14 Pros & Cons of Living in Ireland in 2024 by a Local (for Digital Nomads)

Ireland is the best place to live in Europe. I’m not making that up just because I’m Irish! That statement is based on recent research that ranked Ireland at the top of a quality of life index comparing European countries.

Digital nomads (people who can work remotely from wherever they like) are drawn to ‘best places to live’ lists, at least I am! And Ireland has many ‘pros’: the famous Irish welcome, low unemployment rates and a busy social life.

But if you’re planning to work remotely in Ireland, get up to date with the ‘cons’. The Romans called Ireland ‘Hibernia’ or ‘the land of winter’. Plus in 2024 some prices have really soared.

You’re in the right place for an honest evaluation of life as a digital nomad in Ireland.

I’m Irish, travel full-time and return regularly to Ireland as a Digital Nomad. I’ve worked remotely from an overpriced flat in Dublin, a monastery in County Limerick, and a farm in County Armagh.

Be warned: this is not an “everything is great” blog post. Let’s get started with my insider’s list of the pros and cons of living in Ireland.

Note: I write a LOT about Ireland on my other blog, Planet Patrick. Some of the advice on this page has hyperlinks to articles that on Planet Patrick that I think are of help.

An open gate leading to a narrow paved road on the Aran Islands

Pros & Cons of Living in Ireland as a Digital Nomad

Pro: English is spoken everywhere

Ireland has two national languages: Irish and English. English is the dominant language for a whole range of historical reasons.

If you speak English, you won’t have any issues when you come to Ireland. Now, how do I say this next thing without being dragged by my fellow citizens? Sometimes we speak quickly and some accents are more musical than others, so don’t be shy if you didn’t catch something the first time. Just ask us to repeat it. You’ll learn to love the musicality.

Since Brexit, Ireland is the principal English-speaking country within the European Union. Good for digital nomads, as some EU-based companies will hire English speakers based in Ireland.

Con: High cost of living

The cost of living in Ireland has gone through the roof, or at least it feels like that. For lots of Irish people, this is their #1 concern, understandably.

Before you book your trip, work out your costs. Digital Nomads will need to stretch out their budget for accommodation and eating out compared to other destinations. Saying that, places like London and Paris are in a similar category.

If you plan and budget, it’s still possible to have a decent lifestyle in Ireland, particularly if you’re doing some work for Irish clients used to paying higher prices for your services.

A very high-level rule of thumb – expect a meal out to cost 25-50 and to spend 2-300 per month on groceries.

Pro: The Irish Tech Scene

Dublin and Cork are hotspots for tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and more. Plus Dublin is home to a healthy amount of startups, meaning a decently sized tech scene.

For digital nomads working in tech or tech services, that presents good networking opportunities, particularly through local Facebook groups and coworking spaces.

On the other hand, there isn’t the sense of digital nomad community that you get in somewhere like Lisbon or Valetta. People are spread out in Dublin.

Con: Finding Accommodation

Ireland has had a housing crisis for ages: this has been a long property boom period.

Let’s not sugarcoat it, finding accommodation is hard, particularly in Dublin. Read this article to understand why it’s so expensive.

There’s competition for rentals and most lettings have a minimum lease of 12 months. If you’re trying Dublin out, or spending just a few weeks, use VRBO or Airbnb.

Be flexible and look at places reachable by public transport outside the city to keep prices down. If you get settled for a while and meet people, you never know where you’ll hear about a short-term sub-let that’s off-market.

Most people who share a 2 bedroom flat can expect to pay €1000 or more for a room in a Dublin city apartment. If you want that flat for yourself, expect to pay €2-2500.

An Irish castle called Dunguaire is shown in the background of Galway Bay

Pro: People in Ireland are warm and sociable

It feels weird to write about “the Irish people” as an Irish person, but being away for so long makes me notice the hospitality and openness of Irish people.

When you meet nice people, it makes life as a digital nomad a bit easier.

There’s a huge number of people from all over the world living in Ireland, many of whom might want to make new friends too.

Yes, you can strike up a conversation with someone in a pub or club, but also join the gym, a class or go to an arts event to get talking to people.

Con: The Irish Weather & Seasons

If you’re looking for perpetual summer weather, Ireland is not your next digital nomad hub.

Apparently, Ireland has a “temperate maritime climate” influenced by the Atlantic.

I say Ireland is green due to so much rainfall!! Be prepared for damp and use light layers to keep warm when you’re in town or out exploring! You might like to read this article about a packing list for Ireland which should be very helpful!

During the summer, daylight can last well into the evening and it can get warm.

However, in the winter months, Ireland gets shorter daylight hours and – for some people – that can be a downer.

If you’re light sensitive, consider coming to Ireland in from May onwards for a summer stay.

What to wear & carry in Ireland:

Pro: Geographical Location on the edge of Europe

Ireland is perfectly positioned on the edge of Europe and is *almost* the closest European stop-off for people from the USA and Canada (darn you, Iceland!).

If you choose Ireland as your base, you’ll have a long list of low-cost destinations to reach for long weekends right across Europe.

Imagine jumping to Paris, Madrid or Berlin for the weekend, taking a roadtrip in Ireland to Galway, Cork or Belfast, or getting a bit of heat in Rome or Malta. All easily doable from Dublin.

With short flights or ferry rides to destinations like the UK, France, and Spain, you can easily incorporate European travel into your Irish adventure (compare prices using Skyscanner).

View of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Con: Public Transportation Problems

Ireland’s public transport is *okay* in certain respects. Yes, there’s a light rail in Dublin called the Luas and commuter train called the Dart, as well as a national train network and a bus network.

However, Ireland lacks a metro or train from Dublin Airport (it’s been coming for a long time), connections between some trains and buses are off kilter and the timetables might not work for you.

If you choose to rent rurally, you need a car. If you’re in the suburbs, you might be able to use a bike, particularly as some new bike paths have been introduced. Check what’s safe in your area.

Pro: The Irish landscape & nature

Ireland is renowned for breathtaking views. My favourites includes the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant’s Causeway and touring Donegal.

It’s worth taking separate weekends to visit the West, Donegal, and Northern Ireland. You’ll find no shortage of places to go hiking, or chill out near some wildly dramatic coastline.

If you prefer someone else to do the organising, take one of the most popular day trips from Dublin.

Con: Losing your work/life balance

Digital nomads are at risk of losing a sense of work-life balance which can lead to “nomad burnout“.

Let’s be honest, if you visit Ireland, the pub culture and emphasis on social outings are part of the work lifestyle.

If you’re networking or at a coworking place, it can be easy to blur the lines between work and leisure. Enjoy your friendships, but have a boundary around alcohol or late nights that help you to avoid burnout.

Pro: Irish Culture

One thing we’re very proud of in Ireland is our rich culture.

You can dive in too. You’ll find art exhibitions in Galway and Dublin, contemporary and Irish dance at multiple venues, and great Irish traditional music sessions in warm wee pubs in every county.

If you’re a nomad, getting away from the computer screen and into a cultural scene will improve your experience of Ireland.

A single sheep in front of a broken gate in Keel on Achill Island

Con: Rural Internet Speeds

There’s pretty strong internet connectivity in most urban areas, but some rural communities lack hyper speeds.

Speeds are really improving (the monastery I stay at in County Limerick has >300 mbps), but there can be inconsistency.

Before you set up a remote workspace in the countryside, find out about local internet speeds so you don’t quickly regret your rural choices 🙂

Pro: Ireland is pretty safe

Ireland has crime, like most anywhere in the world, but people here enjoy a much higher level of safety than many other countries, including the United States.

According to the Global Peace Index, Ireland is the third safest country in the world.

Global Peace Index, 2023 Report

That doesn’t mean NO crime – there’s a certain amount of petty theft, bag snatching, drunken violence, and you should always avoid demonstrations.

If you travel alone, read my advice for solo travelers, and you might want to be prepared with these travel safety essentials.

Pro: International community

Ireland draws visitors and workers from around the world.

As a digital nomad, you’ll get to meet (and maybe work with) people from other backgrounds that complement yours.

Getting out and about at local events, socially or at networking evenings will widen your access to other international visitors. I’ll call out some good coworking spaces in the next section.

Slieve League

Visa Requirements for Digital Nomads

Ireland does not have a Digital Nomad Visa. So, let’s go over the rules and opportunities for you if you’re considering working in Ireland.

It’s easier for citizens of some countries than others to come to Ireland. Please note that nothing in this post constitutes legal or other advice. Use it as a prompt to get in touch with your own immigration service provider like a lawyer, if you need one.

Citizens of the EEA, UK and Switzerland

Due to the EU’s freedom of movement rules, and the Common Travel Area arrangements between Ireland and the UK, EU and British citizens are able to come to Ireland to live and work.

(EEA = member countries of the EU plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. Also Ukrainian citizens do not require a visa).

Other Citizens

Citizens of some other countries can enter Ireland without requiring a special visa. Read this list from Citizens Information.

Non-EU citizens will encounter some visa restrictions that make working in Ireland as a digital nomad more difficult. Bear in mind that going through a visa process can take a long time, requires planning and documentation and might not be worth the effort for a short stay.

Let’s look at some common routes of entry to Ireland:

Short Stay C Tourist Visa

This applies if you are NOT from a visa-exempt country. If you’re intending to simply visit Ireland, you can apply for a regular tourism visa. This visa allows visits of up to 90 days for citizens of certain countries, mainly for tourism or visiting friends and family.

Some other websites claim that with this visa, you can work remotely for a non-Irish employer. Because the Irish Immigration website does not specifically mention digital nomads, there’s a bit of confusion. If you’re from a visa-required country, use this Work Pathway Guide to help you find the right visa.

Research this wisely and proceed at your own risk.

You will need proof of sufficient funds to get this visa.

The short stay visa costs €60 for a single entry visa, or €100 for a multi-entry visa. A standard application takes 6-10 weeks. Each person must apply separately (no family dependents).

Find out more details directly from Irish Immigration. Search for the Type D visa if you want a more long-term arrangement.

Startup Entrepreneur Visa

This visa is intended for people who want to stay long-term and have an idea to start up a new business.

There is an onerous set of requirements for this one, including a business plan, job creation and heavy revenue targets.

The application fee is €350 and can take 12-16 weeks for a response.

Where are the best cities for digital nomads in Ireland?

  • Dublin – I’d expect most Digital Nomads to pick Dublin as their hub, at least on their first stay in Ireland. It’s where the most tech companies are based, most co-working spaces and the social life is busiest. Look out for coworking at Huckletree Dublin or the Tara Building.
  • Cork – smaller cities rock and there’s a bit of a tech scene in Ireland’s second city. It’s slightly less expensive to stay in Cork, and somewhat less ‘uptight’ than Dublin. Coworking spaces are located at Culture City and the Republic of Work.
  • Belfast – maybe not on your initial list, but Belfast is a cool city with cheaper accommodation and a lower cost of living than Dublin. Go North if you’re concentrating on getting work done – there’s still a good nightlife and decent infrastructure, just quieter than Dublin. Look at Hubflow or LoftSpace for coworking.
  • Galway – the arts and music centre of Ireland, Galway is smaller but extremely friendly with a strong sense of community and awareness of our impact on the Earth. Coworking is available at PorterShed.
  • Countryside – I work remotely (remotely) a lot. While there’s gaps, the internet infrastructure in Ireland has really improved in recent years. You might find a good rental deal, but know you’ll need a car for almost all locations.

Things to Do in Ireland

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you meet locals?

As a wise man once said, you won’t meet anyone if you stay chained to your desk. Irish people are friendly, but you’ll need to get out and about. That could be at a pub or a gig, but if you don’t drink, visit Board Dublin. You could get involved in a club or sport or make a point of visiting an art gallery or museum every weekend and being friendly.

What’s the best time to live in Ireland as a Digital Nomad?

Let me give you the short answer: from May to September. These are the nicest months with the best weather. It might still rain, it can get busy with tourists and English-language students, but it’s the nicest time to visit and do some work.

Can I find digital nomad jobs in Ireland?

If you’re not already in Ireland or have the right to live and work in Ireland, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find digital nomad jobs with Irish companies.

Conclusion

At the start, I promised you an honest appraisal of being a digital nomad in my home country of Ireland. On the pro side is Irish culture, the chance to hike some stunning landscapes and good networking opportunities if you’re in tech. On the con side is the weather, the accommodation crisis and cost of living.

Most digital nomads like me want a balance of weather, chance for community, good internet speeds and decent prices.

My advice: come to Ireland for up to one month in shoulder season (May or September). That will tell you if you’re willing to pay for it long term. I think the accommodation crisis and cost of living will rule Ireland out if you’re concerned about value and budget.

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