Welcome to the Emerald Isle! Located in Northwestern Europe on the shores of the Atlantic, Ireland offers breathtaking landscapes, ancient history, vibrant culture and loads of craic (Irish for fun). Ireland is divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (which falls under the United Kingdom). The Republic of Ireland has a population of 4.9 million and two official languages – English and Irish (Gaelic), although English is the main language used across most of the country.
Ireland is also a great hub for those wishing to travel Europe on a low budget. The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair offers trips to lots of European cities for student-friendly prices. Below you’ll find all of the information necessary for integrating into Irish culture.
Culture and Traditions
Ireland is known for its abundance of traditional music, folklore, storytelling, cosy pubs and warm and welcoming people. It is also the birthplace of many literary giants including James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, G.B Shaw, W.B Yeats and Seamus Heaney amongst others. Dublin alone is regarded as the city with the most Nobel literary laureates in the world. In terms of music, Ireland has produced artists such as U2, Bono, The Cranberries, Sinéad O’Connor, Hozier and Damien Rice, to name a few. Ireland also has a long tradition of dances including step-dancing, jigs and reels. It’s safe to say that storytelling, music and dancing are a huge part of the Irish soul.
Social life in Ireland revolves mostly around the pub. You’d be hard-pressed to not find at least five pubs within walking distance. The pub is the place for hanging out after work, meeting friends and for listing to live music sessions. Ireland is also the land of beer and the home of the world-famous Guinness.
Dublin is currently the hotbed for startups and tech companies. Many US companies like Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Salesforce, Paypal and Amazon have their European headquarters in Dublin. This makes Dublin an excellent city for finding student internships and jobs.
Ireland also enjoys a strong economy ranking 5th according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and 6th according to the World Bank.
Nature and Climate
Ireland is called the Emerald Isle for a reason. The country is made up of rolling landscapes of lush green fields and hills. The western coast is known for its more rugged landscape of cliffs plunging straight into the Atlantic ocean. Ireland is a fantastic place for more outdoorsy types since there are a myriad of different hikes and natural wonders to visit such as the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant’s Causeway, Skellig Island and the Ring of Kerry.
All of Ireland’s greenery is a result of its temperate climate. Ireland has mild summers (around 15-20℃) and cool winters (around 5-8℃) and it receives a fair amount of rainfall throughout the year, so be sure to pack your umbrella with you. Ireland is also known for it’s constantly changing weather; it could be raining one moment and sunny the next.
Education in Ireland is divided into primary, secondary and third-level/higher education. Higher education in Ireland is mainly composed of universities and institutes of technology. Universities are more academic, whereas institutes of technology focus more on gaining practical skills. In either case, higher education is readily available at nearly all Irish towns, so much so that 41.6% of young adults (under 34) have attended third-level degrees. Ireland’s universities also hold a prestigious academic reputation with five universities ranked in the top 500 worldwide and two (Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin) ranked in the top 200.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Ireland depends largely on if you are living in Dublin or in another city. Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in Europe but it also makes up for it with higher wages. Rents in Dublin average around 500-700€ a month for a single room, whereas rents in other Irish cities are closer to 400-500€ a month.
Ireland is widely regarded as one of the safest countries in the world to study. The Global Peace Index includes Ireland in its top 10 most peaceful countries worldwide. Irish citizens and residents enjoy a stable democracy, flourishing economy and an abundance of civil and political rights; all of which contribute to the low crime rate and safety of the country.