Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The definitive guide to moving abroad and whether it's right for you

Republic of Ireland

This is a preview to the chapter Republic of Ireland from the book Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Paul Allen.
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After decades of net emigration in the wake of the 1845-9 potato famine, and years of economic stagnation and widespread poverty, Ireland has enjoyed a remarkable economic and social rejuvenation since the 1990s. And while the credit crunch and resulting financial crisis have reversed some of the gains, there is no denying how far the country’s development has progressed in the last two decades.

The Irish economy, the so-called “Celtic Tiger,” has been powered primarily by its service sector, with financial and legal services, customer service operations and tourism notable contributors.

Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) has been a particular success story. Since its establishment in 1987, the IFSC has transformed Dublin into a global centre for banking, insurance and fund management. And that’s meant a wealth of highly-paid jobs in these fields, as well as stoking demand for ancillary services such as legal and accounting expertise.

And it’s not only employment opportunities that have been attracting people to Ireland. Factors such as its active community life, the importance of family and the continued strength of family ties, its vibrant and idiosyncratic cultural traditions, plus the country’s renowned natural beauty all play a part.

Not that it is all good news for Ireland, for success has come at a price. The cost of living – particularly in and around Dublin – has soared over the last decade, fuelled in large part by rampant house price inflation.

And that is reflected in Mercer’s 2009 Cost of Living Survey, which put Dublin at 25th spot in its worldwide rankings1. Nevertheless, it was still below New York City, Los Angeles and London. And if a large-scale property crash does occur, Dublin’s position as one of the world’s most expensive cities could change significantly.

OK, so Dublin’s cost of living may act as a deterrent for prospective émigrés. And let’s face it, Ireland’s climate is hardly going to be a major draw.

But outside Dublin costs are more reasonable. And then there are all those other benefits the island offers: a rich cultural history, a vibrant music and theatre scene, beautiful landscapes, that famed Irish conviviality and hospitality, pubs, Guinness, great golf, fishing and horseracing, a common language.

So who minds a little bit of rain anyway?
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