Getting itchy feet lately? There’s no time like the present to start researching and planning longer trips abroad or a big move to your dream city.
Dublin, here you come! Amidst all the excitement of moving to a new city, we know that you’ll also have a lot of questions. With our practical advice to transport tips and cultural pointers, you’ll settle into life in Ireland’s capital in no time.
1. Be weather-prepared
Dublin averages 130 rainy days per year. Most windy and rainy days occur in the winter (so make sure you pack some good coats, warm layers and sturdy shoes) but even during the summer, the city is no stranger to wet days. Invest in a small umbrella which you can fit in your bag year-round; you never know when the rain will arrive and it’s best to be ready!
2. Pick up a local SIM
Most coffee shops, libraries and public spaces have WiFi, but if you’d like to use your phone or connect to 4G without incurring huge international roaming charges, purchase a local Ireland SIM card. Networks like Three and Vodafone offer SIM-only contracts with data, and Lycamobile offers packages which include international minutes and texts to keep you connected to friends and family back home.
3. Know the lingo
As with any new city, the locals will have their own take on the language, including plenty of new slang terms to try out. Craic (pronounced ‘crack’) is a common term for fun, humour or banter. So if someone asks you ‘Where’s the craic?’ they’re asking you what’s up while looking for a bit of a giggle and an old-fashioned good time!
4. Using the bus
If you’re sticking to the city center, it’s easy to get around Dublin on foot. But, if you’re traveling in from the suburbs or the weather isn’t looking good, then public busses are generally the easiest way to travel. Dublin Busses are double-decker busses with their routes displayed on the front. Wait at a bus stop and wave the bus down when you see them approaching: just stick your hand out and signal to the driver that you’d like to get on. Plan ahead, though – make sure you set off on your journey a bit early as they don’t always run on time!
5. LUAS tram
There are two LUAS tram lines that also connect suburban neighborhoods with the city center. The red and green tram lines are fast and easy to use but get busy during rush hours. If you’re planning to live in the South or Southwest Dublin suburbs, check to see how far your prospective new homes are from either of these tram lines.
6. Leap card
Leap Cards act like London’s Oyster Cards; pick up a new contactless Leap Card from a corner shop, register it, transfer some money to it and you can use it to pay for bus and tram journeys. Leap Card fares are often cheaper and additional discounts are available when you use a Student Leap Card. Apply online and then verify your student status (bring some identification documents) at one of the Student Leap Card Agent locations in the city to get the card printed.
7. Register with a doctor
There’s nothing worse than getting ill when you’re in a different country. Dublin’s government-funded free healthcare system is excellent, so find your local doctor’s surgery and register with a GP. Hopefully you won’t need it, but you’ll be grateful you took the time to fill out the paperwork beforehand if you do feel ill.
8. Get any paperwork sorted
Ireland is an EU and EEA member, if you’re traveling as an EU or EAA citizen you can visit for up to three months visa-free, but you’ll need to apply for a work or student visa if you plan on staying longer. If you’re traveling as a student, your university or school will likely have sent a welcome pack with detailed information that you should read and follow.
9. Pick a side
The River Liffey divides the city into ‘Northside’ and ‘Southside’, Historically the south was home to the bourgeois middle and upper classes, while the working-class families lived in Northside. Nowadays, a mixture of communities live on both sides of the river but the long-standing rivalry will probably be joked about in the pub!
10. Know your apps
Journey Planner calculates public transport routes to your destination, complete with timings and real-time updates on departures and delays. Uber makes booking a taxi super easy. Put money on your Leap Cards using the Leap Top-Up app. Dublin Bus also has its own app for journey updates. If you’re craving food from your fave high street restaurant, but don’t fancy changing out of your pyjamas, Deliveroo will deliver your takeaway to your door.