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Ireland: Student Accommodation - Must read

Student accommodation in Ireland

Explore student accommodation in Ireland and get to grips with what's on offer with our in depth guide. You'll be in the know with everything from rental costs to location.

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Ireland has always proven to be a popular study destination for international students. There are a multitude of reasons for its allure, not least of which is the welcoming nature of the locals and the memorable student experience which this facilitates. Naturally the quality of the academic experience is also critical, which is well catered for by the internationally renowned institutions located on the emerald isle. There is however that ever present worry that permeates all study abroad escapades, namely where you’ll stay and if you’ll eventually start referring to it as home.

 

Knowing how to start weighing up your options and even having a handle on all the choices, may make you want to put your head in your hands in despair. However, there’s no need to let the prospect of looking for somewhere to call home get you down. We went in search of all the accommodation options and information for you, so you can confidently start your own exploration of studying in Ireland

 

 

What are the main options available?

 

Student accommodation in Ireland can be divided into two primary categories, as is the case for most study abroad destinations, that of on-campus and off-campus options. Each has its distinct advantages and disadvantages, with the choice of which to take up relying primarily on personal preference and cost. There are a few tips to consider when deliberating on which option to select:

 

  • On-campus accommodation is limited
  • On-campus accommodation is more expensive
  • Off-campus is cheaper but there is more admin
  • Off-campus means transport costs & independent living

 

What are on-campus options like?

 

All major university’s in Ireland have on-campus accommodation generally in the form of halls of residences. It’s always a good idea to see what is available at your prospective institutions by checking out their website accommodation pages or contacting the student accommodation office. With many students looking to secure a place living on-campus it’s important to start your research and inquiries early. In addition, some institutions will give preference to certain student profiles such as first and second-year undergraduate students and a certain number of international students. What do you need to do?

 

  • Submit your university application asap
  • Getting an offer means you can apply for accommodation
  • Investigate from March for a September intake
  • If you're applying for a scholarship start even earlier
  • Costs will vary between institutions so be prepared

 

Although there are variations, the nature of on-campus accommodation across universities is quite similar. You’ll be allocated a room in a hall of residence, which are large apartment style buildings. For example, the University of Limerick splits accommodation into seven student villages, with each housing between 300 and 400 students. Rooms on campus may be shared with another student or you’ll get a furnished room with study space and in some cases an en suite bathroom. This largely depends on availability as well as your application preferences and budget. Kitchen and dining facilities are usually shared between three to seven other students, as are relaxation areas like sitting rooms or TV lounges. Some universities offer meal plans where food is catered for in dining halls, but this does come at an additional cost.

 

 

If you’re aiming to stay on-campus you will need to consider your budget. Costs do vary according to the university, the type of accommodation and the location of the campus. On average you can expect to pay between EUR 4,000 (USD 4,400) and EUR 6,000 (USD 6,600) per year for a room, which is around EUR 500 (USD 550) a month. If you are sharing a room, it won’t be as expensive at an average of EUR 3,500 (USD 3,800) per year.  What about additional fees you ask?

 

  • A deposit 
  • Possible additional utility bills 
  • Entertainment costs
  • Additional food costs 

 

Our top tip is to make as much use as possible of the accommodation and student services offices for help and assistance. It always pays to be well prepared and informed.

 

What are the benefits of staying on campus?

 

  • Ideal location on campus to access amenities and facilities 
  • Easier to get to lectures, seminars and exams
  • An all inclusive package making money management easier
  • Round the clock support from university staff, inclduing security and healthcare
  • A close knit campus community allowing you to make friends and meet new people
  • Easier to arrange from overseas as you only deal with the university 
  • Assurance of the quality of the accommodation

 

What’s it like living off campus?

 

There are a few types of off-campus accommodation which includes university run housing, university endorsed housing, private rentals and homestay options. Due to a lack of capacity on campus and limited space, a number of universities have accommodation options off campus. These may be hostel style housing, apartment style buildings or shared houses that are owned and run by the university.  They may differ from on-campus options in the manner in which university services are provided, such as security and catering.

 

You will also need to bear in mind the transport costs of getting to campus. Most institutions offer a service to help you find housing prior to your arrival in the country, with international students often given priority. Costs for off-campus accommodation that is run by a university do vary depending on the option you choose, with shared housing being cheaper. You will need to budget a minimum of EUR 3,000 (USD 3,300) per year for this type of accommodation.

 

Off-campus accommodation is also provided for by private companies that may partner or be endorsed by an institution. Universities sometimes facilitate the process of finding a place to stay and put you in touch with providers or accommodation agencies. The options that you’ll be able to choose from may vary, but broadly will be either a single or shared room in a house or apartment shared with other students with communal areas.

 

 

The letting options can be more flexible and will be slightly cheaper than the on-campus equivalent. You can expect to pay about EUR 180 (USD 200) to EUR 200 (USD 220) per month for a single room and an extra EUR 30 (USD 33) for utilities.  Shared rooms will set you back about EUR 130 (USD 144) to EUR 150 (USD 166) per month. You will need to factor in the cost of food and additional services like Wi-Fi and residential tax. There will be the requirement to pay a deposit of between EUR 600 (USD 660) and EUR 800 (USD 880) to secure the accommodation, which is refunded to you provided there is no damage to the property or repairs required. What about renting private accommodation?  

 

  • Do as much research as possible 
  • Best to work through a reputable and licensed agency
  • The rental market depends a lot on location
  • The majority of leases are no less than 12 months 
  • You can minimise costs by sharing accommodation with other students 

 

You're probably wondering what to expect on the costs front:

 

  • You'll need to pay an upfront deposit 
  • Payment of rent occurs monthly 
  • Check if the rent includes utility bills and taxes
  • If you need to pay utilities and taxes it'll be about EUR 100 (USD110) per month
  • You'll need to buy basic household items like bedding and kitchen goods
  • If you want a TV you'll have to cover the EUR 160 (USD 177) yearly fee

 

Costs for private rentals do vary widely, with Dublin being a more expensive option than other cities. In the Irish capital you can expect to pay an average of EUR 450 (USD 499) per month, but this can rise to as much as EUR 900 (USD 1,000) per month for larger spaces and more desirable locations in the city. If you’re studying in Limerick annual rents come in at about EUR 3,500 (USD 3,380) per year. When looking at the average rental costs across Ireland a small single apartment comes in at about EUR 170 (USD 188) per month. Any tips?

 

  • Look as early as possible 
  • Have a good understanding of the areas you're looking in 
  • Don't feel pressured into signing a contract until you're happy with the terms 
  • Insist on seeing the property and checking all is in order before paying anything 
  • Know your rights as a renter and check out the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) for more 

 

What is a homestay?

  • Common type of accommodation for a first yeat international student
  • You're based in the house of a local family
  • You have your own room and study space 
  • It's an inclusive package for food, utilities and board
  • Usually costs about EUR 180 (USD 200) per month 
  • You can immerse yourself in local culture and have a support network
  • Helps to develop communication and Engish language skills.

 

Our top tip is to think carefully about the experience you’re after before committing to a particular type of accommodation as it forms a critical part of your university life.

 

What are the benefits and disadvantages of living off campus?

 

Living off campus does bring with it certain advantages, like the cheaper average cost than staying on campus allied to the variety of options and types of accommodation on offer. You’ll also have less restrictions in terms of rules around visitors, curfews, noise and décor. Living off campus can teach you crucial life lessons such as independence, initiative and financial management.  It gives you the chance to embed yourself in the wider community and city in which you live.

 

There are a few drawbacks to setting up home off campus, the primary being the number of variables involved in arranging the accommodation and associated payments. It means you’ll have to deal with multiple service providers, the local council and your landlord. Being off campus will require to get to know the transport system and factor in your travel time to campus. This could mean missing out on certain campus events or having to wake up earlier to make it to lectures. It is also an additional cost. One final aspect that can detract from living off campus is the variable quality of the accommodation and pricing, which isn’t always easy to judge from overseas.

 

What are the top tips for finding accommodation?

 

  • Start as early as possible and make use of all available resources in order to do so. Make sure to get in touch with your prospective university and local agencies.
  • Draw up a realistic budget and estimate how much you have available to spend. You may want to look for scholarship or funding opportunities that include accommodation and living allowance.
  • Make sure that if you are going to rent privately the agency that you have used is licensed and reliable. Make sure that all of your paperwork is in order.
  • Do not make any payments or transfers until you have the proper confirmations and paperwork in order.
  • Decide on what would work best for you in terms of the way you want live and what experience you would like and base your accommodation decision on that.
  • Ensure that you have a firm offer to study and have been accepted by the institution of your choice before applying for or confirming accommodation.