Immigrants’ guide to living in Dublin
2019-08-01 12:17:23 -
If you are a recent immigrant to Dublin, chances are you’re still finding your way around. As such, it probably wouldn’t hurt for a brief list of tips and tricks on how to navigate the city like a local to be part of your morning read. By Anantika Khindaria

Your rights in Ireland

As a migrant, you cannot legally be disrespected because of your background. The Equal Status Act and Employment Equalities Act ban discrimination on the basis of gender, civil/family status. religion, race, sexual orientation, age and disability.

If you are an Irish or a European citizen, you already have the right to live and work in Ireland. Otherwise, you will need a special employment permit to work in Ireland and should register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau for permission to live in Ireland. You will be issued with a visa stamp, which are numbered from 0 to 6, each with different privileges and issues under different circumstances. See for more on these, and for additional information you can call the Immigration Council of Ireland at 01 6740200 or Migrant Rights Centre Ireland at 01 889 7570.

To qualify for citizenship (become naturalised) you must have five consecutive years of residence in the State. If you are a declared refugee or are married to an Irish citizen, you can apply after three years.

Be aware that while previously one was allowed to be out of Ireland for up to six weeks in the year before making a citizenship application, a recent High Court ruling means this is no longer possible, and prospective applicants would have to remain within Ireland’s borders until the Dáil legislates for an alternative arrangement.

Irish citizenship grants you the ability to apply for an Irish passport, vote in all Irish elections and have access to all State support services.

If you do not want to apply for citizenship, you may still qualify for long-term residence. To apply, schedule an appointment with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (must be made through email to

Housing matters

Dublin is in the midst of a housing crisis and finding a place to live will require a stroke of luck, and picking up on word of mouth. is the main website for lettings; may also have useful listings.
The Residential Tenancies Board ( can inform you of “your rights as a tenant, to check if your tenancy is registered, to get information on how to protect your security deposit or to find out more about their dispute resolution service”.

An organisation called Threshold provides advice and information for dealing with problems during your tenancy, and support for those at risk of homelessness. Visit for more.


You may already have work lined up, a contract signed and all your paperwork in order. Otherwise, if you’ve come here looking for a job and have a legal right to work here, visit or to explore vacancies. Intreo centres are also an important resource to help jobseekers access the labour market. To find your nearest centre visit

Don’t forget you need to obtain a Personal Public Service (PPS) number to help you access various benefits and services. You can find out more through or from your nearest Intreo centre.

Cultural norms

17 March is St Patrick’s Day, the national holiday of Ireland. Celebrated throughout the world, its namesake, St Patrick, brought Christianity to the island in the fifth century. Supposedly, St Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. Each year 17 March commemorates his passing.
Pub culture is large in Ireland, but it is important to recognise that it is about more than just drinking. Typically pubs are casual meeting spots, where friends and coworkers can gather to share a pint at the end of a workday or kickstart weekend festivities. And it’s also worth bearing in mind that Ireland has plenty of non-drinkers, too, who socialise in other places.

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is the largest amateur sports organisation in Ireland. The primary aim of the GAA is to promote the Gaelic games of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders. Of these, Gaelic football and hurling are the most popular; hurling is the fastest recorded field sport in the world. There are approximately 2,500 GAA clubs in Ireland, and they are all community-driven.

Time keeping and thanking people are two unspoken cultural etiquettes here. It could appear that being on time is not prioritised among many in Ireland, as a meeting arranged for 8pm may not see anyone arrive before 8.15 at the earliest. But really, Irish people are likely to be as punctual as those anywhere else, and expect the same from you. What is almost universal, however, is that Irish people will customarily say “thank you” or “thanks a million” in almost all scenarios, such as to the bus driver when exiting the bus.


The four main political parties in Ireland are Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein.
While at least some of the parties resist being defined as left or right-wing, it could be broadly said that the Labour Party and Sinn Fein lean at various degrees to the left, Finn Gael leans to the right and Fianna Fail is centre-right.


What part of Ireland you come from seems to hold a lot of merit for people here. 

Thirty-two counties make up the entirety of the island, with 26 being in the Republic and six being in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. There are also four provinces, named Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. Six of Ulster’s counties are in Northern Ireland, the other three in the Republic.

County differences are most evident during GAA matches, where fans wear the colours of their county.


The easiest and most common way around the city is the Dublin Bus system. It takes coins or the Leap card (a discounted student version of which can be issued at Trinity College). The Leap card can also be used on the Luas tram and Dart trains, and can be purchased from any shop displaying the green Leap sign. Buses run regularly till 11.30pm and can be tracked using the Dublin Bus app.

All bus stops in Dublin are request stops. If you see a bus approaching that you want to get on, you should hold your arm out to let the driver know to stop for you. Pressing the ‘Stop’ button on board lets the driver know when and where to let you off, but it is customary to make your way to the front of the bus (or the middle doors, depending on the bus) before it has come to a stop. It can be a bit treacherous walking down the steep, narrow stairs from the upper floor, so hold on to the rails!

History spotlight

It is always an added bonus if you are familiar with some of the history of a new country you are in, because this knowledge lends itself to explaining why certain things are the way they are.

For instance, though not the national anthem, The Fields of Athenry is an unofficial anthem sung at many sporting events. It recounts the story of a man who is caught stealing food during the Great Famine and is shipped off to a penal colony in Australia.

Also, the Irish flag was not regarded to be the national flag until it was raised above the General Post Office during the Easter Rising of 1916. The flag was then adopted by the Irish Republic during its war of independence in 1919 and subsequently by the Irish Free State. It was given constitutional status under the 1937 Constitution, which established the Republic of Ireland.

It’s been said that the green section in the flag symbolises the older majority Gaelic tradition of Ireland, made up mainly of Roman Catholics, the orange represents the mainly Protestant minority, while the white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the two cultures and living together in peace.

More information

For detailed information, advice and advocacy on anything about public and social services, visit the Citizens Information website at, drop in to the voluntary network of Citizens Information Centres nationwide or call 0761 07 4000. 

Restaurants that may remind you of home...

Bondiola Argentina
53 Haddington Road, 
Dublin 4
01 667 5692,

His Food
Moore Street Mall, 58-66 Parnell Street, Dublin 1

M & L Chinese
13/14 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1
01 874 8038,

Madina Desi Curry
60 Mary Street, Dublin 1
01 872 6007,

15 Capel Street, 
Dublin 1 (and 5 
other locations)
01 532 8068,

Damascus Gate 
10 Camden Street 
Upper, Dublin 2
01 475 2000,

El Grito
20 Mountjoy Square East, 
Dublin 1
01 558 4717, 
El Grito Mexican Taqueria 
on Facebook

Kathmandu Kitchen
8 Dame Street, Dublin 2 
and The Mall, Malahide
01 6111706, 
01 8456141,

KK Kitchen
Unit 44, Coolmine 
Industrial Estate, Dublin 15
KK Kitchen Blanchardstown on Facebook
Akanchawa’s Honey Pot, 
Unit 39, Coolmine Industrial 
Estate, Dublin 15
01 860 2898, Akanchawa’s Honey Pot on Facebook

North African
Moro Kitchen
21 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2
01 475 8816,

Pho Viet
162 Parnell Street, Dublin 1
01 878 3165,

West African
Heritage Confectionery
St Edmundsbury, 
Lucan, Co Dublin
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