Area: 70,280 sq km
Climate: temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time
Population: 4 203 200 (July 2009 est.)
Languages: English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official) spoken mainl
Government type: republic, parliamentary democracy
National holiday: 17th March, Saint Patrick's Day
Currency: Euro (EUR). 1 EUR = 1.40 USD
GDP: $ 208.3 billion (2010 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $37,600 (2010 est.)
Information for Foreign Students in Ireland
Aplying for a visa
For nationals of EU countries (the Schengen Agreement), it is not necessary to apply for a visa but an ID card is required. For nationals not living in an EU country, it is not necessary to obtain a visa.
Finding an accommodation in Ireland can be rather complex. Dublin is a relatively small city, and quite populated (more than a quarter of the Irish population lives there). There are several options for an accommodation: you can choose to live either with an Irish family (apartment for 4 to 6 students for 280 euros not including electricity), either in a university hall (rent of 450 euros) with Internet access. To find an accommodation off campus, please visit the following website: http://www.daft.ie.
Ireland and the United Kingdom being part of the European Union, residents of other EU countries can be treated freely in the emergency department of public hospitals, in the South as in the Northern Ireland. The only requirement is to hold a European health insurance card. Otherwise, you should pay in advance the costs of hospitalization. In case of a private medical consulting, medical costs are reimbursed to the insured people of an EU country either after their return by their social assurance center, either in Ireland after presentation of their European card.
Opening a bank account
Should you open a bank account in Ireland? In fact, it depends on the exchange rate applied by your bank. In general, if you are a European Union citizen, your bank does not charge fees for withdrawals and payments by card in the euro zone. AIB Bank will meet your expectations. Numerous cash machines accept payment cards (Visa and Mastercard), offering better rates than money exchange offices. If the pound isn't easily accepted in Eire, the acceptance of euro in Ulster is increasing. As a precaution, bring with you a few pounds before arriving in Ulster.
It is strongly advised to buy a mobile phone. Vodafone, O2, and especially Météor offer interesting pay as you go. At Meteor, you can buy a basic mobile phone for 60 euros, which will be refunded by giving you phone credit. For calls to foreign countries, the best option is probably to use Skype. University halls also offer phone cards for international calls; for 5 euros, you can call for about 4 hours to a landline within the European Union.
The most common and easiest way to travel to Ireland is by plane. There are two low cost companies to travel to Ireland: the Republic of Ireland national airline company Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Both are very competitive. If you book your ticket well in advance, you should spend between 30 and 60 euros for a return ticket from Western or Central Europe. These companies also offer numerous connections with provincial towns. If you need to travel with a lot of stuff, then you can take the ferry or the bus: For more information, please consult the following websites: www.irishferries.com ; www.eurolines.com To get informed about the train network, please visit the following websites: www.irishrail.ie and www.translink.co.uk ; and about the bus network www.buseireann.ie. The bus stops at your hand signal, even in the countryside.