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Living in Ireland

The Cost of Living in Ireland

While the average cost of living in Ireland is not low, it isn’t as expensive to live here as in other European countries such as the UK or Sweden. Expats relocating to the country should not expect to save a lot of money; with housing in Dublin costing an average of 2,000 EUR (2,300 USD) every month. . Read on the learn more.

Expats arriving in Ireland soon realize it is not the cheapest place to live. Most goods are imported, giving everyday necessities a heavy price tag. Rent prices have also been on the rise for a few years now, especially in Dublin. In fact, according to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2020, Dublin ranks as the 46th most expensive city out of the 209 cities represented in the survey. A family of four would need 6,000 EUR (7,000 USD) a month to live comfortably. Most expats are supported by high paying jobs, so they don’t often need to live paycheck to paycheck.

The average yearly salary in Ireland is around 49,000 EUR (57,000 USD) gross. The most typical salary, however, is 33,000 EUR (38,400 USD) gross per year, which means you would earn around 2,750 EUR (3,200 USD) gross per month. It is not a lot when you consider the Irish housing prices, but it is manageable.

Although everyday life and housing are pricey in Ireland, education and healthcare are not. In fact, public education is free, and healthcare is universal–every resident and non-resident has access to it and only pays minor fees Read on to find out more about the cost of living in Ireland’s most popular cities.

At a Glance

  • Dublin, Cork, and Limerick have the highest rental prices in Ireland. A one-bedroom apartment in Dublin costs around 1,700 EUR (2,000 USD) per month.
  • Ireland is an island nation, which means most goods need to be imported. This makes everyday necessities including groceries quite pricey.
  • Ireland’s healthcare system is universal, meaning everyone can access it. This goes for non-residents as well. It is not entirely free though. Expect to pay minor fees at doctor’s appointments.
  • Public education in Ireland is free and of very high quality. However, parents are expected to pay for school uniforms and materials.

Is it Expensive to Live in Ireland?

Is it expensive to live in Ireland? Yes. With a local salary (33,000-49,000 EUR), however, it is possible to enjoy a comfortable life without living paycheck to paycheck. Many goods need to be imported because Ireland is a small island nation. This ups the price of everyday necessities such as groceries and gas. Occasions such as going out for dinner or driving are consequently more expensive than in some mainland European countries.

Living Expenses in Ireland

Living expenses in Ireland depend on where you reside. As with any country, living in one of Ireland’s cities, such as Dublin, Limerick, or Galway, is more expensive than living in a town. This is mostly due to the cost of accommodation. Expats can cut this cost significantly by living on the outskirts of a city. Even living further away from a public transportation stop will cut housing costs in the Emerald Isle.

The Most Expensive and Cheapest Cities in Ireland

While the quality of life across Ireland is great, a few cities are especially popular among expats. Some are popular simply because they are cities, making it easy to get around, travel in and out of the country, and integrate into a larger international community. These cities are also popular for their vibrant cultural and arts scenes, giving expats a unique and immersive look into Irish culture.

The most popular Irish cities for expats include:

  • Cork
  • Dublin
  • Galway
  • Limerick
  • Waterford

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Monthly Cost of Living in Ireland’s Most Expensive Cities

Dublin and Cork are the most expensive cities in Ireland. Limerick is swiftly raising too.

Below you will find a table with the cost of living excluding rent in Ireland’s most expensive cities:

Cost of Living for a Single Expat

Dublin 900 1,050
Cork 850 1,000
Limerick 800 930

Cost of Living for a Family of Four

Dublin 3,200 3,700
Cork 3,000 3,500
Limerick 2,800 3,300

Monthly Cost of Living in Ireland’s Most Affordable Cities

In comparison, Galway, a city just above Limerick on Ireland’s west coast, provides a more affordable cost of living. However, it will still cost more to live in this city than in the countryside or in a smaller town. Waterford, on Ireland’s eastern coast, is also increasingly popular among the expat community. The number one perk? It is even more affordable than Galway.

The table below shows the cost of living including rent in Ireland’s more affordable cities:

Cost of Living for a Single Expat

Galway 800 930
Waterford 770 900

Cost of Living for a Family of Four

Galway 2,900 5,400
Waterford 2,600 4,400

Rent Prices in Ireland’s Most Popular Cities

Rent prices in Ireland’s most popular cities for expats mirror the cost of living. Dublin, Cork, and Limerick have higher rental prices, while Galway and Waterford cost slightly less.

Keep in mind that the closer you live to public transportation, the more rent you can expect to pay. The outskirts of Dublin are also popular places for expats to live, yet, rental prices are only slightly lower than accommodation found within the city proper.

Take note that while Galway has an overall lower cost of living than Limerick, rental prices are slightly higher.

Monthly Rental Prices for a One-Bedroom Apartment

Dublin 1,700 2,000
Cork 1,100 1,300
Limerick 900 1,100
Galway 1,000 1,100
Waterford 750 800

Monthly Rental Prices for a Three-Bedroom Apartment

Dublin 3,000 3,300
Cork 1,800 1,950
Limerick 1,400 1,500
Galway 1,700 1,800
Waterford 1,200 1,300

Utility Costs: Electricity, Internet, Gas, and Water

While it is possible to rent accommodation in Ireland with utilities included in the price, it is still good to know what utilities cost to ensure you are not paying more than you should. In general, a combination of electric, heating, gas, and water will cost between 100-160 EUR (110-170 USD) per month depending on where you live in the country. For example, expats can expect to pay more for utilities in Dublin than they would for utilities in Galway.

Basic internet around the country costs around 50 EUR (55 USD) per month. For more on the cost of accommodation and utilities in Ireland, see our Housing section.

Grocery Prices

As stated, since Ireland is an island country, goods such as groceries, alcohol, and gas need to be imported. They are therefore more expensive than what you may experience in mainland Europe. The extra expense will not be too great, but it is worth noting so that you aren’t caught off guard at the end of each month and wonder where did my money go?

Below is a look at standard food and alcohol prices in Ireland.

Grocery Item EUR USD
1 kg chicken breast 4.80 5.20
1 dozen eggs 3.00 3.20
1 kg potatoes 1.50 1.60
1 loaf of bread 1.50 1.60
1 L milk 1.15 1.25
1 bottle of beer 3.50 3.80
1 bottle of table wine 14.00 15.00

For expats who smoke, a pack of 20 cigarettes costs nearly 13 EUR (14 USD).

Eating Out and Restaurant Costs in Ireland

Do you eat out often? Or is going to a restaurant more of a special treat? In Ireland, whether you eat out every week or a few times a month will depend on two key factors: Your salary, and the type of restaurant you choose to visit.

For one person, it is possible to find quick, cheap meals at restaurants or cafes for less than 10 EUR (11 USD). The cost of a single coffee is about 1.50 EUR (1.60 USD) and a cappuccino is 3 EUR (3.20 USD). For an inexpensive meal at a cheap restaurant with table service, the cost will be closer to 15 EUR (16 USD). A meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will total about 60 EUR (65 USD).

Cost of Education

Public education in Ireland is free and of very high quality. Parents will only need to pay for uniforms, lunches, and school materials. These costs vary and depend on the school and what you prefer to spend.

Education at a private or international school incurs a tuition fee for both Irish citizens and expats. Annual tuition depends on the school and on your child’s age. On average, parents can expect to spend about 10,000 EUR (11,000 USD) per child, per year. See our Education section for more details.

Healthcare Cost

Ireland’s healthcare is universal but this does not mean it is free for everyone. Even when using the country’s public healthcare system, which is available to both residents and non-residents, you should expect to pay some sort of fee. Healthcare costs are only covered for Medical Card holders. You can read more about this in our Healthcare section.

On average, the standard fee for a visit to the hospital in Ireland will be about 100 EUR (110 USD). A single doctor’s visit will cost around 50 EUR (55 USD). Expats who want to take out private insurance can expect to pay anywhere between 30-150 EUR (33-160 USD) per month, depending on the plan they choose.

Travel and Transportation Cost

Most public transportation networks in Ireland operate through the Leap card, which acts as your ticket across bus and metro lines. The card is purchased once and then recharged for continued use. You can also download the Leap app and use your phone to access buses and trams.

Leap fares vary depending on the city you are in and where you want to go within that city. For example, in Dublin, a single adult bus ticket costs either 1.55 EUR or 2.25 EUR (1.70 or 2.45 USD) depending on which zone of the city you will be traveling. Single fares for trains are within the same ranges and depend on the zones (distances) you are traveling.

Other Irish cities only have bus systems, with single fare tickets costing just under 2 EUR (2.15 USD). A one-day pass is just under 5 EUR (5.40 USD).

Trains and Inter-City Buses

You can travel across Ireland by train and bus. However, not every part of the country is accessible by rail. Trains run through major hubs such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick, etc. The train fare from Dublin to Cork costs around 12 to 20 EUR (14 to 23 USD).

Another option is to travel by the inter-city bus called Éierann. The fare from Dublin to Cork is 16 EUR (19 USD).


Taxis can either be hailed from the street or by standing at a taxi stand (also called a “taxi rank”). Fares usually begin at a base rate of 3.60 EUR (3.90 USD) and then go up 1.10 EUR (1.20 USD) per km. In addition, there are taxi apps such as MyTaxi, which residents can use to book a cab. Ride-hailing apps such as Uber or Lyft are illegal in Ireland.

Updated on: September 29, 2020

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