A costly adventure

Thought I’d give you an idea of how ridiculously expensive things are here in Ireland! I mean, I was warned, but still, I could never have imagined! The fact that a muffin in a coffee shop will run you a minimum of 2 euro ($3.24 Canadian) has largely contributed to the culture shock that I’m feeling!! A regular coffee will cost you about the same as the muffin, so imagine paying $6.48 for a coffee and a muffin in the morn! Oi…Of course, me being the bargain hunter that I am, I managed to find some great deals (for here); they have a “recession busting” (the word recession can be heard much more often here of course) combo for 2.50 at Insomnia (for a limited time, of course)! I must say that the coffee is divine here though…mmmm…but no cream anywhere (including grocery stores who only sell heavy cream in weird plastic containers that once you open, go bad after 3 days…) so get used to the idea of switching to milk! I’m not used to it yet, but I’m getting there.

The equivalent of a dollar store here is a 2 euro store (don’t forget that all the amounts I quote contain the evil 21.5% sales tax, which, up north in the UK, is only 15%) — so you are paying almost three times what you’d pay back home for a dollar store spatula 😉

Perhaps most shocking has been the price of groceries and the price of a meal in a restaurant. On average, to purchase ONE apple in a grocery store will cost you 0.50 ($0.81) and the price of a burger in a sit down restaurant, no chips, no drinks, is on average 9 euro ($14.58)!!! If you want to eat something that is actually healthy, be prepared to pay at least 14 euro ($22.67)…I have found a few cheaper options but not many!! For fruit and veggies, Lidl (a German chain of grocery stores) is the place to go and for the rest, Tescos! Luckily I can walk to both from my place.

As for public transportation, I was considering purchasing a bus pass as it takes me between 30 to 40 minutes to walk to the heart of the city centre but I quickly changed my mind when I found out that a regular adult bus pass here is 100 euro ($162)!!!! The bus fare is really confusing too, the farther you go, the more you pay (it is calculated in stages) and if you need to transfer to another bus, you pay again! Say what you will about OC Transpo, it’s a MUCH better deal than here!! That’s ok, it’ll make me walk more 😉

I came across the following little blurb in the Dubliner today:

Abandon All Euros

… ye who cross the canals

So, it’s statistically true – we are getting screwed on prices here in Dublin, versus the rest of the country. On average, prices are 4.4% higher in the capital than outside, with services being considered “significantly higher”, according to the CSO’s most recent report.

Accordingly, some bloggers are suggesting that people would be well advised to avoid “Dublin as much as possible” and stick to the metropolises of Athy, Dunmanway and Tubbercurry.

Take getting a swift dry haircut within the Pale: it’s going to cost you 18.8% more than in the sticks. And if you’re going to go the whole hog and get the full wash, cut and blow-dry, it will knock you back a staggering 47.7% more than the national average.

On the other hand, that haircut will probably not consist of a mullet that goes great with a GAA jersey and some missing teeth, so it’s not all bad living within the city limits.”


Guess I’ll wait to get me hair cut (they often say “me” instead of “my” here, I like it!) when I go to Northern Ireland with my cousin!!

I also came across the following article:

Ireland ranked fourth most expensive country in the world; EU proposes ways to deliver lower food prices in Europe

By Finfacts Team

Dec 10, 2008 – 3:51:15 PM


Ireland has been ranked fourth in most expensive country in the world, coming in ahead of Sweden, Finland and England. The ranking is an increase from last year, when the country was ranked sixth most expensive. Meanwhile, the European Commission has agreed a Communication that aims to improve the functioning of the food supply chain in order to lower prices for consumers.

The list, which was issued by UK price comparison website Pricerunner.co.uk, shows that England has slipped down the list of the world’s most expensive countries as prices of essential and luxury items plunge, according to the report, and is now ranked as seventh — falling from second place last year. 

Last month, the UK government cut VAT from 17.5%c to 15% while the Irish rate was raised to 21.5%.

England is now cheaper than Denmark, France, Sweden and Finland in the sixth annual international price comparison ranking.

Norway is the world’s most expensive country for the second year running and China has retained its position as the cheapest overall.

The ranking of 23 countries is based on the prices of basic items such as milk and coffee, popular consumer gadgets, and travel and entertainment goods like petrol, bus tickets, cinema tickets and DVDs.

Peter Carlsson, general manager of PriceRunner.co.uk, said: “For the first time in the study’s history, Britain was not the most expensive for any product.”

The price of games consoles dropped the most in England in the last year, with an Xbox 360 decreasing by almost 60pc (£100) in the year to October, Playstation 3s dropping 16% and Nintendo Wiis falling by 7%.

The difference in price between the most expensive country, Norway, and the cheapest, China, is more than 60% is some cases.

A Big Mac costs the equivalent of €3.73 in Norway and €1.21 in Shanghai, China’s largest city.

This represents a 68% price difference between the two countries but the disparity in earnings is likely to be greater.

One of the few items to rise in price in England was cigarettes, with 20 Marlboro Lights now costing the equivalent of €6.35 — up from €6.09 last year.

The 10 most expensive countries are:

1. Norway

2. Denmark

3. France

4. Ireland

5. Sweden

6. Finland

7. England

8. Netherlands

9. Austria

10. Spain

For the rest of the story, have a look here: http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1015498.shtml

So the moral of the story, make sure you bring LOTS of savings if you decide to move here and most of all, prepare yourself mentally!!!



6 Responses to A costly adventure

  1. shannon says:

    i feel your pain on the euros. norway last year was a real eye opener in terms of what you get for your money. everything in sweden was almost half the price of norway, and sweden’s still at #5. it helped a lot that we made friends with people who worked in bars! haha. when i come to visit i will smuggle in some cheap snacks! 🙂

  2. europilote says:

    You mean BOYS who work in bars, surely, I know you missy!! Hehe.

    Mmmmm, cheap snacks! We’ll have such a good time!! 🙂

  3. Kat says:

    wow, and they say Canada is heavily taxed — 21.5% sales tax?? yikes

  4. Lisa says:

    Hi Sharlène!

    Just catching up on your adventures now that I’m back from Australia. I’m glad to see that you are settling in and were able to meet up with Dan.

    I thought I’d let you know my culture shock: in Australia, muffins are $5 each!!!!!! Small bottles of water were typically $3, sometimes $2 if you looked hard enough. I couldn’t get over the prices there, particularly of food. However, I was at least able to indulge my love of lattes… At $4-5 each, at least those prices were normal!

    Happy Irish adventures,


  5. europilote says:

    Wowie, that’s nuts!! At least you don’t have to tip EVER there 😉 Glad you had such a great time in Australia!!

  6. Pop says:

    Quelles belles photos Shar et j’aime beaucoup les commentaires; c’est comme si j’étais là avec toi ! N’oublie l’opera haus à Vienne si tu peux y aller tu ne le regretteras pas.

    Grosses bises,

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