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Living in Ireland – A Guide for PhD Students

Ireland is a popular and hospitable destination for students looking to study for a PhD. You can experience the country’s ancient heritage sites, verdant landscapes, cosmopolitan vibrant cities, and its famously welcoming and sociable culture.

This guide provides useful information for students thinking of moving to Ireland for doctoral study. It covers accommodation options, work permits, transport and banking.

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Student life

The Republic of Ireland is a popular location to live and study in. PhD students will be able to experience the historic Irish arts and culture and the country’s passion for food and drink. There are also plenty of activities and events to take part in.

Culture and tourism

Ireland is well-known as a hospitable and welcoming country. The Emerald Isle is also full of history and culture, famous for its beautiful architecture and cities, traditional music and many festivals.

The country is also one of Europe’s premier literary hubs, famous for its association with writers such as Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and Seamus Heaney.

Sport and leisure

Sport is huge in Ireland, where there is a passion for rugby, golf and horseracing. You may also experience traditional – and unique - sports like Gaelic football and hurling.

The scenery of the wild countryside and beautiful cities offer plenty of reasons to explore the Emerald Isle. The likes of Star Wars, Games of Thrones and others have all been filmed in Ireland’s stunning ancient landscape – and you won’t have to be researching a PhD in Film Studies to see why!

Food and drink

Ireland isn’t just famous for Guinness and whisky – its cuisine is also well-renowned. There are lots of cafés and restaurants where you can experience traditional and hearty Irish food, such as Dublin coddle (Irish stew), oysters, colcannon (potatoes and cabbage), soda bread, Armagh apple tart, and much more.

Find a PhD in Ireland

Ready to start browsing some current PhD opportunities in Ireland? Alternatively, you can look at our other guides to PhD study abroad.


There are several types of accommodation you can choose during your PhD in Ireland. In general, housing costs are relatively high and your budget may be an important factor in finding the best residence.

Accommodation types

Types of available student accommodation in Belgium include:

  • Halls of residence – most universities have on-campus apartments for 4-8 students with single bedrooms and shared kitchen, living room and bathroom
  • Rented accommodation – standard rented rooms, flats or houses from a landlord / letting agent
  • Homestay – some students may choose to live with a host family in Ireland

Accommodation costs

The cost of accommodation in generally a little higher than in the UK. You can expect to pay around €427 per month, and this varies depending on your accommodation type, size and location.

Living costs

The overall cost of living in Ireland as a doctoral student is similar to most other countries of Western Europe.

You can expect to pay around €970 per month, budgeting €427 for accommodation, €167 for food and €380 for miscellaneous costs such as utilities and travel.

Prices in Ireland

The following table gives an indication of prices for some common expenses during a PhD in Ireland:

Student Cost of Living in Ireland - 2021
Restaurant Meal €15.00
Cinema Ticket €10.00
Monthly Travel Pass €120.00
Monthly Utilities €148.92
Based on crowdsourced data published by Numbeo.

Working during your PhD

All students who are enrolled full-time at university do not need a work permit to work in Ireland.

However, non-EU / EEA / Swiss students will need a valid Irish Residence Permit (IRP) from either the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) or the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). You will also need the INIS Stamp 2, enabling a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic year and 40 hours per week during holidays.

Employment contracts with your university

Many Irish doctorates follow a structured PhD programme with industry placements and / or engagement with research enterprise partners. These may require specific immigration permission or documentation and may affect your ability to carry out other work. You should contact your university for more information.


The Irish currency is the Euro (€). This means that travel between other EU countries is relatively easy.

Doctoral students are normally free to open an Irish bank account. Most banks in Ireland offer student rates or student bank accounts. In most cases opening a bank account will require:

  • A valid passport / ID card
  • Proof of your Irish address (through a bank statement of utility bill)

Please note that you will only be able to open a bank account after arriving in Ireland.


Ireland has a modern nationwide transport system and getting around the country is generally quick.

Most of the following travel services accept discounts via the Student Leap Card and / or the International Student Identity Card (ISIC).

Rail travel

The Irish Rail train network connects to many places around the country, offering simple and comfortable journeys along many popular routes. You can receive student discounts using the Student Leap Card.

Air travel

Ireland has ten airports, the largest being Dublin Airport, which has regular connections to the major cities of Europe and the rest of the world.

Inner-city travel

Most Irish towns and cities have a Bus Éireann bus service, and Dublin also has the Dublin Bus, Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) and LUAS Tram services.

Find a PhD in Ireland

Ready to start browsing some current PhD opportunities in Ireland? Alternatively, you can look at our other guides to PhD study abroad.

Last updated – 16/10/2020

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