Expats in Ireland

Expats in IrelandIreland: An Overview

Ireland, or, more fully, the Republic of Ireland, (also known as Éire, from the Irish Gaelic) occupies five-sixths of the island of Ireland, the western main island in the British Isles. The country is bound by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and north-west, the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the east. To the north-east, Ireland has its only land border, with Northern Ireland. Though this is part of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland shares power in the province to some degree. Ireland is a parliamentary democratic republic with an estimated population of 4,700,000. Its GDP per capita is, at US$43,600, one of the highest in the world.

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According to tradition, St Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in 432. He is also credited with introducing the Roman alphabet to the island. After this Celtic Christianity prospered for centuries, and was spread to nearby areas as well as all over Ireland. It was later supplanted by Roman Catholicism, though Irish Christianity retains some of its own characteristics.

From the 9th Century, for the next three centuries, Vikings attacked large areas of southern Ireland, sailing up navigable rivers to reach inland towns. They also founded cities, such as Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Cork and Limerick. They were defeated in 1014 and Ireland became a patchwork of a dozen or so small kingdoms.

In the 12th Century, the Normans arrived, initially on the invitation of the exiled King of Leinster, Diarmuit mac Murchada. Soon the areas they controlled fell under the rule of King John of England, and by 1300, the Anglo-Normans controlled most of the island. In the next century, however, there was a Gaelic resurgence, with Irish language and customs dominating the island once more.

The Celtic recovery lasted until 1536, when Henry VIII of England decided to put the whole of Ireland under the English crown. Over the next century, the western, Gaelic parts of Ireland slowly fell under English control. The 1641 Rebellion, which aimed to reverse this trend, started 11 years of war that culminated in Oliver Cromwell's brutal reconquest of the island. Some Irish were enslaved and shipped to the Caribbean, and more land confiscations followed, under the Penal Laws.

In the period around 1700, the English started to make 'plantations' on the island, in which land was confiscated and colonised by Scottish and English people. Most of these colonies were in the north-east. From around this time, Protestants were in the ascendancy and, after further Gaelic attempts to regain control, the Irish Parliament was dissolved in the 1801 Act of Union, and Ireland was ruled directly from Westminster.

An Gorta Mór, the Great Famine, devastated the island between 1845 and 1852, killing around a million people, with another million or so emigrating. The famine was exacerbated by the incompetence and indifference of the Westminster government; it was after this time that resistance to British rule became more organised. The process of the British relinquishing their rule begun in 1910, with the first Home Rule Act. The 1916 Easter Uprising led to a great deal of upheaval, which eventually led to the declaration of the Irish Free State in 1922.

Ireland became fully independent in 1937, and remained neutral in the Second World War (though only technically, as many Irish volunteers fought on the Allied side.) In 1949, Ireland left the British Commonwealth, becoming a republic. Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973 and adopted the euro as its currency in 1999. During this time, the country has generally prospered, though it was hit particularly hard by the credit crunch and the following global recession.


Country Name: Ireland
Coordinates: 53.4232°N, 7.9315°E
Capital: Dublin
Capital Coordinates: 53.3243°N, 6.2516°E
Other Main Cities: Cork, Limerick, Galway
Population: 4609600
Area: 70273
Official Language(s): Irish, English
Ethnic Group(s): 84.5% White Irish, 9.1% Other White, 1.9% Asian, 1.4% Black, 0.7% Irish Travellers
Demonym: Irish
Currency: Euro, EUR, €
GDP: $192.223 billion
Time Zone: WET (UTC+0)
International Dialling Code: 353
Internet TLD: .ie
Electricity Voltage: 230 Volts AC (50Hz)





Moving to Ireland

If you are considering moving to Ireland or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Ireland section including; details of immigration and visas, Irish forums, Irish event listings and service providers in Ireland.


Living in Ireland

From your safety to shoppingliving in Ireland can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Ireland with relevant news and up-to-date information.


Working in Ireland

Working in Ireland can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Ireland, and general Irish culture of the labour market.