Moving2Ireland Guest Blog: Five ways Ireland has changed in the past decade

View from the quay of the Ha'Penny bridge in Dublin during the day with people crossing over the Liffey.

At Moving2Ireland, we know that there are many benefits to returning home. Whether it is a new job opportunity or the chance to be closer to loved ones, there is a lot of upside to moving back to Ireland. However, it can also bring certain challenges which many returning-Irish least expect.  With that in mind, we have teamed up with AIB to share first-hand experiences from people who have recently made the move back to Ireland so you can better understand what lies ahead.

One of the biggest perks of life in Ireland is the sense of familiarity that it often brings, and there is something very special about being close to your family and friends. However, while many parts of life at home will always remain constant, the reality is that Ireland is a very different place than it was even just a decade ago. Let’s have a quick look at how much has changed economically, socially and culturally in the past 10 years.

1: Dublin has become one of Europe’s most exciting cities

If you are returning to Ireland after having lived abroad for the best part of the last decade, then you may be surprised to see how much Dublin has changed. In the years since you left, Dublin has connected the red and green lines of the Luas, Lansdowne Road has become the Aviva Stadium, and there has been a massive expansion in the number of gin joints, microbreweries and burrito bars dotted across the city.

Having lived in Australia for 14 years before recently returning to live in Dublin, Waterford native Elaine Phelan was pleasantly surprised by what life in Dublin is like in 2019:

“Dublin is a much more cosmopolitan and diverse city than it was when I lived there 15 years ago. Some things have changed, and some haven't. Don't expect it to be the same, but embrace all the wonderful changes if you decide to move back.”

Dublin also remains a magnet for people from all over the world many of whom are choosing to move there because of its reputation as Europe’s tech capital, with Silicon Valley giants making “Silicon Docks” their home in Europe.

2: Ireland is now a tech hub

2019 marks Facebook’s ten year anniversary in Dublin and in that time, the city has seen many more tech companies establish or expand their operations in the city. Facebook, Google, Amazon, LinkedIn and Twitter have all either established or expanded their respective Dublin bases significantly in the past decade. Outside of Dublin, Apple’s European headquarters in Cork employs over 6,000 people while Uber has set up a Centre of Excellence in Limerick. These new jobs have made Ireland a more attractive destination for newcomers and returning Irish citizens alike. What’s more, getting home from abroad has never been easier!

3: Ireland is more connected than ever before

You may be aware that in 2018 more people returned to Ireland than left the country for the first time since 2009. What you may not know however, is that it is now far easier to fly in and out of Ireland than it was a decade ago. The number of daily flights from Dublin to destinations across North America increased by 14 percent in 2018, with new direct routes to Philadelphia, Montreal, Seattle.

Elaine considers the airline interconnectivity that Ireland now possesses as one of the biggest perks of moving home:

“You can also jump on a plane and be immersed in a completely different culture anywhere in Europe in a couple of hours. You can get cheap flights and accommodation and have an amazing long weekend for cheap as chips.”

What’s more, if you have family or professional ties in Asia, then you’ll be glad to know that there are now direct flights to Hong Kong and Beijing. On top of that, once you’re back in Ireland, more frequent bus services, a connected and expanded Luas network in Dublin and car-sharing services like GoCar make it easier to get from A to B stress-free.

4: The rental market is challenging but there are now more options available

There is no doubt about it, finding somewhere to live in Ireland may require some hard work. The rental housing market in Ireland remains competitive right now, especially in Dublin, and in many cases, demand is exceeding supply. That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. First off, there are a number of sites that make finding a place to live a lot easier. Two of the most impressive are Daft and Roomigo - which launched in 2018 and helps pair like-minded people together in shared-living situations in Dublin. Airbnb is also an option that didn’t exist in Ireland a decade ago and is the perfect site for a short-term stay while you look for somewhere more permanent to call home.

5: Ireland is a more accepting country

If you have recently moved back to Ireland or are thinking of doing so in the near future, then you are almost certainly returning to a country that is more tolerant and socially accepting than it was when you left. In 2015, Ireland became the first country to support and enact same-sex marriage by a popular vote, while last year a majority of Irish people voted to repeal the 8th Amendment. Both of these events illustrate a culture of change that Ireland has adopted, and while a number of social issues still exist, you may not even recognise the place you originally left all those years ago.

About Patrick Bourke @ Moving2Ireland

"Originally from Adare, Co. Limerick Patrick brings over six years research and communication expertise to the role of co-editor with Moving2Ireland. Prior to moving to Canada in 2016, Patrick served as a campaign manager during Ireland’s successful Marriage Equality campaign of 2015. When not writing, he enjoys football, music and film."

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