In recent years, Ireland has become one of Europe's unlikely success stories. A picturesque island west of the UK with lush landscapes and rugged, stormy coasts, Ireland is attracting more and more expats not only with its wonderful scenery but also thanks to its recent economic growth and excellent standards of living.

The Emerald Isle, as it is sometimes poetically called, is home to fewer than 5 million people – almost half the population of New York City. Although infamous for its perpetually inclement weather, Ireland's cloudy forecasts don’t detract from the attractions of a country that boasts an impressive natural aesthetic and values a relaxed way of life.

A host of multinational companies that arrived during the country's economic boom of recent years brought with them a sizeable expat population. Many American and British expats are flocking to the country for its abundance of business opportunities and available jobs.  

The huge influx of foreigners does mean that the demand for housing and amenities has spiked dramatically resulting in a sharp rise in the country's, and especially Dublin's, cost of living. In fact, prices in the capital are now even comparable to major cities such as New York and London.

Expats moving to Ireland can expect excellent healthcare services and a good education for their children. Public schools in Ireland are free to all residents, including foreign residents, and many expats choose to send their children to public schools rather than expensive private and international schools. 

Ultimately, the upsides of living here far outweigh the downsides. Not only is it a lovely country to call home, but its convenient location makes it an excellent base for exploring the rest of Europe.

Fast facts

Population: About 4.8 million

Capital city: Dublin 

Neighbouring countries: The Republic of Ireland is situated on an island to the west of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, is on the north side of the island.

Geography: The coast of Ireland is rugged and mountainous, while the central area of the island consists of flat plains.

Political system: Unitary parliamentary republic

Major religions: Christianity

Main languages: English and Irish

Money: The Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents. ATMs and card services are readily available throughout the country.

Tipping: 10 to 15 percent in restaurants for good service, unless gratuity has already been added to the bill

Time: GMT +0 (GMT +1 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Three-pronged plugs with flat blades are standard.

International dialling code: +353

Emergency contacts: 112 or 999

Internet domain: .ie

Transport and driving: Ireland has a comprehensive public transport system, with buses being the most popular form of public transport. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road.