Is Ireland more or less expensive than the UK? In the Ireland Property Guides Cost of Living Index we check a list of over 60 everyday prices in Ireland, the UK and 10 other countries to get an accurate reading. It covers prices for groceries, leisure and household expenses, and each year we update it to cover new products and ways of shopping, as well as the usual household staples. 

Overall, this year’s Cost of Living Index found that Irish prices are around 10% higher than in the UK. Part of that is down to the higher rate of VAT. Ireland charges 23% VAT on most goods, including alcohol, cigarettes, fuel, shoes, electronics and other luxuries such as perfume.

Additionally, many more products must be imported into the country by ferry or air, and then transported to their various locations. Ireland has a population of under five million, so suffers in comparison with the economies of scale that Great Britain – population ~65million – enjoys.

For all the prices in Ireland we have converted them at the average rate for 2019, €1.133 to each £1.

If your expenditure is in euro and your income in pounds, shop prices are only half the story… Read The Currency Guide to Emigration, free to download.

Supermarket shop

Prices are a little more expensive, but not enough to spoil your shop!

There are a number of great supermarkets to choose from in Ireland, many of which you’ll recognise. Tesco is here, as are Lidl, Aldi and Iceland. You’ll also be delighted to hear that M&S Foodhall has premises in Ireland. Hurrah! Now you can cross ‘missing the £10 meal deal’ off of your list of ‘things to worry about’.

Ireland is the eighth most expensive place for bread, meat, fish and dairy products in Europe, while the UK is way cheaper, ranking 23rd out of 37 countries. Expect to feel that hit on your weekly shop. The good news is that Aldi and Lidl are excellent for low-cost, high-quality produce, and Tesco isn’t too expensive either. All the supermarkets offer great deals and offers – you just have to be prepared to shop around a little.

We took UK supermarket prices from Tesco and Irish from SuperValu, the largest supermarket chain in the country, in October 2019.

In the supermarket UK Prices £ Ireland in € Ireland in £ More/less expensive in Ireland
Large, wholemeal sliced loaf of bread (800g) £1.10 € 1.30 £1.15  + 4%
Pack of butter (250g) £1.50 € 2.80 £2.47  + 65%
Milk (I litre) £0.80 € 1.05 £0.93  + 16%
6 eggs, large free range £1.00 € 1.89 £1.67  + 67%
Iceberg lettuce £0.70 € 0.89 £0.79  + 12%
Teabags (per 100) £2.50 € 3.99 £3.52  + 41%
Fresh pineapple (whole) £1.00 € 1.29 £1.14  + 14%
Fresh tomatoes (1 kilo) £2.50 € 3.29 £2.90  + 16%
Fresh chicken for roasting (regular) £3.40 € 4.75 £4.19  + 23%
Fresh chicken for roasting (free-range/organic/corn-fed) £7.50 € 6.99 £6.17  – 18%
Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream (500ml) £4.20 € 6.20 £5.47  + 30%
fresh white fish, cod type  (1 kilo) £13.50 € 9.99 £8.82  – 35%
Jar of mayonnaise (600g) £2.50 € 3.00 £2.65  + 6%
Heinz cream of tomato soup (400g) + £0.95 € 1.00 £0.88 -7%
Coca-cola zero (2 litre) £1.95 € 2.50 £2.21  + 13%
Bottle of whisky (blended) 70cl £15.00 € 27.00 £23.83  + 59%
Dark chocolate bar (Green & Black type, 90/100g) £2.00 € 2.00 £1.77  – 12%
Complete dog food, dry (5 kilo) £10.00 € 15 £13.24  + 32%
Laundry detergent (40 washes) £4.50 € 9.00 £7.94  + 77%
Kitchen roll, 4-pack £2.20 € 1.19 £1.05  – 52%

Thankfully, Ireland isn’t one of those countries where you’ll need to haggle in the market. Unless you’re buying a house, that is! Read How to Negotiate Abroad to get the best deal possible from your estate agent.

Travel

In Ireland’s cities you will be able to get around relatively easy by bus, but outside the cities public transport becomes a lot less regular. Ireland ripped up the majority of its railways in the last century, but is still pretty good between the major cities. Many of the journeys are non-stop and tickets are affordable. For the purposes of our Index, we chose the route from Greystones to Connolly Station in Dublin, return. Unlike with our London to Brighton route, if you choose to stay in Dublin you’ll pay half, €6.20, which seems a lot fairer!

If you want to travel to smaller, rural locations, you will have to drive or catch a coach. Depending on where you’re travelling to, there may only be one bus a day, in which case consider booking in advance.

It’s possible to drive to most places in Ireland in an afternoon. As Ireland doesn’t produce its own brand of cars, and therefore every vehicle must be imported – the cost of buying a new car is much higher than the UK. Although we’re still unsure what will happen with the border post-Brexit, currently it can work out cheaper to pop to Northern Ireland or to the UK to buy a used car, even when you factor in the taxes you will have to pay to bring the vehicle into the country.

Travel UK Prices £ Ireland in € Ireland in £ More/less expensive in Ireland
1 litre petrol (unleaded) £1.30 € 1.44 £1.27  – 2%
Car hire, small car, 1 week £124 £24.49 £21.62  – 83%
Return train fare, London to Brighton equivalent, off peak, adult, booked that morning. £26 € 12.40 £10.94  – 58%
Car tax, electric/hybrid, 1 year £140 € 170 £150.04  + 7%

In the home

There are three IKEAs this side of the Irish Sea – two in Dublin and one in Belfast. You can also get an Amazon delivery in the Republic of Ireland, which is free on orders over £25.

In the home UK Prices £ Ireland in € Ireland in £ More/less expensive in Ireland
Paying a domestic cleaner – per hour £12.50 € 15 £13.24  + 6%
White Dulux emulsion, or equivalent (2.5 litre) £14.00 € 25.95 £22.90  + 64%
Ikea “Billy” bookcase (80x28x202 cm) £35.00 € 45 £39.72  + 13%
Samsung TV, 55” £549.00 € 740 £653.13  + 19%
Alexa echo dot £35.00 € 59.99 £52.95  + 51%
Electricity (per kilowatt hour) £0.13 € 0.14 £0.12  – 5%
Home broadband, no data limit (per month) £23.00 € 55 £48.54  + 111%

At your leisure…

Given Ireland is a country known to love a tipple, the price of booze might come as a shock when you first move to Ireland. Certain products are also lumped with an excise duty which can add as much as €3 to every bottle of wine, and as much as €8 to a packet of cigarettes (before VAT!).

Ireland is the fifth most expensive place for an alcoholic drink in Europe, and the most expensive place for non-alcoholic drink. Dublin is the most expensive corner of the country, both to live and to buy a pint – don’t expect to get a Guinness for less than €5. However, locate yourself outside of Ireland’s big cities and you’ll see pub prices drop significantly.

Leisure UK Prices £ Ireland in € Ireland in £ More/less expensive in Ireland
Cappuccino in local café £2.80 € 3.00 £2.65  – 5%
Bottle of Coke Zero from local shop (500ml) £1.50 € 1.09 £0.96  – 36%
Pain au chocolat in café £1.90 € 2.80 £2.47  + 30%
Big Mac/quarter pounder cheeseburger £3.09 € 4.30 £3.80  + 23%
Bottle of house wine in local mid-range restaurant £17.95 € 39 £34.42  + 92%
Draft beer in bar (500ml) £2.20 € 3 £2.65  + 20%
3 course meal in mid-range restaurant (ex drinks) £27.00 € 42 £37.07  + 37%
Tip for meal (above) £3.00 € 4.20 £3.71  + 24%
Cinema ticket (one) £11.00 € 11.20 £9.89  – 10%
Spotify Premium subscription, per month £10.00 € 9.99 £8.82  – 12%
Amazon Prime, per month £8.00 € 5.99 £5.29  – 34%
Daily Newspaper (equivalent to Times) £1.80 € 2.20 £1.94  + 8%
Women’s Running shoes, mid-range, Nike £105.00 € 130 £114.74  + 9%
Paperback fiction book £9.00 € 11.99 £10.58  + 18%
SuperMario Kart for Nintendo Switch £43.00 € 49.99 £44.12  + 3%

Healthcare

If you’re eligible for a Medical Card you won’t pay for dental check ups or prescription charges.

Healthcare UK Prices £ Ireland in € Ireland in £ More/less expensive in Ireland
Dentist – basic NHS check up, no other work £22.70 € 45.00 £39.72  + 75%
16 paracetamol tablets (generic) £0.68 € 2.39 £2.11  + 210%
Prescription charge (working person) £9.00 € 2.00 £1.77  – 80%

Children

Children UK Prices £ Ireland in € Ireland in £ More/less expensive in Ireland
Nappies, medium-sized, Pampers-type (each) £0.10 € 0.19 £0.17  + 68%
Calpol (or equivalent), age 6 plus £3.50 € 4.80 £4.24  + 21%
Children’s swim at local pool £3.00 € 5 £4.41  + 47%

Other costs

Grafton Street, Dublin (jamegaw / Shutterstock.com)

Other UK Prices £ Ireland in € Ireland in £ More/less expensive in Ireland
Women’s jeans – mid- range, Zara-type £26.00 € 29.95 £26.43  + 2%
Hotel: mid-range, one midweek night for  two £72.00 € 108 £95.32  + 32%
Finance – cost of a basic bank account, no overdraft facility. £6.00 € 4.50 £3.97  – 34%
Men’s haircut, old-fashioned type barber £12.00 € 18 £15.89  + 32%

Download the Ireland Buying Guide today

The Ireland Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to:


  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying in Ireland

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