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Cost of Living For Students

This information is intended as an outline guide to some of the costs of living as a student in Ireland. No two people will live in the same way, so it is impossible to say exactly how much anyone needs. ICOS estimates that for a nine-month academic year, in addition to course fees and other academic expenses an international student living in Ireland will need approximately 9950. University College Dublin (UCD) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) make annual estimates for students living outside their family home. Their estimates for the academic year 2003-2004 are 9036 and 10 500 respectively. These figures include rent, electricity, food, books and laundry and medicine as well as travel and social life expenses.

Although some people might be able to manage on less than these costings, these figures are near the minimum needed to survive. Costs should be increased proportionately if you are calculating costs for a period of one full year.

Accommodation is probably the largest item of expenditure for most students. You have basically three choices:

1. On-campus accommodation:
This is now becoming easier to obtain. All universities have halls of residence, generally in the form of apartments for 6 to 8 students, with a private bedroom and shared kitchen, living room and bathroom. Average price of a room in a student block or 'village' is 100 per week. Utilities such as lighting may be extra.

2. Accommodation with a family
You can live as a paying guest in an Irish home, where you have your own room with space to study, but otherwise share the house with the family. Morning and evening meals will be provided, but you will have to pay for a light midday meal on campus (about 25 a week). There are no extra charges for heat, light etc., and some of your laundry will be done. An average weekly charge will be around 95- 120.

3. Self-catering accommodation
If you choose self-catering accommodation, there is a wide range of quality and price. Cheapest is a small bed-sitting room with limited cooking facilities, usually in a converted older house, where you share the bathroom with the other tenants. A 'flatlet' (sometimes called a bedsit) will probably have its own mini-kitchen and shower, but this can vary. Prices range between 380 - 700 per month.

Setting yourself up in self-catering accommodation can be quite expensive. You will have to pay deposits and connection charges for gas and/or electricity. The cost varies from 100 (small bedsit) to 380 (large apartment), and is refundable, or offset against your bill. However, if you set up a standing order to pay your bill, you might not need to pay a deposit.

You will have to supply your own bedding and maybe a few kitchen items, allow about 90.

Television rental will cost about 15 - 26 per month. A TV licence costs 152.

Heating and Lighting:
As Ireland is quite a cold and wet country during the winter months you should allow about 57 - 140 a month. Lighting for the average flat may also be higher than you might be used to: the sun in wintertime rises at about 8.30am and sets at 4.30pm!

Some students rely on public phones because of the sometimes high initial costs of telephone connection and deposit ( 125 - 200). If the previous tenant had a land line however, reconnection might be free of charge: see, for details. In many houses which are divided into flats or bedsits, there is a shared public phone in the hall. An alternative might be to purchase a mobile phone which is quite cheap to buy and operate. For shorter term stays, a pre-paid arrangement is probably the best option. See for more details.

Insurance for student possessions is quite limited. Two companies, Saxon Insurance and Endsleigh, do provide limited cover at reasonable prices.

Saxon Insurance
c/o Wright Group Ltd
Corn Market Wexford
Phone: +353-53-41153
Fax: +353-53-41345

Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited
Dominick Court
41 Lower Dominick Street
Dublin 1
Phone: +353-1-8781022

Food and Household Items:
Including some meals bought on campus or in cheaper restaurants, you will probably spend between 50 - 70 a week on these items.

The average journey on a bus in Dublin is about 1.25 but weekly and monthly bus tickets can be bought at a discounted price if you have a Student TravelCard. See for more details. Many students also cycle in Dublin and there are road lanes dedicated to bicycles only.

Social life:
Cinema tickets cost about 7.50 and theatre tickets are slightly more. Depending on the venue, entrance fees to nightclubs vary between 7 and 15. A pint of beer in Dublin costs about 4.00 and a glass of wine about the same. Cigarettes are expensive at 5.96 for a packet of 20 but this expense depends on your lifestyle. There is a ban on smoking in the workplace in Ireland which came into effect on March 29th 2004. This means that smoking is now prohibited in bars and restaurants.

Miscellaneous Costs:
Allowing for occasional illness such as colds or influenza, medical expenses might amount to about 13 per month on average. Postage costs 48c for letters within Ireland and 65c for letters to the rest of the world. Newspapers cost between 63c and 1.52, but are sold more cheaply in Student Union shops on campus.

Further advice for non-EU / non-EEA students:
Cashback Tax-Free Shopping: Non-EU / non-EEA visitors to Ireland are entitled to tax-free shopping when buying goods to be brought home. The only way to reclaim your tax is through the Cashback system at the airports before you leave Ireland.

Tax will only be returned on goods bought in the final two months of your visit. Each time you purchase goods to take home, you must go to the Customer Service Desk in that shop and ask for Cashback vouchers. Keep these vouchers safe until the day of your departure. On some items e.g. clothing and footwear, you can save around 9%; on gifts and jewellery, the saving is 20% of shop prices. Further information at all department stores or at

Source: International Education Board Ireland

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