Ah Sure It’s Great Craic Over Here

The Decision Maker

Coming to Ireland was the best decision I’ve ever made. However, it’s not for what you might think. I haven’t done many touristy things, though I will before I leave. The initial “why” of my coming was the typical “get-out-of-your-comfort-zone-see-the-world” reason. I didn’t really know what this meant though, not really. Before coming I had done various things to get out of my comfort zone, but nothing to this degree. I had been living with my dad throughout high school in Alabama, then through college I lived in a dorm and everything was paid for by a scholarship I was blessed to receive. In the year following college, I stayed with my sister in Tennessee while saving up for here. While I had a full-time job and paid my bills, I still felt like I had a cushion. One could argue that I could have had the culture shock of truly being on my own back home just by moving into an apartment in another city by myself. However, there is something about being an ocean away. While technology makes the world smaller these days, I’ve never felt farther away from my family. I arrived here on October 22, 2017, and so much has happened that I feel I’ve been here for years already.

Before Coming Here

I had preconceived ideas about Ireland, its culture and the people based on stories I’d read, movies I’d seen and songs I’d listened to. Call it being too busy working two jobs saving up or thinking I would figure it out, but I did virtually no research on Ireland beyond tourist tips. I really wish I had, as it would have saved me time and some measure of culture shock. However, it was a good lesson I learned in terms of truly respecting another’s culture and doing my utmost to understand it before arriving. For instance, it didn’t occur to me that Ireland would have different showers than we do in the US. In the US, we just have temperature (either a turn dial or two taps) knobs, then a transfer knob you pull to transfer the water flow from the bottom faucet to the shower head. Here, they have either immersion (which is expensive to use, but it basically heats the water in the water heater and you have to wait for it to heat up before taking a shower/bath. And you must turn it off after you’re done) or electric showers, which is a box on the wall in the shower that heats the water as it comes out of the head. The first experience I had with this I was turning it to the wrong setting and taking lukewarm showers. However, in the end it was all sorted and I got over this small example of culture shock.

Staying Here

The second and perhaps most important piece of advice I have is for the housing situation you will have when you arrive. In a sharing situation where you will have housemates sharing all the same space, ensure that everything from shared cleaning duties to shared bills is made clear before you sign a lease agreement. Sometimes it takes a while to find a place where you will feel like you get along with the people, and with it being in your price range. In this case, I would advise saving up as much as possible so that you will have enough to stay in hostels/AirBnbs. It will save time and money in the long run if you wait. Don’t get to a point where you feel desperate and you must choose or settle for a certain home/apartment. Give yourself enough funds and time. Five days in a hostel cost around €115, and I stayed in an AirBnb that was €19/night for a week following my first week. As such, around €815 euro should do you for the first month, if you budget. However, it is always better to have a cushion to fall back on, so even having €1,000 for your first month is ideal.

Sorting Work and Getting Paid

My advice for getting quickly immersed in the culture is to obtain a job as soon as possible and start the process of obtaining a PPS number and bank account. I made an appointment with the GNIB office (now IRP) prior to coming. However, given the wait list, I wasn’t able to make an appointment until mid-November. This step was fairly easy, however, make sure you show up at least 30 minutes beforehand as it seems the office is always busy. I advise getting an Irish job as soon as possible because I waited three months before pursuing one. When I did get a job in Ireland, I was able to get a PPS number. Even if you have to do seasonal work to begin with, just get a job where the employer will provide an official hire letter with your address on it. The steps of the registration process is why I advise getting a job as soon as possible because you can’t get paid until you have a PPS number and you can’t get a PPS number until you have a job. For the appointment, it will be helpful if you have a letter to your address with your name on it (I got a letter from Amnesty International as I had joined shortly before). As the handbook states, you will also need a letter on official stationary from your employer with your address on it. When the PPS officer asks you the reason that you are getting your PPS number, say it is for work (I said to help get my bank account set up and she said they don’t do that). It’s a bit chaotic at the office but they don’t waste time, so be sure you have all of your documents ready to show them. I received my PPS number in the mail a few days later. Once you have this, you can register with Revenue.ie. Following this, you will receive a pin/temporary password in the mail a few days later that you’ll use to finish registering. Once this is done, you’ll have access to your account and you’ll be able to enter your employer’s information (their official name and employer tax id). This is your P45 information and will be sent to them so that you won’t get emergency taxed. With the two letters from revenue (PPS number and pin/temporary password), you can obtain a bank account. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping all of your documents together, as they are needed at every step of the process, and it will give you peace of mind to know where they are. My bank account took about a week to be set up, and then I sent my information to the payroll department of the company I am working for. Following that, things are fairly simple. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is obtaining the P45 from them if you choose to switch jobs.

The 411

So, they are the official steps that I experienced and my advice for it going more smoothly. While I wish I had immersed myself in the culture sooner, I don’t regret the three months I delayed getting a job. I found my bearings quite quickly in terms of transportation etc. I’m not saying it takes that long to adapt, but it was a good time for me. I learned a lot about myself and how I respond to various situations I had never been in before. One might not consider a situation that points out your flaws a good situation, but I did. Being here has changed me, and continues to change who I am as a person, on a professional and personal level. I had initially come here as the typical tourist, but I have since learned that this process is about so much more than “seeing the sights.” I have met people who have inspired me to be a better, more informed person about the world, and about my own country. The Irish have a rich history, of which they are fiercely proud. They’re also very informed about their history and current events. There are those in my country who are like this as well. However, I was not one of them.

The Lingo

In regards to their culture, which I am still getting to know, it is so much more than I thought. There are certain phrases that took a little getting used to such as “come ‘ere” and “your man.” When I first arrived, an Irish woman was telling me a story and kept referring to one character of her story as “your man.”

I was confused and said, “What man? I don’t have a man”. This phrase and “your woman” is used in reference to a previously mentioned character.

“Your woman was talking constantly and telling story after story.”

I learned that “come ‘ere” is akin to “listen closely.”

“Ah, come ‘ere, we’re going to meet to go out on Grafton Street.”

It was phrases like these, and discovering that Irish Gaelic is one of the more beautiful languages I’ve ever heard, that was a pleasant surprise. The Irish accent, which is what I now know as one of the accents of Dublin, has always been my favorite out of all the accents I’ve heard. However, since being here I have learned that there are many accents that are variations of what I’ve been exposed to in mainstream American cinema. This makes sense though because the US has different accents in its different regions as well.. There are some accents in the more rural parts of Ireland that are more difficult to understand, but for me that makes it even more fascinating.

Ultimately, I have learned much about approaching another culture with a truly open mind, which is what you must have. When you come here, and it may sound silly, but come with a mind like a child, completely open and soaking up every bit of information. After learning some very necessary lessons and adapting to being immersed in the culture, I have fallen in love with Ireland, its people and culture. Because of this, I am trying to extend my visa so that I may stay in this lovely country longer. However, if I am unable, Ireland will always hold a special place in my heart, and it’s an experience I’ll never forget.

So, if you’re thinking of coming to Ireland…

Rachel Anderson, Work in Ireland Participant


Ireland Set’s New Record For Annual Visitors in 2017 – This Is Why

Céad Míle Fáilte quite literally translates into one hundred thousand welcomes but it turns out that’s not nearly enough in 2017 as more people have come to visit Ireland this year than ever before!

10.56 million people (more than twice the Irish population), came over to our beautiful little island over the last 12 months. It’s becoming pretty clear that we’re doing something right so to help seal the deal on the best ever year for visitors to Ireland, we’re going to delve into why our home has never been so popular.

Ireland Goes Global

It may have been a secret to the wider world for many years but 2017 was the year that Ireland’s stunning landscapes were catapulted into the limelight (overdue if you ask us) thanks to two of the biggest film/TV franchises in history.

Turns out Luke Skywalker had been hiding out all this time in Co.Kerry, or more specifically, 7km off the coast of Kerry on the simply breathtaking rock we more as Skellig Michael. It wasn’t only down South that was used as a set location for The Last Jedi, our most northerly point of Malin Head also features prominently in the new blockbuster.

Game of Thrones has long been shot in Northern Ireland with the Iron Islands, Winterfell, the King’s Road and many more infamous scenes were brought to life by our landscapes and history.

Pic credit @trevorcole via Unsplash.com

Star Wars and GoT have done for Ireland what Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand, and they’ve loved it!

We Can’t Stop Featuring On The ‘Hot Lists’ And Winning Travel Awards

Every day, another global travel blog or website lists Irish locations near the top of their ‘hot lists’. Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway is Lonely Planet’s No.1 Region to visit in 2018.

The Titantic Museum in Belfast was listed as the Best Tourist Attraction in Europe and then the world in 2016, beating the likes of the Effiel Tower and the Taj Mahal.

Spike Island in Co.Cork was recently voted the top tourist attraction in Europe for 2017, making it back-to-back victories for Ireland in the World Travel Awards.

More Flights, Cheaper Flights

Dublin airport has become one of Europe’s busier airports since the introduction of US pre-clearance and a second terminal in 2010.

Transatlantic routes have seen a huge increase in frequency in the last 2 or 3 years as international low-cost airlines like WOW Air and Norwegian have entered the market, driving down the cost of a flight from North America to Dublin, Shannon or Cork.

The Bounceback is Complete

Ireland’s roaring economy crashed in a mightily big way back in 2009. Fast forward eight years and the economic outlook is comparable with ‘Celtic Tiger’ days but this time, backed up sustainably.

Dublin has been coined the European Capital of Digital on many occasions and it’s not surprising to see why given the stature of online companies that have their European Headquarters in Ireland. In no particular order the likes of Google, LinkedIn, PayPal, Dropbox, Microsoft, Apple, IBM. Airbnb and Twitter. Impressive right?

What’s more, Dublin is fast becoming a multicultural haven for talented labour from all corners of the world who are flocking here for the opportunities but also the lifestyle.

Whiskey and Golf Courses

If you’re like me, that heading is essentially Christmas. Granted, this combination isn’t for everyone but Ireland is uniquely positioned as a global standard for both. Over 650,000 tourists visited Irish distilleries this year (that’s not including the 1.6m who check out the Guinness Storehouse).

Ireland is home to some of the world’s most naturally spectacular and challenging golf courses in the world. While the profiles of Rory McIlroy, shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington continue to push Ireland into the golfing limelight, some 160,000 international visitors came here in 2017 with great links courses like Royal Portrush, Portmarnock and Ballybunion in their crosshairs.

The Craic

Last but not least, the mystical vibe and sense of community which oozes out of every moment being here – the craic. Have you ever heard anyone coming to Ireland and not enjoying themselves, enjoying the music, enjoying the laughs and enjoying new friendships made over a pint? Us neither.

Thinking about spending some time away from home in 2018? Join our growing international community right here in Dublin by spending four months or an entire year living and working in Ireland? USIT’s Work in Ireland Programme offers our clients a support network to help you get off to a flying start here in Ireland. We’ve helped hundreds of students from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe settle here. Email wii@usit.ie or call us on +353 1 602 1888 and let’s start planning.