Dublin

ABOUT THE CITY

It is said to compare it to Dublin of twenty or thirty years ago is like comparing Los Angeles to The Wild West.  So you have a wonderful opportunity ahead of you. Dublin is both the largest city and capital of Ireland. It is located near the midpoint of Ireland’s east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin Region. Historically, brewing has probably been the industry most often associated with the city.  Banking, finance and commerce are now also important in the city.  The economic boom years have led to a sharp increase in construction, which is now also a major employer.  Dublin is the primary center of education in Ireland, with three universities and many other higher education institutions. There is a vibrant nightlife in Dublin and it is reputedly one of the most youthful cities in Europe – with estimates of 50% of inhabitants being younger than 25. Be sure that you take advantage of the bus system. Most of the buses are double deckers. So for a perfect view of where you’re going go upstairs and sit at the front. Pay as you board the bus, and remember that you must have the exact change, or buy a weekly pass.

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    About Dublin

    Dublin is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Ireland, located near the midpoint of Ireland’s east coast, forming the center of the Dublin Region. Originally founded as a center of Viking settlement, the city has been Ireland’s capital city since Medieval times. The river Liffey divides Dublin into two distinct halves: the south side of the city and the north. The Northside has traditionally been viewed as working-class, while the Southside has been seen as middle and upper-middle class.

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    History

    Although the earliest evidence of a settlement beside the Liffey is on Ptolemy’s celebrated world map of 140 AD, which shows a place called Eblana on the site of modern Dublin, it is as a Viking settlement that Dublin’s history really begins. The Norse raiders sailed up the Liffey and, destroying a small Celtic township, set up a trading post on the south bank of the river at the ford where the royal road from the Hill of Tara in the north crossed the Liffey on its way to Wicklow.

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    Fast Facts

    Population 1,122,821 (Census 2002)

    Area 356 sq miles

    Elevation – 3,038 feet.

    Median age – 35-39

    Unemployment rate – 4.5% (Census 2002)

    Currency (code) – Euro (EUR)

    Official language – English, Irish (Gaelic)

    Time zone GMT/UTC 0 (Greenwich Mean Time)

    Calling code – 353 (country code) + 1 (city code)

    Economy

    Dublin is at the center of Ireland’s economy, and the Greater Dublin Area contributes close to 45% of the total Irish GDP. Probably the most famous industry in Dublin is brewing: Guinness has been produced at the St. James’s Gate Brewery since 1759. Banking, finance and commerce are also important in the city, and many international firms such as Citibank and Commerzbank have established major headquarters here. During the Celtic Tiger years of the mid to late nineties, a large number of pharmaceutical and information technology companies established offices in Dublin and its suburbs. Microsoft’s EMEA Operations Centre is located in Sandyford Industrial Estate to the south of the city, and Google and Amazon have established operational bases in the city. Intel and Hewlett-Packard have large manufacturing plants in Leixlip, a suburb to the west of Dublin, and Yahoo!, PayPal and other companies also have their European headquarters in Dublin. The city has come to be known as the “Silicon Valley of Europe.”

    Climate

    Month Avg Hi Avg Lo Avg Precip
    Jan 46°F 37°F 2.70 in.
    Feb 46°F 37°F 2.00 in.
    Mar 49°F 38°F 2.10 in.
    Apr 53°F 40°F 2.00 in.
    May 58°F 44°F 2.20 in.
    Jun 63°F 49°F 2.20 in.
    Jul 66°F 53°F 2.00 in.
    Aug 66°F 52°F 2.80 in.
    Sep 62°F 49°F 2.60 in.
    Oct 57°F 46°F 2.80 in.
    Nov 50°F 40°F 2.50 in.
    Dec 47°F 38°F 3.00 in.

    By Car

    American citizens are permitted to drive with a U.S. driver’s license for the duration of a visit to Ireland; i.e., as long as their status is that of tourist and not resident. Once you decide to become resident in Ireland, regardless of how long you have been in the country, you must apply for an Irish driver’s license. To be eligible for a full license, you must first obtain a provisional license (learner’s permit) and take the Irish driving test. All first-time applicants for a provisional license must take an eye examination. This test must be given by an optician practicing in Ireland. To apply a license, contact the Motor Taxation Office of your local County or City Council. You may also apply for your driving test online. Visit www.drivingtest.ie for further information.

    Motor Tax Office
    River House, Chancery Street, Dublin 7
    +353 1 222 8000
    fax: +353 1 872 1004
    www.dublincity.ie/
    Hours: Mon – Fri 9.30 – 3.30

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    Public Transportation

    Public transit in Dublin is pretty good, not quite up to par with some other major cities, but definitely a viable option for getting around.

    Dublin Bus
    59 Upper O’Connell Street,
    Dublin 1, Ireland.
    (01) 872 0000
    www.dublinbus.ie

    Dublin Bus provides bus service throughout the city and region with around 200 routes.  Standard service is from 5:30am to 11pm.  There’s also a late night service that runs until 2 or 4 am.  The website has detailed fare and schedule information.  Keeping a route map handy is a good idea, because the routes are named rather haphazardly.  Remember: times on timetables refer to when the bus starts it’s route, not the time the bus will be at a particular stop.

    DART
    www.irishrail.ie

    Luas
    www.luas.ie

    DART and Luas are passenger rail services in the city.  DART provides commuter rail to the suburbs while Luas is a light rail system that navigates the city.  Both websites will have more fare and route information.

    Air Transportation

    Ireland has four international airports: Dublin International Airport, Cork International Airport, Shannon Airport, and Kerry Airport.

    Dublin Airport is conveniently located north of the city center near the M50 and M1 motorways, and is accessible by bus, taxi or car. Shuttle services from nearby train stations are also available. Dublin Bus offers an Airlink service from the airport to Dublin city center for 5 euros (Routes 747 and 748). If price is not an obstacle, cabs to the city center range from 17-25 euros.

    For more information on the Dublin Airport, please visit:
    www.dublinairport.ie

    Cork International Airport is less then 10 minutes from Cork City center. Waterford, Tipperary and Kilkenny are within easy reach via the new Lee Tunnel. Train services operate downtown from Kent station serving all of Ireland. Bus Eireann operates a frequent Air Coach Service to and from Cork City Center. The single ticket costs €3.80 and the return is €6.30 (be prepared with exact change). Journey time is approximately 30 minutes.

    For more information on Cork International Airport, please visit:
    www.cork-airport.com

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    Local Phone Numbers

    The general emergency numbers 112 or 999 will put you through to the emergency services switch. You will then be asked which emergency service you require (e.g. Gardai (police), Fire Brigade, Ambulance). Useful numbers: (Prefix 353, if calling from abroad)

    Automobile Association 1800 667788
    Operator Assistance 10
    Directory inquiries (Ireland) 11 850
    Directory inquiries (International) 11 860
    International Assistance 114
    Dublin Bus information 01 873 4222
    Train information 01 836 6222
    Dublin Airport 01 814 1111
    Samaritans, William St 01 872 7700
    Poisons Information Service 01 837 9964

    Dialing from New York to Dublin
    Dial: 011 353 1  XXXX-XXXX
    How the number is composed:
    011 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of U.S.A..
    353 is the international code used to dial to Ireland.
    01 is the local area or city code used to dial to Dublin.  (drop the initial zero in the Dublin code)
    XXXX-XXXX is the local number Exchange X with your number

    Dialing from Dublin to New York
    Dial: 00 1 212 XXX-XXXX
    How the number is composed:
    00 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of Ireland.
    1 is the international code used to dial to U.S.A..
    212 There are multiple city/area codes in use for New York.
    XXX-XXXX is the local number.  Exchange X with your number

    International dialing codes from Ireland to the rest of the world are listed in the Telecom Éireann directory, available to the public in post offices and offices run by Telecom Éireann, the state-owned telecommunications company which controls much of the telephone industry.

    Public telephones are widely available. They are usually found on streets, in post offices and in many shops, restaurants and bars. There are three types of public telephone, the most common of which is the card phone. Cards with 10, 20 and 50 units can be bought in post offices and in most newsagents. Coin phones are generally restricted to the city center. Local calls cost five cent a minute at peak times (between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday) and one cent a minute at other times. International calls cost more depending on the call destination but you can expect to pay €1 for three minutes. A limited number of credit card phones are available, generally in hotels. Calls from hotel rooms are expensive – they multiply the cost by at least three.

    Mobile phones have become “essential” to modern living, with Ireland boasting one of the highest cell phone-ownership rates in the European Union. The Irish system runs on the digital network and initial problems with coverage caused by mountainous terrain appear to have been eliminated. Older American cell phones, which were mostly analog, will not work in Ireland. To make cell phone calls in Ireland you will need an unlocked dual band or tri-band GSM phone and a SIM card. Unlocked cell phones allow the use of any SIM card, as long as the frequency capabilities are correct. Dual Band is 900/1800 Mhz for Europe, Tri-band 900/1800/1900 Mhz for Europe plus North America.

    Internet access is readily available; internet cafes exist in nearly every town. If you are using a laptop computer in Ireland the supply voltage is 220v AC, so bring a universal AC adaptor if necessary. You will also need a three-pin plug adaptor which can be bought at any electrical shop. Some modems will not work in Ireland, so the best option is to buy a “global” modem before leaving with an adaptor for the telephone socket. Internet cafés and access points are available throughout the city and country. Wireless hotspots are appearing all over the country, especially in many cafes, and even in McDonald’s. The internet usage is priced between €1-€4/hour, depending on the location of the café. Many internet café offers cheap international telephony/fax services. You can phone home for a much lower rate than using your mobile or any public phone.

    When it comes to telephone services, the Irish market has a variety of services from which to choose. Note that prices vary from one provider to the next. The smartest decision is to shop around and compare rates before deciding on a company. Competition in the Irish telecoms market results a variety of telephone service providers from which to choose. Prices do vary across service providers so it is wise to shop around. Typically, you will have you landline connected by Eircom and from that point you can choose different providers. You will usually be charged for line rental, which is the monthly cost of your phone line plus the minutes you have talked.

    If you have broadband internet at home you can also use services such as Skype, Yahoo messenger, and MSN to make free calls. You can also call landlines from Skype using your credit card. Typically, it is still cheaper than other telecoms but the quality is not always good. The faster your broadband connection is, the better the voice quality will be.

    Home phone service providers:

    BT Ireland www.btireland.ie
    Chorus www.chorus.ie
    TalkTalk www.talktalk.ie
    Eircom www.eircom.ie
    Skytel www.skytel.ie
    Dome Telecom www.dometelecom.com
    Smart Telecom www.smarttelecom.ie
    Swiftcall www.swiftcall.ie

    For a more exhaustive list, as well as assistance in choosing a provider, go to The Consumer Website of the Commission for Communications Regulation athttp://www.comreg.ie/

    Internet-based telephony service providers:  
    messenger.msn.com
    messenger.yahoo.com
    www.skype.com
    Mobile phone service providers:  
    Vodafone www.vodafone.ie
    O2 www.o2.ie
    Meteor www.meteor.ie
    3 www.three.ie
    High-speed internet service providers:  
    Smart Telecom www.smarttelecom.ie
    Eircom www.eircom.ie
    Magnet Business www.magnetbusiness.ie
    Ice Broadband www.icecomms.net
    UTV http://u.tv
    NTL www.ntl.ie
    Amocom www.amocom.com
    Irish Broadband www.irishbroadband.ie
    Digiweb www.digiweb.ie
    Wireless Broadband www.wirelessbroadband.ie

    To determine what broadband services are available in your area, visit the following link: www.broadband.gov.ie

    Television

    Ireland currently has four national TV networks. Most households in urban areas subscribe to cable TV, and this provides a range of television from neighboring countries including England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as the USA.

    RTE 1 – RTÉ One carries Irish programs, consisting of news, current affairs, lifestyle programming and drama, as well as imported acquired programs.

    Network 2 – Music and chat shows, original comedy series, and popular American imports such as ER and CSI.

    TG4 – TG4 has nurtured a reputation for innovative programming in film, arts, drama, documentaries, and sports.

    TV3 – Apart from their news bulletins and sports coverage, much of TV3’s schedules are taken up with simulcasting of ITV (Independent Television, UK) programs, acquisitioned programming from the U.S. and movies.

    Channel 6 – Cable/satellite channel with up to 16 hours of locally produced programming with the remainder being made up of North American, Central European and Australian shows. Targeting ages 15-34.

    Satellite TV service:
    www.sky.com

    Cable and digital TV service:
    www.ntl.com

    Television License
    Every household, business or institution in Ireland with a television or equipment capable of receiving a television signal (i.e., an aerial, satellite dish, etc.,) must have a television license. A television license is a certificate that states that you have paid the appropriate fee to the government and contributed to the cost of public service broadcasting in Ireland. Your television license in Ireland is issued for 1 year, after which it must be renewed again.

    Public service broadcasting in Ireland means comprehensive radio and television services that are free to transmit programs that entertain, educate, inform and cater for all members of the community. These services must also provide news and current affairs programs, including coverage of proceedings in the Houses of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) and the European Parliament.

    You can pay for your television license at any post office by cash, check, debit card (some post offices also accept credit cards). You can also pay your television license online through www.billpay.ie, a service from An Post.

    Radio

    88.2-90.0 FM (95.2 northeast) RTE Radio 1 (news, sports, light music)
    90-92 FM 2FM (popular music, youth programs)
    96.7-99.6 FM (87.8 northeast)RTE Lyric FM (classical, jazz)
    92.6-94.4 FM(102.7 for northeast)Raidió na Gaeltachta (Irish language station)
    100-101.8 FM (105.5 northeast)Today FM (music, current affairs, sport and comedy)
    101.6 FM NEAR FM (community access)
    98.1 FM 98FM (adult contemporary music mix, best of the 80’s, 90’s and now)
    104.4 FM FM104 (adult contemporary)
    102.2 FM Q102 (news, sports, traffic, current affairs, special interest)
    106 FM Newstalk 106 (talk radio with news, sport & traffic)
    106.8 FM Dublin’s Country Mix FM (country & Irish music)

    The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland supervises all stations not under the RTÉ umbrella, i.e. Today FM, Independent Local Radio (commercial) and Community Radio (non-commercial, non-profit). A full list of stations can be found at www.bci.ie.

    Newspapers

    Irish Independent
    www.unison.ie/irish_independent

    The Irish Times
    www.ireland.com

    Unison (online news portal)
    www.unison.ie

    Sports

    Sport is an integral part of Dublin life – Gaelic football, hurling, soccer and rugby matches all feature prominently in daily conversations. The center of Dublin city is only minutes away from open countryside and has many activities to tempt all lovers of outdoor pursuits, including sailing, fishing, horseback riding, and cycling. The Wicklow Mountains and Dublin’s coastline offer scenic walks within easy reach, and there are many world-class golf courses in Dublin and its environs.

    The most popular spectator sports are Gaelic football and hurling, closely followed by soccer and rugby. Gaelic football is played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass field with H-shaped goals at each end. Players advance the ball up the field with a combination of carrying, soloing (dropping and then toe-kicking the ball upward into the hands), kicking, and hand-passing to their team-mates. Hurling is a cross between hockey and rugby, played primarily in Ireland, and arguably the world’s fastest field team sport in terms of game play. It is played on a field with a small leather ball (sliotar) and flat wooden bats (hurleys). The sliotar may be struck with the hurley from the ground, caught in the hand before being struck with the hurley or hand-passed (except for a goal). Kicking the sliotar is also permitted, but the ball is difficult to kick much beyond 11 yards.

    Dublin also provides a wealth of green space within the city limits, with many beautiful parks and gardens such as Merrion Square and St. Stephen’s Green. About a mile west of the city center is the largest walled city park in Europe, Phoenix Park, covering nearly 2,000 acres of land. Laid out in the mid-18th century, Phoenix Park contains woods, lakes, streams and gardens, set against the backdrop of the Wicklow mountains.

    For those interested in indoor fitness, there are a range of private health clubs, indoor sports centers and public swimming pools available.

    Attractions

    The Custom House
    The Custom House is one of Dublin’s most magnificent neoclassical buildings. It was designed by James Gandon in 1781 to act as the new custom house for Dublin Port. Completed in 1791, it was designed to be looked at from all angles and is rich in structural detail. The four facades of the building are decorated with coats-of-arms and ornamental sculptures representing Ireland’s 13 rivers and the Atlantic Ocean, the cornerstone of Irish trade. As the port of Dublin moved further downriver, the building’s original use for collecting custom duties became obsolete and it was established as the local government headquarters. The original interior was completely destroyed in 1921 during the Anglo-Irish War in an attempt to disrupt British rule in Ireland. Restored by the Irish Free State government, it now houses the Department of the Environment.

    The GPO
    The General Post Office (GPO) is one of the last great Georgian buildings erected in Dublin and is the home to An Post, the Irish postal service. It was built in 1818 and it has since gained significance as the headquarters of the 1916 Easter Rising. It was from its steps that Patrick Pearse read aloud The Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The GPO itself was mostly destroyed from shelling (shrapnel scars can still be seen on the columns), but reopened in 1929 after reconstruction. Today the GPO is open daily as a post office, and its history is remembered with commemorative paintings, a plaque recording the Proclamation, and a sculpture of the legendary Celtic warrior Cuchulainn (a symbol of Irish heroism).

    Dublin Castle
    Built between 1208 and 1220, this complex represents some of the oldest surviving architecture in the city, and was the center of English power in Ireland for over seven centuries until it was taken of by the Irish Free State in 1922.

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    Business Hours

    Offices: Mondays to Fridays: 09:00 – 16:00
    Banks:   Mondays – Fridays:  10:00 – 16:00 (in the main cities, banks stay open one day a week until 17:00)
    Stores:  Mondays to Saturdays: 09:00 – 18:00 (in many cities, until 20:00 on Thursdays and Fridays)

    Sunday trading is still on the increase, particularly in out-of-town shopping centers, of which there are many on the periphery of Dublin. Local convenience stores and many larger supermarkets will have longer opening hours than other shops. Some supermarkets stay open until 7 p.m. while convenience stores will often open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Time Zone
    The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Dublin and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight saving time is not in effect:

    Dublin Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC = 12:00pm
    NYC Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC – 05:00 hour = 7:00pm

    Dublin does observe Day light Savings time: UTC+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

    U.S. Embassy & Visa

    U.S. Embassy, Dublin Ireland
    42 Elgin Road
    Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
    +353 1 668 8777
    Fax: +353 1 668 9946

    Visa
    www.irelandemb.org
    US Citizens are not required to obtain a tourist visa for visits under 90 days. Those entering Ireland for employment must present a valid work permit at the port of arrival. A working visa/work authorization is usually valid for two years and authorization to continue to work and reside in the country may be granted at the end of the first period of validity. As a holder of a working visa/work authorization, you are allowed to change your employer after arrival in Ireland as long as you continue to have authorization to work and reside in the country. In the Dublin area, you may renew your authorization at the Garda National Immigration Bureau, provided you continue to fulfill the conditions of the visa. For more information on applying for work permits, visit the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s website at www.entemp.ie and follow the link for work permits.

    Etiquette

    The Irish are interested in people and place great value on the individual. They are naturally courteous, quick-witted and will go out of their way to welcome visitors to their country. Although the usual elements of business etiquette apply (punctuality, formal wear, a courteous manner), expect good conversation and a rather relaxed air. Handshakes are customary on introduction; take the lead from the host with regards to using first names or surnames.

    Generally, gift-giving is not part of Irish business culture. If you are invited to a home for dinner, it is permissible to bring a token gift of flowers, chocolates, a craft from your home region, or wine. The thoughtfulness of the gift selection is considered more important than its monetary value.

    In the pubs, a system of ’rounds’ is often used. This system dictates that all members of the group will buy, or at least offer to buy, drinks for all others in the group. Although this might mean drinking at someone else’s speed, you can always back out of a drink which should be on the other person’s round. Likewise, not everyone will take you up on the offer of a drink, but it is important to make the gesture. Dodging the ’rounds’ system and leaving before it’s your turn to buy drinks will not make a good impression.

    Postal Service

    Postal Service
    www.anpost.ie
    An Post is the state-run body responsible for the postal system. Every village, town and city in the country has at least one post office (oifig an phoist in Irish), discernible by a white-on-green ‘An Post’ sign. Post boxes, which are a trademark green color, are plentiful on the streets of Dublin and most towns.

    Standard stamps are 48 cents to post letters anywhere in Ireland or Europe and can be purchased in post offices, from machines, or in selected newsagents. Letter postage for non-European countries costs 57 cents. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9:00am to lunchtime on Saturdays. The historical General Post Office on O’Connell Street is open from 8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10:00am to 6:30pm on Sundays.

    Letter Post is the core division of An Post, collecting, processing and delivering mail throughout Ireland, as well as processing incoming and outgoing international mail. The Post Office offers a variety of other services as well, including banking and bureau de change facilities. You can pay household utility bills, TV license fees, and dog license fees. An Post offers a free online bill management service at www.BillPay.ie. A full list of payments that can be made at your local Post Office is available on An Post’s web site.

    Pets

    Under the EU pet passport system it is possible to bring accompanied pet dogs and cats into Ireland without the need for quarantine from a range of countries deemed low risk for rabies, provided that the following conditions are met:
    -Microchip (make sure it is Euro-standard and have your vet check the scanning)
    -Vaccination for rabies (may be done on the same day as micro-chipping)
    -Blood test with result greater than 0.5 IU/ml, carried out in a laboratory approved for this purpose (at least six months prior to entry in Ireland)
    -Treatment for tick and tapeworm (between 24 and 48 hours before departure)
    -Obtain a Veterinary Certificate (passport) issued or endorsed by the competent authority in the country of origin.

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    Electricity

    Unlike most European countries, Ireland works off a flat three-pin plug system. Electrical current is between 220 and 240 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC). Sockets marked “for shavers only” are 110 volts and should not be used for appliances with a higher voltage. Conversion adapters can be purchased in most duty-free shops in the airport or in any hardware store or pharmacy, while voltage converters may also be required for the use of American or European appliances. Laptops may only require an adapter, as many will run on either 110 or 220 volts.

    Dining

    Irish cuisine is generally centered on simple meat dishes and boiled vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage and root vegetables. With a colonial past and an impoverished population largely confined to the land until the early part of this century, there is no tradition of haute cuisine. Common dishes include colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage), boxty (potato pancake), and coddle, consisting of layers of boiled pork sausage and streaky rashers (bacon) with sliced potatoes and onions cooked in the stock produced by boiling the rashers and sausages. Other examples of simple Irish meals are Irish Stew made with lamb or mutton, and cabbage boiled with bacon. These may be humble dishes, but they are also wholesome and delicious. There is also an ever-growing range of Irish cheeses, many of which are first-class. The commonly-held belief that corned beef and cabbage is an Irish dish is a misconception. Corned beef is an Irish-American adaptation of the traditional dish of bacon and cabbage, where corned beef was used as a replacement for the bacon joint when immigrants had difficulty buying it due to a combination of unavailability and cost.

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    Housing

    Renting
    If you have recently arrived in Ireland, looking for somewhere to live can be challenging. A good place to start looking for a flat, apartment or house is the accommodation section of local and evening papers and accommodation websites. Try to buy the paper as soon as it comes out. Accommodation may also be advertised in shop windows or notice boards in supermarkets and colleges. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a place; word of mouth is surprisingly successful. Some places, especially if they’re being let through an estate agent, will have “To Let” signs outside. You should make an appointment to see the flat or house, and be sure to arrive early.

    Accommodation agencies are also available but may charge a fee for helping you find private rented accommodation. Before you register with the agency and pay a fee, you should get answers to the following questions:

    -Is the agency licensed?
    -What services are offered for the fee?

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    Currency & Banking

    The Euro is made up of eight coins and seven paper notes and was introduced on January 1, 2002. Coins and bills can be used in any of the European Union countries, regardless of the country of issue. Old currencies are no longer accepted, although they can still be converted to Euros in central banks. Credit cards are accepted at larger restaurants, but cash is still the monetary medium of choice in Dublin. The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks.

    Currency can be exchanged at any bank, as well as most building societies (savings and loan), post offices, and some department stores such as Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Cleary’s. Most businesses accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa; less so Diners’ Club. Increasingly, transactions are electronic, with the local debit card system, Laser, enjoying widespread use.

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    Healthcare

    If you are living in Ireland (“ordinarily resident”) you are entitled to a range of public health services that are free of charge or subsidized by the Irish Government. Broadly speaking, if you are living there and intend to continue to live there for at least a year, you will be considered ordinarily resident. Visitors to Ireland may be entitled to free and/or subsidized services in certain circumstances. Entitlement to health services in Ireland is mainly based on residency and means, rather than on payment of tax or pay-related social insurance (PRSI).

    There are two categories of public health services in Ireland, one for medical card holders and one for non-medical card holders. Medical card eligibility is based on age, income level, and number of dependents. Medical cardholders are entitled to free GP visits and hospital costs, as well as dental, vision, prenatal and maternity services, and prescriptions. A medical card would normally cover the applicant and his/her dependent spouse and children.

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    Taxes

    Income Tax
    If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States. Your income, filing status, and age generally determine whether you must file a return. Generally, you must file a return if your gross income from worldwide sources is at least the amount shown for your filing status in the Filing Requirements table in Chapter 1 of Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad (available at www.irs.gov). The IRS web site has a wealth of information available for the overseas taxpayer. Follow the ‘Individuals’ and ‘International Taxpayers’ links, or search for IRS Publication 54.

    U.S. Tax Information
    Internal Revenue Service
    P.O. Box 920
    Bensalem, PA 19020
    (215) 516-2000 (not toll-free)
    Phone service available from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm (EST) M-F

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    Primary School

    Children in Ireland typically begin attending school in the September following their 4th birthday, though they are not required to until the age of six. The school year runs from September 1 to June 30 (approximately), and the primary school cycle generally consists of 2 years of infant classes (pre-schooling) followed by class 1 through class 6. Home-schooling is a legal option but is not common. The goals of first level education in state-funded primary schools are:

    • to enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realize his or her potential as a unique individual
    • to enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society
    • to prepare the child for a continuum of learning.

    The curriculum is divided into the following key areas: language; mathematics; social, environmental and scientific education; arts education, including visual arts, music and drama; physical education; social, personal and health education.

    Most Irish primary schools are under the management of a religious denomination, the majority being Roman Catholic, but there is an increasing number of multi-denominational schools available.

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    Secondary Schools

    The Irish secondary (also known as post-primary) school cycle is generally 5 or 6 years long. Children begin their secondary school studies around the age of 12 and leave around the age of 17 or 18, having taken two state exams in that period. Whether you are coming to Ireland for the first time or whether you are returning after an absence, you may find the Irish education system very exam-focused. However, a lot of changes and improvements have been made to the educational system over recent years and a far greater range of options is now open to students than in the past.

    Most schools offer students the option of a Transition Year after they have completed the first 3 years of secondary education. This allows students to explore non-academic interests, whether they are social, creative or linked to the world of business. It gives them a chance to look around and to mature before moving into the Senior Cycle, which will lead them to the final Leaving Certificate exam.

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    Higher Education

    If you are moving to Ireland in order to study or if you wish to enroll a child into a third-level college, you will need to explore the full range of options available to you. The third-level education sector in Ireland consists of universities, institutes of technology, and colleges of education (collectively known as higher education institutions, or HEIs).

    Universities
    Universities in Ireland are state-funded, but they are generally autonomous. You can choose from four universities in Ireland. These include:

    -The National University of Ireland (NUI), which is the umbrella university covering University College Dublin, University College Galway, University College Cork, and St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth. The NUI also has recognized colleges including the National College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Surgeons

    -The University of Dublin, which is generally known as Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

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