As more and more companies choose Dublin as their base in Europe, employment opportunities continue to rise, which means many expats are flocking to the Irish capital. A word of caution to those looking to make a move to the Emerald Isle, though: the massive influx in recent years means life in Dublin doesn’t come cheap. A relatively small city, Dublin has limited space and the enormous demand versus supply is causing housing costs, among other expenses, to skyrocket.

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2023 confirms this, ranking Dublin as the 51st most expensive city out of the 227 cities surveyed worldwide. That said, the average salary in Dublin is quite high, meaning most expats can afford to enjoy a high quality of life there.


Cost of accommodation in Dublin

The cost of accommodation will be any prospective Dubliner’s most significant expense, and they’ll have to budget carefully before deciding where to live. This is mainly due to a massive spike in demand in recent years and low availability of housing, which has seen some locals pack up and leave as they simply can’t afford it any more. Many young expats who want to live in the city centre choose to do house-shares, but even this option comes at a premium.

Prices are somewhat gentler further from the city centre, but even then, they aren’t cheap. As one would imagine, competition for spaces is stiff, and once expats see something they like and can afford, they should have their documentation and deposits ready to snap it up before someone else does.


Cost of transport in Dublin

Dublin is such a compact city that those expats who elect to stay in its city centre may even find that they can get around on foot. Expats who are less keen on walking can make use of the city’s extensive transport network, which includes bus, Luas, DART and train networks. Using these regularly can become expensive though, so we recommend expats purchase weekly, monthly or even annual passes to bring down costs. Ride-hailing services are also useful, but costs for these can also mount.

There’s little need to drive a car in Dublin, seeing as it’s so tiny, not to mention the associated headaches of owning a vehicle, such as finding parking, parking costs and traffic congestion.


Cost of education in Dublin

Public education in Dublin, and Ireland in general, is free to all children residing in the country, including expats. And, because of the high education standards in the city’s public schools, most expats elect to send their children to one of these. Although tuition is free, parents may be expected to pay for things such as uniforms, books, extracurriculars and field trips. 

On the other hand, tuition for private and international schools in Dublin can be rather costly. If parents want their child to continue the same curriculum as their home country by sending them to an international school, we recommend they negotiate with their employer for an education allowance.


Cost of healthcare in Dublin

Public healthcare in Dublin is free or subsidised. Even so, many expats still choose to use private health facilities, as employers will often subsidise health insurance or even cover it in full. Those who plan to use private healthcare in Dublin should make sure they have the necessary insurance plan in place before moving to the city.


Cost of groceries in Dublin

Depending on one’s lifestyle, food can be mildly expensive to astronomical in Dublin. The price of groceries varies, depending on which store one buys them from, and buying imported goods will of course push up the costs. Expats can reduce their monthly grocery bills by buying bulk and stocking up on seasonal produce, which typically costs less than out-of-season and imported goods. 


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Dublin

Expats who live a busy social life and like eating out a lot should be prepared to pay a steep price for the pleasure. Dublin pub and restaurant prices have climbed steadily in the last few years, and expats who enjoy a night out on the town should budget carefully.

Outdoor and fitness enthusiasts in Dublin will also not lack entertainment options despite the near-constant wet weather. Expats can visit Phoenix Park or Dublin Zoo to enjoy nature in an enclosed space. It’s also possible to kayak, hike or swim, all at little to no cost. 


Cost of living in Dublin chart

Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The prices listed are average prices for Dublin in September 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 2,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 3,500

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,700

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 2,800

Shopping

Milk (1 litre) 

EUR 1.30

Dozen eggs

EUR 4

Rice (1kg) 

EUR 1.56

Loaf of white bread 

EUR 1.88

Pack of chicken breasts (1kg) 

EUR 9.83

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) 

EUR 15.80

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 10

Cappuccino

EUR 3.83

Coca-Cola (330ml) 

EUR 2.29

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 6.45

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 86

Utilities/household

Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data

EUR 23

Internet (average per month)

EUR 52

Utilities per month (gas, water, electricity)

EUR 257

Transportation

Taxi (rate/km)

EUR 2

City-centre bus fare

EUR 2

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.67

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