My Life in Ireland - What I like and dislike/ By Sixtina
Cows, beers, pubs…sounds a lot like Ireland. It has been 4 years since I moved. 4 years that I'm enjoying my life in Ireland as an expat.
Chances are that, if you are reading this post, it has crossed your mind to move to Ireland or you might already be in the process of moving. In this case, feel free to download the ultimate Expat Guide of moving abroad to Ireland.
Things I like about life in Ireland
Let me tell you some things I really like about my Life in Ireland and might make you want to move here as well.
PUB CULTURE - No matter what day of the week it is, you will always find people out, enjoying some pints, dancing to live music, or singing out loud. Going to an Irish pub abroad will not give you the same experience at all, I tried it, and it's incomparable.
Mentioning the fun pub culture, I’d like to also mention the large variety of beer flavors. My favorite one is Chieftain, a Pale Ale since I am not a stout fan. For all non-beer fans, they also offer lots of Ciders. In that case, I'll recommend the Orchard Thieves cider.
LIFE QUALITY - I am super satisfied with the quality of life I have here in Ireland. I have a modern apartment, great job, and international friends. The income, tax system and personal benefits are all in my favor, thanks to working in a big company.
Let me give you one example about the main difference of the tax system compared to other countries I lived in. In Germany for example, let’s say you earn 50k, you fall into a certain tax class and they will apply the percentage (let’s say 40%) on the full amount of the salary (50k). In Ireland though, they will apply it gradually. That means, if you earn 50k, they will apply (let’s say 20% for lower tax class) up to 35k that you earned and then 40% (higher tax class) on the difference, so 15k. That’s why in the end I would have less money in Germany than in Ireland, even though I earn the same. Makes a very big difference.
At this stage, I won’t get the same quality of life in my homeland.
COUNTRY OF DISCOVERY - Ireland certainly is a country of discovery, especially when it comes to nature. You can find the most beautiful landscapes, including cliffs, waterfalls, national parks, rivers, mountains and much more. Simply rent a car and drive wherever, even if you don’t have an exact goal. Further down I share with you my favorite Ireland trips.
THE IRISH PEOPLE - From all places I have lived, I can certainly say that the Irish are super friendly and helpful. I felt welcome the day I moved here, and it was super easy to contact them. Once, I was lost in the city, staring at my phone and trying to figure out which way to go. A random person approached me and asked If I need help. I was pleasantly surprised. Usually, I only know it the other way around when I have to go and ask for help.
Things I dislike about life in Ireland
Every great place also has some disadvantages, so let me tell you about some points I dislike about life in Ireland.
RAIN - Rumors are true! it's raining here more than in other places probably. However, after 4 years I don’t mind the rain too much anymore, only if it comes with heavy wind. What Ireland taught me is that rain is not an excuse to stay in the house, and you only need to wear the right clothes, which means Wellies and proper rain jacket.
MOLD HOUSES - In the beginning, I had a hard time finding a nice apartment as many houses here were really old and not well isolated, also bathrooms often don’t have a window but only a ventilator and windows are often not leak-proof. Therefore, the mold is your frequent visitor. After moving 4 times, I am finally settled in a beautiful modern apartment. ⠀
NO GOOD AIRPORT CONNECTION HOME - When you are an expat you also want to fly home and visit your family frequently. This gets hard though if you don’t have a great airport with connection flights, in my case to Germany. From Cork, I am probably faster in the USA than in Germany. How weird! I always have to go to Dublin first which takes time, but okay now I got used to it.
ISLAND LIFE - As great as it is to live on an island and be isolated at times, it also brings some disadvantages, such as being spontaneous. I was used to just jump in the car and drive to another country for a birthday, wedding, party or simple get together with friends when I lived in the mainland. Nowadays I need to plan at least 2 months ahead as I need to fly and booking flights one week upfront can be expensive, plus bad flight connections don’t really help in being efficient when you have a short holiday.
My favorite trips in Ireland
Ireland is so rich in different landscapes with national parks but also history. Let me tell you about my favorite trips around Ireland:
OLD HEAD KINSALE
One of my favorite day trips from Cork, where I brought lots of my visitors, is the Old Head in Kinsale. For those who do not want to drive to the Cliffs of Moher, this is the perfect hidden gems down south. You will see mini-cliffs which are located about 10km away from the city center of Kinsale. Once you have visited the cliffs you can finish your visit with a great meal in Lemon Leaf, the best restaurant in town.
RING OF KERRY
Ring of Kerry is a circle shaped road, about 180km long. The best way, in my opinion, is to rent a car and drive it yourself. you can choose, whether doing it fast- a one day drive or you can stretch it to multiple days and sleep in hotels, B&B or AirBnBs along the way. Another option is to book a day trip with a bus which will make random stops along the road.
On the Ring of Kerry you will have plenty of opportunities to see amazing landscapes including waterfalls, valleys, beaches, mountains and much more. My favorite stop is at the Ladies View.
NORTH OF IRELAND - Giants Causeway and Belfast
Since I live in the South of Ireland it was about time to explore the North of Ireland as well. For the ones who don’t know, North of Ireland actually belongs to the UK, not Ireland. Therefore, you will have to pay in British Pounds, not Euros there. I can recommend two places to visit there: The Giants Causeway and Belfast.
In Belfast you should make a Black Cab Tour where a local taxi driver will tell you all about the troubles of North Ireland and Belfast. He will bring you to the different neighborhoods (Protestant and Catholic), Freedoms Wall, memorials and many more places.