Dublin is a popular city to live, work and study – and its popularity is growing. This means that finding comfortable, affordable student accommodation can be challenging. Things are improving, however. New laws to control rent and encourage more building are coming into effect; with a bit of planning and persistence, you can find a great place to live at a price you can afford.
There’s no way around it, Dublin is expensive. But with a bit of savvy budgeting, it is affordable. Here’s an overview of what it might cost you to live here.
Your biggest outlays are likely to come at the beginning of your stay, when you are establishing yourself in a new home. Make sure you have enough money to cover these upfront expenses.
You may need to stay in a hostel or guest house while you are looking for a place to rent.
This is a deposit paid at the beginning of your rental contract. There are no legal guidelines as to how much a rental bond should be, but the equivalent of one month’s rent is typical.
Electricity, gas, broadband & mobile connection fees
Typically, your electricity and gas will already be connected when you move into a rented room or apartment. If you do need to have the electricity connected, Electric Ireland charges a €80 fee (including VAT) to do so.
A broadband connection may also be included in your rental agreement. You must arrange a connection yourself if it isn’t. The upfront costs of a broadband connection can range from zero to over €200, depending on your provider. Compare plans at the Commission for Communications Regulation, a government agency that promotes pricing transparency for the industry.
Basic furniture and homewares
Many rented rooms and apartments in Dublin come furnished, but not all. If you need to buy furniture, you might consider a second-hand purchase. There are second-hand furniture dealers across Dublin, or browse Gumtree and Adverts.ie
Rent can vary widely between different types of accommodation. In general, sharing with others is cheaper than living alone and living in an apartment is cheaper than a house. No matter how you slice it, this is likely to be your largest single expense, so it pays to give it some thought.
Rental prices for on-campus accommodation differs between universities. These can range from €500 to more than €1,000 per month. Generally, they are charged as a lump sum per semester. Visit the relevant university’s site for the most up-to-date rates:
- Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
- University College Dublin (UCD)
- Dublin College University (DCU)
- Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)
- National College of Art and Design (NCAD)
- Griffith College
- Independent College Dublin
- National College of Ireland
- Dorset College
Sharing a room is probably your best bet for low-cost accommodation in Dublin. Numbeo, a crowd-sourced cost of living database, tracks the monthly rent of one and three bedroom apartments inside and outside of the city centre:
- One-bedroom apartment (city centre) – €1,515.54
- One-bedroom apartment (outside of centre) – €1,261.78
- Three-bedroom apartment (city centre) – €2,670.26
- Three-bedroom apartment (outside of centre) – €2,096.06
Updated June 2018
You never need resort to the ramen-only diet in Dublin. Savvy shoppers can pile-up on delicious, nourishing food at decent prices.
There’s no shortage of supermarkets in Dublin including Supervalu, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes Stores. Unfortunately, there are no Irish websites comparing grocery prices regularly. However, you can find detailed, crowd-sourced prices at Numbeo and Expatistan to give you an idea of what you’re in for.
Need something late at night or in a hurry? Dublin is dotted with convenience stores. Naturally, they have a smaller range and higher prices than the supermarkets – but they are handy in a pinch. Keep an eye out for these names when you’re in a bind: SPAR, Centra, Londis, Mace, Gala, Costcutter, Applegreen.
You can move across the world, but the bills will you be waiting for you when you arrive. Here’s what you’ll be looking at in terms of utilities, phone and internet in Dublin.
Basic utilities include electricity, heating, gas, water and garbage collection. Your utility bill will differ depending on your living arrangements. Sometimes your landlord will include these in the price of your rent. Often, you will have to pay for these yourself or chip in with your roommates. Numbeo and Expatistan put the cost of basic utilities for one person, living alone, between €100 and €150 per month depending on your living space.
Once again, if you’re living with others you’ll be able to split your broadband bill. If you have to make a connection by yourself you may be looking at around €40 – €50 per month. Bonkers and Switcher can help you find the best broadband deals.
Clothes and shoes
Obviously, the price of clothes can vary greatly from store to store. That mainstay of the student wardrobe – jeans and a top – is as good a yardstick as any. A pair of women’s Levis at Debenhams will cost you between €60 and €100, while a casual top from H&M can range anywhere from €15 to €50. Love a bargain? Drop into Penneys’ Mary Street store – flagship for Primark’s Europe-wide fleet.
We have some student specific advice below for getting around, but we’d also recommend reading our dedicated guide.
Dublin has the world’s fourth most expensive public transport system, according to Expatistan. That said, you can slash your transport costs by buying a Student Leap Card. It allows you to use the public transport system at will and at a deep discount. You’ll also receive reductions on a bunch of fashion, food and entertainment brands. Nice one! A Student Leap Card costs €10, and you can load it with as much credit as you need to get around.
You can pick up a reliable, second-hand vehicle for under €5,000. Depending on your experience and age however, insurance may be expensive. You can get up to date fuel prices at Pumps.
You’ve got a roof over your head, food on the table, broadband in the cables and a phone in your pocket. Time to celebrate! If you’re heading for the pub, a pint of beer will cost approx €5 – 6, while a Guinness should be slightly cheaper. Most pubs offer non-alcoholic alternatives so make sure to ask the staff. A bottle of decent wine from a supermarket or off licence will set you back between €10 and €20.
Restaurants run the full gamut from inexpensive holes in the wall to sumptuous dining experiences. A good rule of thumb for eating out is the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac (so much so that it’s the basis for a popular price index that compares purchasing power between different currencies). You’re looking at about €4 for the iconic burger. Dinner for two at a local pub will cost in and around €35. Three courses for two people at a mid-range restaurant will set you back €60 – €70.
Hitting the clubs in a taxi? Fares start at about €4 and are charged at about €1 – €2 per kilometre. Check your fare before you go with Transport for Ireland’s fare estimator.
Dublin is a compact and highly walkable city which is also well served with public transport. A number of its colleges and universities, including Trinity College (TCD), NCAD and The Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) are located in the heart of the city centre. Others, like UCD, DCU and DIT are situated nearby. Maynooth is in itself a university town. Here’s a rundown of how to get to them. City centre universities & colleges Trinity College Dublin (TCD) TCD is located in central Dublin. Its campus is serviced by a full range of public transport, including mainline railway
Your first days in a new city can shape your overall experience. With that in mind, here’s a short checklist of things to do shortly after you arrive. Ticking them off will help you have a fun and hassle-free time in your new city.