The best (and worst) things about retiring to Ireland

The best (and worst) things about retiring to Ireland

Ireland is loved by people all over the world and many have enjoyed magical experiences during visits to the country.

The emotion of returning to the land of your ancestors can be a powerful one and leads to many people considering retiring to Ireland once they have finished their working lives. But is it a good idea?

The romance of the country may be a charm for a few weeks during your visit, but would Ireland be a suitable place for you to live full time?

These questions were posted on the world’s knowledge sharing website Quora, and plenty of people were happy to offer their own experiences, both those who were born here, and those who have moved from their homelands to Ireland.

Here are some of the most interesting responses to the question: Is Ireland a good place for Americans to retire to?

Janis Collins lives in Ireland (2014-present)

I can only speak about the Republic of Ireland, specifically the southern area. (Northern Ireland is a whole different story.)

If you can afford it, yes, it’s great! I’m not rich, but I’m comfortable and I manage very well.

There is no free healthcare unless you meet certain conditions, so you’ll need insurance. If you are over 70, however, you may qualify for a medical card or GP visit card.

Jack Sullivan, studied at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
Yes, I think Ireland is a fine place to retire, not the cities as much but particularly, in the countryside or seaside. Cost of living is modest, a lifestyle with welcoming neighbours, temperate climate (with rain and Ryanair very cheap flights to all the major European destinations for theatre in London, strolling in Paris, delicious low cost Spanish getaways for sun, food and the least expensive fine wine in Europe.

Peter J. O’Connor, Masters Entrepreneur, University College Dublin (2014)
I’m studying currently as a national tour guide and there are North Americans in our class. None would go back (they are in late 50’s or older), no more than my Dutch partner (now 70 after 21 years here) would go back to Netherlands.

Ireland is a good country to retire to if one has a modicum of income. Great climate – in spite of all the moaning. We can walk the hills and a heatwave here is considered pleasant winter weather by Southern US citizens.

Randall W. Jordan, Retired DBA, IT System Admin and Systems Engineer (1981-present)
I’ve been in Ireland, Cork (the capital of Ireland) for more than 16 years and worked the last 15 of my career here in Ireland so I managed to earn a small Irish pension to argument my Social Security. This along with my (Irish) wife’s school pension, allows us to live a good retirement.

Ireland is quiet and peaceful, you almost never hear a police or ambulance siren and if I even see a Garde (police) more that once a week it’s a surprise. It’s not cheap living here I have access to the national health care, but have additional health insurance, We have free transport on buses and trains.

Katie Mcmanus, lives in Northern Ireland
It depends about which part of Ireland, the coast, the countryside, the city (Dublin/Belfast) or even the North or Republic.

There is free healthcare, retirement schemes and lots of other positive things.

Honestly, it depends on the person, for example, if you are not the ‘typical’ Caucasian, straight, Catholic/Protestant, then you may not be treated well in some ‘backward’ ‘old fashioned’ (racist, homophobic) areas.

Currency/religious tensions can also be prevalent among border counties/areas.

Overall there are nice counties, a lot less violence and it can be a peaceful place to retire.

Pat Tobin, lives in Ireland
Ireland is a safe, low crime country. It is friendly, with good, friendly people. We are a secular society, and we like it like that. If you own a gun, you’ll have to leave that behind, and we drive on the left. It is important to remember that, too many fatal accidents happen every year involving visitors who forget that we drive on the left and revert to driving on their side of the road, thus causing collisions. As far as I know, you will have no entitlement to health care, or social welfare, including the state pension. I believe that before you are allowed move here you will have to provide satisfactory evidence that you can support yourself.

Apart from that doom and gloom, it is a good country, possibly the best in Europe.

I should also mention that a lot of the foods you are used to in the US may not be available in Ireland, and be prepared for the experience of eating real, tasty food. Food regulations in the EU are very strict and we pride ourselves, in Ireland, on producing some of the best meat in Europe, hormone and growth enhancer free, and also the EU ban GM foods (thank God).

Of course, these are just the experiences of a handful of people, but the knowledge and information they can offer can give you a great start in deciding what is best for you and your loved ones in your retirement.

Graham Norton was considering retiring before covid

Four lads, a car, music and an exhilarating road trip around Ireland

Mia Farrow says she wants to retire to the West of Ireland

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