Moving to Ireland
Until the global financial crisis, Ireland was the unlikely Cinderella success story of Europe. Expats moving to Ireland were attracted by record economic growth, one of the world’s highest standards of living and picturesque scenery.
In the early 2000s Ireland became one of the wealthiest countries in Europe – earning it the affectionate nickname of “Celtic Tiger”. The country was an expat hotspot and a global player punching above its weight.
The economic fairytale proved to be too good to be true. The global recession burst the Irish property bubble, the economic collapse that followed was among the continent’s worst and efforts at recovery were hindered by the Euro Crisis.
Following a bailout, years of austerity and a national recovery plan, there are promising signs that the Irish economy is starting to turn around, with growth rates outpacing expectations – and the rest of Europe. There is, however, some way to go before this is felt on the street. Personal debt levels, unemployment and taxes are still high, but the hope is that Ireland’s winter of austerity has come to an end.
A host of multinational companies that arrived during the boom weathered the recession and stayed in Ireland, bringing with them a sizeable expat population. Many American and British expats headed to Ireland during the peak period of economic growth, and many have remained.
Expats wanting to move to Ireland in the immediate future should be aware that they may have to fight through a competitive market. Furthermore, the cost of living in Ireland remains high. This is especially true in Dublin, where prices are comparable to major cities like New York and London.
Despite the influence the Irish have around the world, people forget the island is home to less than 5 million people – almost half the population of New York City. Cloudy forecasts, economic or otherwise, don’t obscure the attractions of a country that boasts an impressive natural aesthetic and values a relaxed way of life.
Expats moving to Ireland can expect excellent healthcare services and a good education for their children. Public schools in Ireland are free to all residents, including foreign residents, and many expats choose to send their children to public schools rather than expensive private and international schools.
Accordingly, the upsides of living in the country and its strong ties to overseas companies continue to make Ireland a welcome job posting and expat destination.