If you have any hobbies outside of work (and we hope you do!), your new life in Dublin will rarely be dull, no matter where your interests lie. Ireland’s capital has long been a haven for both high-brow culture and subculture alike, making for a rich, multi-faceted experience. Taking a look into the city’s event calendars can boggle the mind. You will have to choose your cultural activities wisely so as not to exhaust yourself too much. After all, you are going to be an expat, not a tourist!
It has been previously mentioned in our moving to Ireland guide that the country enjoys a rich past, defined by continuity and rupture. Although one can see some of the greatest burial monuments the world has to offer throughout the country, nowhere is Ireland’s volatile history, from the ancient age to the modern, more evident than in the country’s capital, Dublin. The city proper was founded by the Vikings in 841 and it was the development of their communities that would eventually provide the layout of what Dublin was to become. However, a variety of communities enjoyed a life in Dublin before and after the Viking settlement, and excavation works across the city have revealed a wealthy assortment of artifacts collected in, among others, the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
Stretching beyond the time of the Vikings, Dublin would remain a pivotal foothold, and the seat of power, of British colonialism in Ireland until its eventual surrender in 1922. Throughout the ages, those living in Dublin have seen some of the greatest examples of Ireland’s revolutionary spirit, from the rise of socialism and trade unionism to the 1916 Easter Rising. The latter was a rebellion by the Irish Republican Army, focused mainly in Dublin, which attempted to take advantage of Britain’s preoccupation with the First World War. Taking strategic buildings throughout the city, the rebellion was doomed to failure. However, the result would eventually lead to the guerilla style War of Independence (1919–1921) and the formation of the Republic. When living in Dublin, keep an eye out and you can see the bullet holes in the buildings occupied by the 1916 rebels. Dublin is now home to Áras an Uachtaráin (the residence of the President), as well as Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann (which together form the Irish parliament and legislature).
With such a history, it is no surprise that the city is the cultural epicenter of Irish life. When living in Dublin you will be able to explore a wide variety of museums as well as enjoy daily concerts featuring contemporary, traditional, and classical music alike. You’ll have the opportunity to see enough theater performances, exhibitions, and other cultural events to satisfy any aficionado of the fine arts. Bookworms will be delighted exploring the settings of all the great works detailing life in Dublin, such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Sean O'Casey’s Juno and the Paycock.
If going out is more up your alley, you are in more than capable hands in the city’s thriving bar and club scene — the entertainment district Temple Bar is often synonymous with the party life in Dublin. In terms of nightlife and subculture, the city leaves little to be desired. One reason for this is probably due to the fact that Dublin’s population in general is fairly young. Moreover, you will find Trinity College at the heart of the city, with other universities in the vicinity, makes Dublin a prime destination for students.
Dublin has long been somewhat infamous throughout Ireland and Europe for its high living expenses. The cost of living has fallen since the economic crisis though. Dublin used to be in the top ten of the Mercer Cost of Living Survey, but in 2016 it was ranked 47 out of 209 cities. This has gone up from recent years, perhaps signaling a slow return to the past higher costs, but it does still represent somewhat improved cost of living.
Given the rules regarding salaries for expats coming to Ireland from outside the EU, which you can read more about in our moving to Ireland guide, the cost of living may not be too much of a worry. But you will likely notice that the prices are high, especially if you come from within the EU. Groceries, for example, are more expensive than standard European prices. Apartments are also quite costly: a one bedroom apartment in the city center will likely cost you about 1,200 EUR per month, for instance.
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