So, you read my previous post in this series, First Thing’s First: Top 3 things to do upon arriving to live in Ireland, and you have:
Now what? Well, here are the next three things to do in your first day or week of living in Ireland:
4) Find a place to live.
5) Set up your utilities.
6) Get a mobile phone.
Don’t worry, I’ll talk you through the process. Here we go…
1) Find a place to live. If you are like most newcomers, you are living in a hotel or perhaps lucky enough to be staying in a friend’s guest room, but either way you probably want to settle in, unpack, and make yourself a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. Getting your own place is just what you need. Daft.ie and Rent.ie are two of the most popular online resources for lettings (aka, rentals), sales, and property opportunities. You can set your search criteria (be sure to select ‘furnished’ unless you are ready to make a trip to IKEA in Ballymun/Dublin). You can even search for available parking spaces to rent in your area. I find that once I have search results, I like to compare within a map since it’s all about location, location, location. Now, if only the map would highlight bus routes! When we first moved here, an apartment was found within 24 hours. It wasn’t perfect, but it was in a convenient location and had two bedrooms AND two bathrooms. Before you sign your lease, consider this ‘wish list’ of amenities to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything:
Washing Machine / Dryer (usually an efficiency combo in the kitchen)
Oven and Range
Refrigerator and Freezer
Double-glazed Windows (makes a difference with both temperature and noise insulation)
Wired for Internet and Cable Television
Refuse and Recycling Included (this means you put your trash and recycling in their bins and it gets taken away)
Secure Storage or Parking for Bicycles (not common, but worth asking if you have a bike)
Parking (this is not standard and some places you’ll need to explore a resident’s permit)
2) Set up your utilities. This includes refuse (if not included), electricity/gas, Internet, and cable television. Bord Gáis is the leading energy provider though some go with Airtricity. Chorus UPC and Eircom are the big contenders for Internet. Sky is the popular cable option. We don’t have a TV so I am at a loss for cable provider advice. If you choose to have a TV set, you need a TV Licence.
3) Get a mobile phone. There are a multitude of options, but keep in mind that if you just moved to Ireland you do not have a credit history here (as I learned last year, read all about it). So, your first, and easiest, option is pay-as-you-go. This isn’t like ‘burner phones’ in the States that earned a reputation for being used in shady deals from their popularity on the TV series ‘The Wire’. Respectable people use the pay-as-you-go plan (we did for the first two years). If you want a smart phone (like iPhone or Android), data can gobble up your credit so pay-as-you-go works well if you have WiFi at home (even better if you have WiFi at work and your hangouts). Of course, if you just want a phone to have with you for safety or convenience (calling and texting only), pay-as-you-go will do nicely. Now, the big contenders for mobile phones here are: 3 Mobile; Vodafone; O2; and Meteor.
I realize that perhaps you may need to take care of these tasks before the first three in the series since the bank will want an address to let you open an account, but this list of six is certainly something to set aside a day or two and take care of immediately upon arrival as a new resident in Ireland.