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Ireland: Destination Guides - Must read

10 things you should know before studying in Ireland

Find out what you need to know about Ireland before you commit to your studies.

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Cobbled streets, cosy pubs, and jaw-dropping landscapes, Ireland offers an unmatched study experience. This small but mighty island currently attracts 18,500 international students to its top-tier universities (The Irish Times 2019). So clearly, they’re doing something right. But what exactly makes Ireland such a desirable study location? We explore ten things you should know before studying in Ireland, so you know what to expect.


1. Friendly faces


The word ‘craic’ is used throughout Ireland to mean banter, having a good time or sharing an enjoyable conversation. This fits with the reputation of Irish people as being friendly, welcoming, and approachable. For international students, this makes Ireland a particularly attractive study destination. If English is not your first language, its reassuring to know that you can ask local people for directions or help if needed. You can also improve your confidence in English by chatting with the people around you.


2. Ireland is politically divided


Did you know that Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland in the south and Northern Ireland, in well, the north? Cities like Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Limerick all reside in the Republic of Ireland while Belfast and Bangor sit within Northern Ireland. So why this divide?


The Republic of Ireland was predominantly Catholic and wanted independence from Great Britain. Northern Ireland on the other hand was predominantly protestant in favour of remaining part of the UK. This led to the Republic of Ireland becoming an Irish Free State in 1922.


Wondering what courses are most popular among international students in Ireland?


3. It rains a lot


We can’t deny, Ireland gets a lot of rain. The good news is that the summers are warm and bright. Plus, the weather can change dramatically in one day so although it might rain in the morning, the afternoon could be gloriously sunny.


Ireland also experiences four distinct seasons: autumn, winter, spring, and summer with little risk of extreme weather conditions due to its proximity to the Gulf Stream.


4. Plenty of vast green spaces


This consistent drizzle fosters an environment for luscious green spaces, giving Ireland its name as the ‘Emerald Isle’ or the ‘garden of Europe’. From dramatic cliff faces to rolling hills and rocky castle ruins, Ireland is a haven for walkers, hikers, and explorers. This scenery makes Ireland an attractive place to study as no matter where you are based, you’re never too far from the fresh air and rural landscapes.


Find out more about what Ireland has to offer.


5. The Republic of Ireland uses euros


The currency used in the Republic of Ireland is Euros while Northern Ireland uses the Great British Pound. So, make sure you check where your university is based to find out which currency you will be using while you study. Paying in Euros is particularly useful if you already use the currency in your own European country.


Concerned about affording your studies in Ireland? Find out more about the student living costs you can expect.


6. Rich culture and history


Ever heard of Oscar Wilde? Francis Bacon? Snow Patrol? Whether you’re into literature, art music, or sport, Ireland is known for its expertise in these arenas. Plus, Ireland has a rich Celtic heritage, often celebrated through lively festivals with traditional Irish costumes, dance and music. St Patrick's day is an example of this distinctive Irish culture which is celebrated all around the world.


Ireland is also known for its love of folklore, mysticism, and mythology which you can see in the nation’s association with leprechauns and fairies. Its this unique and wonderful combination of history, traditions and culture that makes Ireland such a fascinating place to live, study and work.


Want to know which universities come out on top in Ireland?


7. Delicious dishes


One way to truly experience a new place is by trying the food. Although you might feel out of your comfort zone at times, it’s important to make the most of your studies abroad so make sure you try new things. While in Ireland you are likely to come across the Ulster fry, Colcannon, Irish stew, soda bread and more.

Want to find out more about traditional Irish food?


8. Ireland is part of the European Union


Following Brexit, the UK decided to leave the European Union (EU) which means this is also the case for Northern Ireland. However, as the Republic of Ireland is an independent state, they have chosen to remain as part of the EU.


This is beneficial for students from other EU member states as they do not have to pay tuition fees for university in Ireland as part of the free fees initiative. If you are not from an EU member state, you will have to pay the fees as outlined by the university but they do tend to be more affordable than other major study locations.


Plus, being part of the EU means that you can easily travel to other EU member states. Students at Irish universities can also take advantage of Erasmus+ which offers lots of opportunities to study at other universities in the EU.


Learn more about how to apply to study in Ireland.


9. It is a safe country


Ireland is considered a particularly safe country. In fact, Ireland ranks within the top 15 for safety in the world (Global Peace Index 2020). However, you should still be cautious as you would in any new place and take the necessary precautions such as keeping your belongings close to you at all times.


10. Its universities are world-renowned


Gaining a degree from an Irish university will put you in a good position once you graduate as Irish qualifications are internationally recognised. Irish universities also sit within the top 1 per cent in the world. With 34 higher education institutions and over 5,000 courses, you are sure to find something that piques your interests.


Check out the following universities in Ireland for inspiration!



Or use our course matcher tool now for courses and universities in Ireland.

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