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The basics
Ireland: Student Finances

How much does it cost to study in Ireland?

Knowing how much it will cost to study in Ireland is probably the main factor in deciding whether you can make your dream a reality. Our complete guide breaks it all down for you.

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Ireland has plenty of attraction for international students. From its spectacular countryside to its dynamic cities, there’s no doubt it’s a great place to live. Whilst not as expensive to live in as some other countries, you’re right to do your research – good budgeting is a vital part of a successful student experience.


In this article, we explore the cost of living in Ireland so that you can make a start on getting your finances in order.


What costs can I expect?


Is this your first time living away from home? Are you wondering what expenses you should budget for in Ireland? Don’t panic, you’re not alone. Although there are costs you can reduce based on lifestyle choices, some costs are inevitable, such as:


  • accommodation
  • food and everyday essentials
  • travel and transport
  • entertainment
  • connectivity (internet, mobile phone etc)
  • hidden costs (things that are unique to you, for example, course supplies or visa fees)


Tuition fees


We have a separate article which talks about the cost of tuition in Ireland. They can vary widely based on whether you are classed as an EU or international student, but broadly speaking, annual (per year) tuition fees may be as follows:


  • free (EU/EEA/Swiss and British nationals studying at undergraduate level)
  • EUR 10,500 to EUR 28,500 (undergraduate international students)
  • EUR 2,000 to EUR 25,000 EU/EEA/Swiss and British nationals studying at postgraduate level)
  • EUR 3,000 to EUR 49,500 (postgraduate international students)


Difference in cost between regions


As with any country, there are cheaper and more expensive regions to live in Ireland. Commonly, cities tend to be more expensive than rural areas, but there’s regional variance too.


Dublin is well-known for being the most expensive place to live in Ireland. In fact, even the surrounding areas on the eastern shore of the country are more expensive than average. The north-west, on the other hand, is the cheapest region.


If you have your heart set on studying in Dublin, don’t panic. There’s a cost difference even within the city itself and there’s plenty of options for students. In fact, no matter where you live, there’ll always be variation in costs even between suburbs and individual properties. So remember, this article is just a general guide.




Rent: the biggest expense a student has to suffer beyond tuition fees. Whilst all Irish universities do offer on-campus halls of residence, these are in high demand and many students choose to live in private rentals instead.


In either situation, you’ll likely be asked to pay a security deposit in advance which you’ll get back at the end of the tenancy if you leave the property in good condition. This is usually equal to two to four weeks’ rent.


University residence


Halls of residence owned by universities in Ireland are often divided into self-contained apartments housing several students, although some still offer the traditional dormitory-style rooms which may be shared or private. In the apartment scenario, you’ll usually have your own room but share a bathroom and living areas.


In Ireland, rent for university residences is usually paid in two instalments – once at the beginning of the academic year and once halfway through the year. This means you’ll need to make sure you have the funds available when they’re requested.


For a single room, you’ll be looking at rent equivalent to around EUR 400 to EUR 800 a month.


Halls of residence are hugely popular and often in short supply. You’ll need to apply early to have a chance of getting a room. Some universities offer their accommodation through a lottery-style draw, where applications are selected at random.


If the student halls experience is important to you, you might also consider living in private halls (not owned by the university) although these are usually more expensive, with some rooms costing more than EUR 1,000 a month.


Be sure to check whether your utilities (gas, electricity and water) are covered by your rent. Although they often are, this is not always the case.



Private rental


Renting privately is common for students in Ireland. Most choose to live in a shared flat or house, which reduces costs and also allows for a great social experience. Properties may come furnished (with furniture) or unfurnished.


Depending on where you live and how many people you share with, you’ll typically need to budget around EUR 450 to EUR 600 per month for rent.


Although some properties may include bills in the rent, this is not always the case. Irish utility bills (water, gas and electricity) are amongst the most expensive in Europe. You’ll want to budget in the region of EUR 60 a month to cover these, depending on how many flatmates you have.


There are plenty of good companies that specialise in providing student housing. Because it’s such a common choice for students, your university may be able to advise you of popular landlords in your area.




Independent living at university also means that, unless your accommodation is catered, you’ll be learning to cook on a budget. It’s not as hard as it sounds, but it might take some getting used to. Budgeting for groceries isn’t just about food though, you should also consider toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, etc), cleaning products and the occasional treat!


We’d recommend budgeting somewhere in the region of EUR 250 to EUR 300 a month for your groceries bill in Ireland.




Depending on how close you live to the university and student hotspots, you may find yourself not needing to use public transport. But, if you do, you’ll find the cheapest ways of getting around to be bus, tram or train.

Your first step to making travel cheaper would be to buy a TFI Leap Card for your region. This is a prepaid travel card valid on buses, trams and trains. It will significantly reduce your fares and it has the added bonus of daily and weekly caps, meaning you’ll know in advance what your maximum spend could be.


As a student, you may be eligible for the Child (16-18) Leap Card or the Young Adult (19-23) Leap Card which will reduce your fares even further.


Using an adult TFI Leap Card, a journey of up to 90 minutes on public transport (permitting a mix of train, tram and/or bus) will only cost you EUR 2.00.




Of course, one of the most important parts of the university experience is your social life. You’ll definitely want to make room in your budget for some fun. Be sure to keep an eye open for student discounts too, because there are often lots to be found.


If money is tight, don’t worry, Ireland has some great free options. Dublin, for example, has many free museums and galleries. Or, if your location allows it, why not take a walk along the spectacular coastline?


But for those activities which come with a price tag, these average costs might help:


  • pint of beer: EUR 4.00
  • cinema ticket: EUR 8.00
  • concert ticket: EUR 75
  • restaurant meal for two: EUR 70




Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is especially important if you’re an international student. Luckily these days, as long as you have a good internet connection and a good amount of data on your phone, you’ll never feel too far from home.


In Ireland, the average cost of monthly broadband is EUR 45. However, bear in mind this is per household. Depending on how many flatmates you have, this amount might be significantly less. Halls of residence may well include internet in their rent, so be sure to check when you apply.


As for mobile phones, you’ll have a great range of options available to you. For a plan with plenty of data (allowing you to use those all-important apps for contacting home), you’ll be looking at spending around EUR 15 to EUR 20 a month.


Miscellaneous and hidden costs


Are you worried about those little expenses that might suddenly appear? You’re not alone. Although it’s always wise to have a fund set aside for emergencies, try to think of things you’ll need so that they won’t come as a shock to you – clothes, for example, or perhaps you’ll need bed linen or furniture. Be sure to check what your accommodation provides.


University libraries are a great place to go to get your course reading materials for free, but there’ll be costs associated with your course too. Consider any equipment, textbooks and stationery you might need and include this in your budget.


And of course, there’ll be costs associated with your arrival. Why not read our article about how to apply for a  student visa in Ireland  to see what you might have to pay?


And remember, if you’re worried about finances, you can always pick up a part-time job if your visa allows. Always keep a look out for student discounts too – even unexpected places can offer them! Don’t give up: once your budget is sorted you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the amazing experiences Ireland has to offer.


At the time of writing 1 EUR is equal to 1.07 USD


Disclaimer: All figures in this article are indicative only and correct at the time of writing. Since the economy can be subject to rapid, unexpected changes at any time, we always recommend you do your own research before booking any travel.