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With fresh air, beautiful countryside and energetic cities, there are lots of reasons to consider moving to the Emerald Isle. Whether you’re moving solo, as a couple, or as a family, Ireland has a lot to offer.
Ireland is a country that has become the home of many nations for the past few years. However, there’s more to Ireland than booze shamrocks, so here are some things you need to know about Ireland before coming to live here.
Ireland has so many wonderful locations, but the great thing about living here is that it’s a fairly compact island. So whether it’s for a day trip or a weekend break, you’ll never be too far away to go and explore them all.
Public Holidays in Ireland
There are nine public holidays in Ireland each year. Public holidays include:
St Patrick’s Day on 17th March and Christmas Day on 25th December. It’s worth noting that Good Friday, celebrated on 19th April 2019, is not an official public holiday.
While some schools, banks, and businesses will close on that day, you have no automatic entitlement to time off work on that day and you should not presume that your workplace will be closed.
When a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, many people assume that the following Monday is treated as a public holiday. This is not the case in most circumstances.
List of Bank Holidays in Ireland 2019
A Bank Holiday is a day on which the banks will be closed. BUT – all bank holidays are not Public Holidays.
Unless stated – all the dates below are both Public and Bank Holidays in 2019.
- Monday, October 28th, 2019 – October Bank Holiday
- Wednesday 25th December 2019 – Christmas Day
- Thursday 26th December 2019 – St Stephens Day
- Friday 27th December 2019 – (Banks closed – not a Public Holiday)
List of Bank Holidays 2020 in Ireland
- Wednesday, Jan 1st 2020 New Year’s Day
- Tuesday17th March 2020 – St Patricks Day
- Friday 10th April 2020 – Good Friday (Bank Holiday – not a Public Holiday)
- 13th April 2020 – Easter Monday
- May 4th – May Day
- June 1st 2020- June Bank Holiday
- August 3rd 2020 – August Bank Holiday
- October 26th 2020 – October Bank Holiday
- Friday 25th December 2020 – Christmas Day
- Saturday 26th December 2020 – St Stephens Day
- Monday 28th December 2020 – (Banks closed – not a Public Holiday)
- Tuesday 29th December 2020 (Banks closed not a Public Holiday)
School holidays in Ireland are determined by the Department of Education and Skills. The school year is divided into 2 terms. Each school year begins on the first week of September and ends either in early June (post-primary schools) or late June (primary schools) for the summer holidays.
The Education Department issues a circular that consists of the school holiday dates for 3 subsequent school years. These dates are usually agreed upon by the parties to the Teachers’ Conciliation Council. The holiday breaks in Ireland schools include – Christmas, Easter and 2 mid-term breaks in February and October.
In reaching the agreement of the school holiday dates, the parties have factored the timing of bank holidays and Easter public holidays in Ireland; and the flexibility for contingency arrangements for schools. Primary schools may use 3 discretionary days to extend the February holidays to a 5-day break.
Friday 4th Oct – Junior Certificate Results issue
October Mid-Term Break – All schools will close from Monday 28th October 2019 to Friday 1st November 2019 inclusive. Halloween falls on Thursday 31st October.
Mon 4th November – Schools re-open after mid-term
10th – 17th November = Science Week
Final Day of Christmas Term = Friday 20th December 2019
Christmas Holidays – Mon 23rd Dec 2019 to Fri 3rd Jan 202
Monday 6th January – Schools re-open
8th – 11th January = BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition
February Mid-Term Break*
Secondary closed 17th–21st Feb incl.
Primary closed 20th–21st Feb with the option to extend to a 5-day break (17th-21st). *NB changes to these dates may occur as part of contingency arrangements to make up for lost school time.
Tuesday 17th March – Saint Patricks’s Day
Final Day of Term Fri 3rd April
School Closed Mon 6th April to Fri 17th April inclusive, re-opening Mon 20th April
*NB changes to these dates may occur as part of contingency arrangements to make up lost school time, i.e. schools may stay open until Wed 8th April
Monday 4th May = May Bank Holiday
End of May/beginning of June – Secondary schools finish
1st June = Bank Holiday
3rd June – Junior Cert & Leaving Cert exams start
Car insurance and taxes
You should know that car ownership in Ireland is expensive. There are numerous taxes that must be paid and the cost of petrol is very high. In addition, if you live in a busy city area like Dublin, then parking is limited and pricy.
Before you purchase a car it’s better to consider whether you really need one. You may be financially better off using public transport, taxis, city bikes, and the occasional car hire for those times when you want to leave the city.
In Ireland, you need to pay the Vehicle Registration TAX on all new vehicles purchased as well as on vehicles that you import into Ireland. If you purchase the vehicle from a motor dealer in Ireland, then the dealer is obliged to pay the VRT and register the vehicle before handing it over to you.
The motor tax on vehicles registered before July 2008 is determined by the CO2 emissions. For vehicles registered after July 2008, the amount of motor tax that you will need to pay is dependent on the size of your vehicle’s engine.
You can pay your motor tax three, six, or 12 monthly, either online or at a Motor Tax Office. You will receive a motor tax disk to display on the windscreen of your vehicle.
The National Car Test is required for all vehicles 4 years or older, regardless if the vehicle has undergone similar testing in other countries.
If you do not get your vehicle tested as scheduled, you will face fines and penalty points. You will be legally required to have motor vehicle insurance during driving the car. If you fail to do so, you may incur fines and penalty points and could be disqualified from driving.
If you would like to get car insurance you should know that premiums are determined by several factors:
- License type – fully licensed drivers will get a better rate than provisional license holders
- Car type – older vehicles, expensive vehicles, and high-powered vehicles will be more expensive to insure
- How frequently the vehicle is used – the more you use it, the higher the premium
- Where the vehicle is kept – keeping your car in a secure garage will reduce your premium
Cost of living in Ireland
The monthly cost of living in Ireland will very much depend on your personal needs, the lifestyle you choose, and wherein the country you decide to settle in. Accommodation, groceries, utilities, transport, and healthcare are all items that will obviously need to be budgeted for.
Many supermarkets are open 24/7 or have long opening hours like 08:00 am – 10.00 pm every day. Alcohol in Ireland you can buy only between the hours of 10.30 am and 10.00 pm on weekdays and 12.30 pm to 10.00 pm on Sundays or St Patricks Day.
This does not affect supermarket opening hours as they just block access to their alcoholic products outside of the permitted times.
The price of groceries varies widely, depending on which supermarket you choose to do the bulk of your shopping in.
Irish and British grocery stores like Dunnes Stores, Tesco, and Supervalu tend to be a little more costly, however, they do have regular special offers on various items.
Without a doubt, the pub plays a major part in Ireland’s social life. It’s a place to gather over a pint, trade gossip, listen to music, meet up with their local politician and tell tales into the wee hours of the morning.
There’s more to Irish culture than the pubs though, literary legends and unique musical and dancing heritage make Ireland a vibrant European cultural hotspot. The music, the creativity, and the arts here are a magnet for expats from all over the world.
There is obviously more to learn and discover about Ireland, the most important part of your personal experience is to uncover all of these little quirks for yourself and learn as you go!
Just bear this advice in mind and you will avoid any potential pitfalls as you settle in. Are you ready for a new adventure? Maybe it is the right time for your relocation abroad!
With a beautiful green landscape, rich history, friendly people and great beer and food you might be ready to call Ireland your new home.