifestyle in a more natural setting, surrounded by lush countryside, it doesn’t get better than Ireland.
In addition to its natural beauty, Ireland has a rich history and heritage; charming, traditional villages; a strong sense of community spirit; and plenty of activities to keep you busy.
Cost Of Living In Ireland
Live and Invest Overseas offers monthly cost of living budgets (for a couple) for our favorite destinations in Ireland:
Infrastructure In Ireland
While Ireland is a First World, EU-member country, its infrastructure does not meet the generally accepted EU standards. In fact, Ireland’s infrastructure is worse than some cities in Latin America. Panama City, Panama, for example, boasts more sophisticated infrastructure than capital city Dublin, or any other city in Ireland.
Though large-scale infrastructural projects and improvements were begun throughout Ireland in the 1990s, the current infrastructure struggles to meet the needs of the country’s economic growth.
Climate In Ireland
Ireland has a temperate oceanic climate. While wet and rainy, the weather is mild with no temperature extremes.
The temperature in all areas of Ireland typically ranges between 45°F and 70°F throughout the year. Rain is an everyday occurrence in Ireland, though some areas get more than others (the west coast sometimes gets over four times as much precipitation as the east). In many regions of the country annual rainfall reaches or even exceeds 100 inches per year.
Ireland’s “Sunny Southeast” region (counties Carlow, Waterford, Kilkenny, and Wexford) enjoys less rainfall and more hours of sunshine per year. The interior, midland areas of the country generally get the most extreme temperatures. Athlone, for example is more likely to experience snow in winter and tends to be a few degrees higher than the average in the summer.
Before you commit to retirement in the Auld Sod, experience it in winter. Or consider spending only part of the year in the country. Ireland is a place that makes good sense as a part-time retirement haven. You could retire to Ireland each summer, then spend your winters someplace bright and sunny.
As in any country, weather depends on your region, but generally Ireland enjoys a temperate, but wet climate, without major temperature fluctuation from season to season. But it can be unpredictable. Above all, you need to expect the unexpected.
Irish Winter: December to February
Residency In Ireland
U.S. citizens may enter Ireland without a visa and remain in the country as a tourist for a maximum of 90 days per trip. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you need to seek permission to remain in the country.
Residency in Ireland is not difficult to obtain, but requires a minimum annual stay in the country. Like many countries in Europe, Ireland grants residency to foreigners who can prove they can take care of themselves (that is, pay their own bills and not be a burden on the state).
Health Care In Ireland
Anywhere you go in Ireland, doctors and specialists are trained to a high standard. For major surgery and management of more serious diseases and conditions, you would need to travel to the larger towns and cities.
The standard of care in the public system is high, but the waiting lists are long (as of this writing you could wait up to three years to see a specialist for a minor condition). For something more serious, you would need to go the private route, which is expensive.
As in most of Western Europe, the cost of medical services is high in Ireland. A consultation with your family doctor, or general practitioner, averages 50 euros; a visit to the emergency room costs 100 euros; an overnight stay in hospital can cost upward of 1,000 euros (currency conversion here). Once you develop a relationship with a general practitioner in Ireland, though, you may find they charge you less for repeat visits.
Real Estate In Ireland
Ireland has no restriction on foreigners owning property.
The Irish property market has been attracting global media attention over the past year or so. After years spiraling downward, the market bounced back—in dramatic fashion. With around half the value of the average home wiped out and after years of distressed property auctions at which homes were sold off at 80% and even 90% discounts, things suddenly changed. A bottom was reached—and price declines slammed into reverse.
Knight Frank’s global property index revealed that in 2014 Ireland had the world’s fastest-growing real estate prices—beating out Turkey, Dubai, and the U.K. The little green isle’s annual growth rate hit 15% from September 2013 to September 2014.
At a glance, this could be mistaken for the same pattern of boom and bust we’ve seen in the Irish market in the past (among others). It’s certainly true—the price of properties in Ireland skyrocketed the better part of a decade before peaking (around 2007) and crashing back down to earth with a bang. And yes, the remarkable rise in house prices we’re seeing now has more than a hint of property bubble about it. But when you look a little closer, there are some key differences between the last, ultimately doomed property boom and what we’re seeing in Ireland today. Those differences leave the door wide open for overseas investors to step in.