It’s been a very long time since I’ve written for go4travelblog, purely because I have been so genuinely busy. However, since moving to the lovely Irish capital that is Dublin, I seem to have found my passion for travel writing once again. After all, why waste the opportunity when you live in such an awesome part of the world? I have literally gone from living in a ‘dead-end’ and frankly boring as hell northern English town, to a vibrant European capital, where there’s lots to do and so much to see. Truth be told, I feel very lucky indeed.
I did have the amazing opportunity of living in the Algarve region of Portugal from the age of 17 to 19, but the time eventually came to move back to England. Shortly afterwards, in May, I met my boyfriend (now fiancé!) when I travelled to the Sao Paulo area of Brazil. Two months after my visit, he came over to the UK for what should have been a 5-week visit (see my ‘Brazilian’s Perspective of the UK’ article) and winded up staying until February of this year, when we moved to Dublin. So, as you guys can probably tell, it’s been a very hectic year indeed! But a great one, too.
Although this is primarily a travel blog, I’m sure there are many of you who, like me, can’t resist hopping around the world and living somewhere for a while. So, if any of you are considering packing up ship and moving over to Dublin, then I’m about to give you the lowdown on how it all works.
Tips for Moving to Dublin
Of course, I’m no expert on Visas and legal documents for Ireland, so I’m going to keep this section short and sweet. (I say that, but I do have a habit of droning on and on. Sorry about that.) Those from the European Union are free to move across the continent and work wherever they like, as long as they have a valid passport and/or residence card issued by their home country. My British passport means that I am allowed to live and work in Dublin, for as many hours as I like.
On the other hand, the majority of non-Europeans living in Dublin are doing so on a Student ‘Stamp 2’ Visa (I don’t know much about this, but I know it’s very common, so it’s worth doing separate research on this. As I say, I am no legal expert, and do not want to take the responsibility of giving advice that may potentially be wrong.) The non-Europeans who are living and working here without studying will most likely be doing so on a ‘Stamp 4’ Visa, which means they are the legal spouse of a European citizen, therefore they can reside freely here with their EU spouse.
One of the first things that European AND non-Europeans have to do when they arrive in Ireland is to obtain PPS numbers, also known as Social Security or National Insurance numbers. There are PPS offices in most major towns and cities, and you need to go there and simply state the reason for needing a PPS number and card. Without a PPS number, you cannot find employment, so I used this as my reason. About a week later, I had my card and number in hand. Voilà!
Although everyone’s experiences are different, our first week in Dublin was spent going to endless apartment viewings, and staying in a hotel in Dublin until we found something. Even though the search took longer than we originally anticipated, we were only in the hotel for just under a week. It’s safe to say it could’ve been a lot worse! Despite this, we were pretty desperate when we found the apartment we’re living in now, since the majority of landlords request work references from Dublin, which we didn’t have. So, after a stressful and panicky few days wandering around a strange new city, we managed to arrange a viewing of an apartment right in the heart of the Temple Bar area, and were chosen as tenants the very same night. Panic = over!
However, for those of you who are seriously considering making the move to Dublin, I feel it would be unwise not to warn you guys about the apartment situation here.
- renting in Dublin is extortionately expensive.
- for what you pay, the apartments are not really that nice at all.
- if you’re looking for a half-decent apartment that gives you good value for money (in Ireland!), then look outside of Dublin.
For example, we pay 1,200 EUR a month for a one-bedroom apartment with a toilet that doesn’t flush properly. The kitchen and bathroom are minuscule, and the floors are in desperate need of an update. On the other hand, it’s in the heart of Dublin’s city centre and I pay absolutely zero on public transport costs. Plus, the living room and bedroom are pretty spacious, and we’ve not had to pay out anything for new furniture, since everything was included when we moved in. Although the place has its good points as well as its bad, I can honestly say that it’s been pretty difficult to pay the rent every month, since it’s so expensive and way over our budget. Browsing on websites like rent.ie and daft.ie only proves to me that I can live in a much nicer apartment for half the price, if I just made the decision to leave Dublin and live somewhere else in Ireland.
So, to sum this section up, I’m going to leave two pieces of advice here: bear in mind that if you want to live in a modern, spacious and newly refurbished apartment (the kind I was imagining myself living in – hmph), you’ll need at least 1,400 EUR to set aside each month. Or, if you’re on the totally opposite end of the spectrum and want to keep rental costs as low as possible, look into house sharing with other people. This is what the majority of immigrants in Dublin do, and I don’t blame them at all.
Once you’re all set with an address, your PPS numbers, and your legal documentation (remember you don’t need any if you’re from the European Union), it’ll be time to find employment. My first mornings in the apartment consisted of waking up early and sitting for hour after hour in front of the laptop screen, applying for jobs on websites like indeed.ie and jobs.ie. I edited my CV according to each industry I was applying for, and wrote cover letter after cover letter. I must have sent around 100 job applications (or maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit).
Eventually I did have a couple of interviews, both of which seemed very promising at the time, but didn’t quite go to plan. So, I switched things up and handed out my CV at local shops, cafés and restaurants instead. 75% of the businesses in Temple Bar and other major Dublin areas have permanent signs in the windows stating that they’re desperate for staff, so I figured that, by this point, it was probably my best bet, rather than waiting around for weeks on end to hear anything about a remotely ‘professional’ job.
It turns out I was right, because the next day I got a call inviting me for an interview. I got the job, and started the following Monday. I’ve been working 5 days a week at a very popular Dublin cake shop since March now, and although it’s probably one of the most fast-paced jobs I’ve been in (and trust me – I’ve done it all), I definitely enjoy the challenge. The great thing about working in Dublin is that, even for casual jobs, the pay is pretty good, and tips are a bonus. After all, the wages in Dublin have to match up to the extortionate rental costs.
So, if you’re thinking of moving to Dublin to work, please bear in mind that there’s a small chance you’ll end up having no other choice but to take a temporary job in a bar/shop/café/restaurant until you find what you’re really looking for. Of course, there are careers in the city, but it can take time to secure an interview. Just don’t give up trying, and send your CV to every job advertisement you like the look of on websites like irishjobs.ie, jobs.ie and the thousand of others that will pop up on Google when you type ‘jobs in Dublin’. Good luck, and believe in yourself.
Documents – Check, Apartment – Check, Job – Check… Now What?
There’s no denying that Dublin is an incredibly fun place to live. Voted the world’s 34th most attractive city to live in, the city is jam-packed with fun things to do and amazing sights to see in Dublin. With interesting museums, historical monuments, award-winning restaurants, a never-ending shopping district, and nightlife that beats any other in the world, it’s safe to say that once you’re living in Dublin, it will be hard for you to leave.
You lovely folks will just have to look out for my next article, which will feature a list of all the best things to see and do in Dublin. From personal experience, of course.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to contact me for any further enquiries about my writing or other tips for moving to Dublin.