Moving to Dublin
Relocating can be challenging.
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What to know if you're moving to Dublin
With the Irish economy recovering from the economic crisis and a large number of tech firms calling the city their home, Dublin is a popular destination for expats. Read our guide on moving to Dublin for info on districts, transport, and immigration.
All about Ireland
Relocating to Dublin
- Dublin is a popular expat destination, with many employment options.
- If you are from outside the EEA, you will need to register when you arrive.
- After the economic crisis, regulations were tightened, meaning it may be harder for you to move to Dublin.
Dublin: A Compact Metropolis
It might surprise you that the internationally famed capital of Ireland, Dublin, is actually quite small in size — at least the city proper is. Only about half a million people live within the city limits, while many locals and expats moving to Dublin prefer the city’s peripheral area with its numerous suburbs.
How much of the periphery can actually be viewed as connected to Dublin, thus forming the metropolitan area, is debatable. The two most common concepts include Dublin County plus the three counties surrounding it (South Dublin, Rathdown, Fingal), or even the three counties encompassing the capital (Meath, Kildare, Wicklow). However, after moving to Dublin, you will soon find everyone has a different opinion!
Dublin’s periphery was highly popular before the economic crisis of 2008/2009, with annual population growth rates in the double digits. Today, this development has obviously slowed down, but moving to Dublin and its metropolitan area is still a popular option. Whether you prefer moving to the city or its surroundings is a decision most of you will obviously base on your place of work and the daily commute. For information on transport in Dublin, please see our article on living in Dublin.
The North-South Rivalry
Traditionally, the city has been informally divided into two clear and distinct areas to the north and south of the River Liffey, respectively. Aptly, they were dubbed Northside and Southside.
This division has long been a social and economic one: the upper and middle classes tended to live in Dublin’s Southside, while the working class was located primarily in the north. The difference is less pronounced these days, although you will be confronted with various stereotypes about the “other side”. Of course, what the “other side” means depends on where your relocation to Dublin takes you.
Few things in Dublin tend to be strictly black or white, and this informal division is no exception. Many affluent citizens have made new homes in Dublin’s Northside, and not every part of the Southside is as posh and bourgeois as some “northerners” would like you to believe.
Don’t take the rivalry between the two sides of the city too seriously when contemplating where to live in Dublin. There are other factors that should be of far greater importance: proximity to amenities such as schools, public transportation, and healthcare facilities, for example.
A Popular Choice: Dublin’s Suburbs
Anyone interested in moving to Dublin but tired of urban life should look into moving to one of the many suburbs. The Greater Dublin area, referring to the larger version mentioned above, is home to about three times as many people as the city proper.
The number of people and businesses in Dublin’s periphery has always been rather large, despite the underinvestment and shoddily planned infrastructure in Dublin County in the years before the economic growth phase (i.e. prior to the early 1990s). Today, Greater Dublin accounts for a large percentage of the nation’s jobs. If you move to Dublin’s hinterland, you will find it less hectic than the big city, but with all the amenities of a modern metropolis.
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Dublin: Transportation and Relocation
Since Dublin is a coastal city in an island nation, it can be reached via sea. But obviously you will not plan your move to Dublin by way of cruise ship (although that might be quite a festive start to your new expat life). As with every other modern metropolis today, the prime choice for expats and visitors from around the world is air travel.
If you have already read our other articles on the city, you will have noticed the importance of Dublin for Ireland. It will thus not come as a surprise to learn that Dublin Airport is the busiest airport on the island, with 25 million passengers served in 2015. Indeed, both Aer Lingus and Ryanair are based at the airport, while there are three other Irish airlines based in or close to Dublin.
Ever Growing: Dublin Airport
The airport is located north of Dublin proper. It is served by numerous bus and coach services, linking the airport to Dublin and its suburbs, as well as the remainder of Ireland. In 2015, the government announced plans to build a North Line metro, which will service Dublin airport. The metro will not be in service for at least a decade, however, as construction won’t begin until 2021. Please see our article on living in Dublin for further details on public transportation.
Speaking of planning, construction in the airport has been ongoing, on one part or another, for going on 20 years now. The newest addition will be the second runway with construction scheduled to begin in 2017. The project was previously put on hold due to the economic crisis but now — thanks to record passenger numbers and a tendency towards congestion at peak hours — the plans have been re-announced.
Dozens of flights to all six London airports are offered daily, as are connections to all major European airports. There are also regular long-haul flights, especially to the USA. And although the non-EU destination choice is overall more limited, new connections are often added, so it may be possible that your home destination is added in the future if it is not already directly serviced via Dublin airport.
Assistance with Relocation Issues
Obviously everyone will react in different ways to the challenges of expat life and relocating to an area they often barely know. There are now many companies available who help expats move to their new destination as smoothly as possible. If you are interested in assistance, those companies might be a valuable source of help. Your employer might even bear part or all of the expenses, so you should make sure to address this in time!
Immigration Information for Dublin
Expats interested in living and working in Dublin should keep in mind that visa and immigration legislation is highly interconnected with employment legislation. The current regulations do not allow for residency in Ireland without an employment permit, at least for people who are permanent residents of a country outside the EEA or Switzerland.
Moving from within the EEA
The EEA encompasses the EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and (for this purpose) Switzerland. If you are from one of these countries, you enjoy absolute freedom of movement and can start your new life without any restrictions. You do not even have to register with the authorities. You are also allowed to bring your family and dependents with you, given that you can financially provide for them.
Your only obligation is to find employment within three months of your arrival or to provide evidence of sufficient funds for a prolonged stay in Ireland without being a burden to its social welfare system. However, we would assume that no future expat would want to waste much time before getting to work anyway. Our article on working in Dublin lists a number of ways to secure employment in a timely fashion.
Moving from outside the EEA
If you are not from within the EEA or Switzerland, chances are that you might find the road towards moving to and working in Ireland quite laborious. You will not be able to enter Ireland for residency purposes without first acquiring an employment permit.
The employment permit is prerequisite for the residency stamp that authorizes you to stay in Ireland for more than a visit. Failure to acquire that stamp will unfortunately result in your having to leave the country. Our articles on moving to Ireland and working in Dublin offer further detailed information on this matter, which is not exactly a simple issue.
Final Steps to Get Settled
If you have successfully secured employment in Dublin and handled all the necessary paperwork, there are still some steps you need to take care of after your move to Dublin. Non-EEA residents have to register with the local authorities at their local Garda District Headquarters. This process is absolutely vital as it provides you with your desired residency stamp. Expats with work permits get stamp number 1.
Depending on your situation and employment permit, your family may be able to join you in Dublin immediately or they may have to stay behind for a longer period of time. If you have a General Employment Permit, your family will be allowed to join you in Dublin after you have lived and worked there for one year, as long as you can prove that you have enough money to support them.