Moving to Ireland from America can seem like a daunting task, but it's easier than you might think. In fact, your biggest challenge will be getting there. After that, it should be smooth sailing, and you'll be free to enjoy the many wonders this island has to offer.
There are many reasons to move to Ireland and very few not to. If you've always wanted to live in a quiet, peaceful country that hasn't lost most of its scenery to urbanization, Ireland has you covered.
However, if it's a city with business opportunities you're after, they have those too.
Ireland is well known for being one of the most beautiful places in the world. There's a reason they call it the Emerald Isle; The island is filled with staggeringly green landscapes, complete with rolling hills, misty mountain ranges, and breathtaking coastlines.
You might expect a country that exists entirely on an island to be heavily urbanized and crowded. However, the population density is only about 70 people per square kilometer. That's considerably less dense than the majority of the United States.
Just take a look at Google Earth, and you'll see that farmland blankets most of Ireland.
Even in its cities, Ireland has a distinctly small-town feel and an amiable culture. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. Ireland is that place.
History and culture fill Ireland to the brim. It also has a strong, growing economy.
Moving to Ireland from America: What You Need
If you are a U.S. citizen of non-Irish descent who wishes to stay in Ireland for an extended period, you must apply for a long-term visa. Unless you are moving to Ireland to retire or you have another dependable source of income, you'll also need a worker's permit.
These things are expensive, which brings us to our next point: Moving to Ireland from America takes money.
Plane tickets alone will likely cost you over $1,000 per person, and that's without shipping all of your belongings across the Atlantic.
Fortunately, you shouldn't have to worry about paying your last month's rent upfront in Ireland. However, utilities are usually your responsibility.
Keep in mind that Northern Ireland is actually part of the U.K., whereas the rest of the island is the Republic of Ireland.
The most significant difference you'll notice between the Republic and the Northern Ireland territory is the demographics. There will be more people from England, Scotland, and Wales in the north.
If you are of Irish descent, you may qualify to become an Irish citizen in either country by naturalization. If you're of United Kingdom's descent, you can do the same but only for Northern Ireland.
In either case, the restrictions for naturalization are pretty tight.
Moving to Ireland from America: Cities of Ireland
There are many beautiful cities and small towns in Ireland. You can't go wrong.
However, we've chosen to focus on three of the most popular. We decided to focus on the Republic of Ireland because it's the most "Irish."
Located on the east coast, Dublin is the Republic of Ireland's capital, and over 25 percent of people in Ireland live here. So if it's the city life you're looking for, this is your best bet. Part of why it's so much denser than the rest of the country is because it's across the water from the U.K.
The Dublin trail runs through the heart of the city, connecting it's most historical pieces of architecture. Tourism in the Republic is a five billion euro industry, and a massive chunk of tourists stay in this city.
A day trip to the beach, lake, or mountains is easy from Dublin, and the nightlife is more than enough to keep you entertained. As the world's leading Guinness manufacturer, this city is home to nature and beer lovers alike. The food is also quite tasty.
Dublin is probably the most expensive city in Ireland. For reference, renting a 3-bedroom house in the heart of Dublin would cost you around 2,100 to 2,500 euros -- roughly $2,350 to $2,800 U.S. dollars.
Still, you'd be hard pressed to find rent that cheap in U.S. cities like Seattle, San Diego, or Manhattan.
Although it's significantly smaller than Dublin, that doesn't stop Westport from bragging about its many attractions. It's another city that is within a short drive of the beach and any number of impressive natural features. Views from the cliffs here are truly awe-inspiring.
There are also many architectural gems near Westport. In many ways, being further from the U.K. has helped western Ireland retain a lot of its history.
Just off the coast on Clare Island is Granuaile’s Castle. About a 40-minute drive south is Kylemore Abbey, which is known as Ireland's most romantic castle, and sits on a lake at the base of a mountain. Within the Céide Fields are megalithic tombs that date back to the Neolithic era, almost 6,000 years ago.
These are just a few of the many places to visit. Other notable Westport features include a love of food, music, water sports, and of course, beer.
Rent in Westport is around 700 to 900 euros ($780 to $1,000) for a 3-bedroom. That's less than half what you'd be likely to pay in Dublin. The downside to this is that it's further from the U.K., and won't offer as much variety as a large city.
If you're looking for a job in the tech industry, for example, you may want to choose Dublin. However, we doubt you'll get bored quickly in Westport.
Cork is located on the southern coast of Ireland and is the third largest city on the island. While there are not as many beaches and trails in this area as the other two cities, it doesn't lack in exciting features.
Blarney Castle, St. Anne's Church, and St. Fin Barre's Cathedral are all major tourist attractions. Fitzgerald Park is a small but beautiful park with a large pond in its center, and a bridge to walk over.
St. Patrick's street curves through the city and contains a wide variety of architecture from the 18th century to the current day.
About a 30-minute drive east is the Fota Wildpark. Here, many exotic creatures such as lemurs and giraffes are free to roam 70 acres of land.
But what really makes this city unique is food. People consider Cork the food capital of Ireland because much of the agriculture was traditionally exported from here. Cork has many excellent restaurants, and there's even a guided tour to introduce you to them.
At the local English Market built in 1788, you can browse through stalls of fresh meat and produce while enjoying the historical architecture.
If you're looking for something in between Dublin and Westport, then Cork might just be the place you're looking for. The rent is comparable to Dublin, with a three-bedroom house costing about the same.
Moving to Ireland from America: Climate
Ireland has a very mild climate. Although the summer is not particularly hot, with temperatures sitting around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the winters rarely drop below 40.
This fact, along with the 40 to 50 inches of precipitation per year, are a significant reason Ireland is perfect for agriculture. In comparison, Seattle usually only gets around 37 inches, and the range of temperatures is much higher.
You can expect a lot of overcast days when moving to Ireland from America, so you might want to stock up on vitamin D supplements. Fortunately, you can probably get away with wearing the same clothes all year round if you want to.
Moving to Ireland from America: Culture
You will, of course, experience a bit of culture shock when moving to Ireland from America. However, the Irish make it easy on you. They are famously friendly.
Take comfort, knowing that everyone in Ireland speaks English. You will see the Irish language Gaeilge on street signs, but only two percent of the population speak it fluently.
That being said, the Irish have their own slang and strong accents that will take getting used to.
Irish people are very proud of their culture, and they'll want to share it with you. They love food, music, and beer. According to locals, most people in Ireland know how to play an instrument.
Moving to Ireland from America: Economy
Ireland has a powerful economy. Forbes magazine named it the number one country for investing in a business.
Many of the world's top software, video game, pharmaceutical, science, and engineering companies are based out of Ireland. For internet companies such as Facebook, Ireland is a hub for providing their services to Europe. And of course, tourism is thriving.
The population has a high percentage of young, skilled workers. Additionally, the average wage is growing faster than living costs, and only around five percent of adults are unemployed.
Is Ireland Right for You?
As you can see, there's more to Ireland than leprechauns and the Blarney Stone. The atmosphere is friendly, and the country is rich in culture.
It might cost a pretty penny to make the move, but if you're looking for a change of scenery and some friendly faces, Ireland looks like a beautiful green welcome mat.
Moving to Ireland from America doesn't seem difficult to do, and with a growing economy, it's hard to find a reason not to look into a move there.
Do you want to move to Ireland? Have you done so? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.