The Republic of Ireland, or Eire as it is known, is a beautiful green country made up of tiny rural villages and more urbanized cities such as Dublin. The lush vegetation is due to the mild climate and frequent rainfall. Northern Ireland is approximately one sixth of the island and it is governed by Great Britain. Whilst Northern Ireland is mostly Protestant, Eire is mainly Catholic, and this division has been the root of conflict over the last 200 years. Ireland is predominantly English-speaking, although Irish is the official language of the Republic.

Dublin Pub in the old town of Dublin, Ireland
Dublin Pub in the old town of Dublin, Ireland

In harsh economic times, and during the famine, many families left Ireland and emigrated to Europe, Canada, Australia and the USA, where a huge community now boasts of its Irish roots. More recently, with the growth of prosperity, immigrants to Ireland have arrived from Europe, mainly in search of work. Since joining the European Union in 2004, this opened up the borders to Europe and immigrants have arrived to settle from Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic and hundreds of thousands from Poland. Up to 100,000 Chinese immigrants have also arrived since 1990. Work visas are not required for EU residents but other nationalities will require immigration papers. It is wise to check before arriving what paperwork may be required for those intending to live permanently in Ireland.

Agriculture and forestry cover much of the land mass of Ireland and create jobs for many. Work was also available in the building industry until the recent economic downturn. Ireland had been enjoying an unrivalled period of growth in real estate prices, and building had been encourage everywhere. However, the market is now extremely depressed with an over-supply of new and unfinished projects. It may be a good time to buy property in Ireland, for those who intend to stay permanently. Many internationally known companies have headquarters in Ireland and jobs may be offered in those sectors.  Immigrants may also find work in restaurants and hotels where minimum wage staff are always needed.

Healthcare is provided for all through social security payments. Medical cards are issued to those who are entitled to full free healthcare. Irish residents and EU nationals are entitled to all medical services with small fees levels for certain treatments. Others may be entitled to some free services with the remainder having to be paid for. It is worth researching to find the best scheme to offset unexpected costs.