By MUIREANN PRENDERGAST, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
The jewel of the "Emerald Isle", Dublin, Ireland, has long been a favorite of tourists and expats from around the world. Dublin also has a strong international profile due it its famous exports like rock band, U2, the Irish dancing extravaganza, River Dance, and even some well known actors in Hollywood like Gabriel Byrne. Dublin is also a popular tourist destination due to its numerous pubs, cultural sights and live traditional music. Yes, Dublin has great appeal. But, if you're thinking of making a move there, the real question is what does it cost to live to Dublin? Could you afford it?
During the 1990’s Ireland was famous for its Celtic Tiger economy which expanded at almost 10% annually and attracted investment from famous multinational companies like Apple and Google which set up offices in Dublin. However, those of you who have been following developments in the recent international economic crisis worldwide will know that Ireland has been one of the European countries most affected by the worldwide recession. For 2011 the country’s Central Bank is predicting growth of a mere 1%.
Xpatulator.com places Dublin at 79th place overall in its list of expensive cities worldwide.
If clothes are your thing, Dublin is just the place for you. The city has a shopping center on practically every corner. Top places to visit are The Ilac Center, Liffey Valley and of course, The Square shopping center in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght. In these complexes popular international high street brands like Next and Topshop rub shoulders with local shopping institutions like Dunnes Stores and Penneys. Not only do you have a range of clothing options to choose from but prices will not break the bank. According to Xpatulator, clothes are relatively cheap in Dublin with a rank of 210 out of 300 countries worldwide.
If you moving to Dublin with children, there's more good news. Schools are inexpensive in Dublin. Xpatulator.com ranks Dublin 288 out of 300 in terms of how expensive their schools are. And this ranking includes all education facilities, from preschools to primary schools and college institutions. Most people in Ireland are educated in public (non fee-paying) schools at primary and secondary levels.
Can I Afford To Eat in Dublin?
Foodwise, Dublin has everything that you would expect from a multicultural capital city like Indian, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants and takeaways. It also offers the local specialty, pub grub or classy carvery lunches in bars around town.
The Temple Bar quarter in Dublin’s city center, a cobble stone paved area at the center of the city’s nightlife, is a great place for pub grub. If you go there now, you might be pleasantly surprised by the price. 2010 findings by the Organization for Economic-Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed that the recession has caused a drop in the cost of living in Ireland. The OECD notes that this is particularly evident with food which it says has fallen by approximately 8%. That contrasts nicely with the rest of the world, which is experiencing inflation in food prices.
Some food prices in Dublin include:
Three course meal in restaurant: €40-50.
Milk 2 litres: €2.10
Cheddar cheese (500g): €3.50.
Pint of Guinness: €4.50.
One dozen eggs: €1.70.
12 inch cheese pizza (serving 2-3): €12.50.
However, certain things are expensive in Dublin. Xpatulator.com places Dublin as 87 out of 100 for communication costs like internet and cellular phones.
It also says that Dublin is expensive in terms of alcohol and tobacco prices with a ranking of 77 out of 300. That being said, Ireland’s famous draft stout, Guinness, is something you’ll not want to miss out on!
Can I Afford To Buy or Rent Property in Dublin?
The Irish property bubble has burst. Irish price houses fell by 10.8% in 2010 according to the Permanent Bank/ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) House Price Index. The average price for a house nationally in Quarter 4, 2010 was €191,776, compared with €215,086 in Quarter 4 2009.
According to a 2011 report by Ireland’s property website Daft.ie, rental prices in Dublin fell by 0.6% in 2010.
You can expect to be pay between €691 and €971 for a one bedroom apartment monthly in Dublin, depending on the location, according to a report carried out by rental property website Daft.ie. In Dublin, the pricey area of the city is the residential southside while the northside, traditionally the poorer part of the city, is a paradise for those looking for (relatively) inexpensive rent. A two bedroom apartment can cost between €863 and €1059, again depending on whether you are looking on the southside or northside. These prices do not include expenses.
You should give yourself a two to three week period to find a place to rent in Dublin as you might face stiff competition for places. Also, most people consider a number of different properties before deciding on one.
The best place to look for rental property in the Dublin area is the daily evening newspaper, The Evening Herald. There are also websites like Rent.ie and Daft.ie which offering a full price range of available properties. Even though you might fall in love with a house or apartment from the photos on the website, it is a good idea to visit it personally before signing any documentation in order to avoid disappointment.
Normally, in order to rent an apartment, you will be expected to sign a lease for one year and you will be required to pay a deposit of one or two month’s rent which is returned to you when you leave, provided you have not damaged the property.
What Can I Expect To Earn in Dublin?
Ireland has the second highest minimum wage rate in the EU zone after Luxembourg. Ireland’s minimum wage took a cut this year due to the economic recession. It was reduced by one euro an hour to €7.65.
Ireland’s Central Statistics Office reports that the average annual salary in small businesses is €35,340 while that in larger companies is €44,157. Salaries in Dublin include Senior Software Engineer (€52,328), Office Administrator (€26,585) and IT manager (€59,471).
The information resource for visitors to Dublin, Jobseekers Advice, estimates that a single expatriate living in Dublin would need €970 monthly to live while a couple require approximately €1,545 and a couple with 2 children would need €2,920 for the same period.
Whatever you decide to do, good luck! Dublin is a great place to live but you’ll want to be on top of your finances in order to fully enjoy what the city has to offer.