Study abroad in Ireland - The Land of Saints and Scholars

Ireland, an island nation in Europe, is a popular destination for foreign students. Its excellent universities provide one of the best courses in numerous fields. Post education, the country provides easy opportunity to work and settle. Learn from this article, why Ireland is an ideal study abroad destination.

The Land of Saints and Scholars

Ireland or the Republic of Ireland is a gem of a country for a student to experience educational excellence. No wonder, students from all over the world, including India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Africa and elsewhere come to Ireland for higher education. An island nation surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it has the island of Great Britain as its nearest neighbour. Even though ruled by the English for long, the country and its people have an identity of its own; its own language, culture, customs, music, dance, sports and human history dating back to 10,500 BC. On its north in the same island is Northern Ireland, which is a part of United Kingdom. The country has its capital in Dublin where most of the educational institutions and the industries are located. Other important cities like, Galway and the city of Cork are also blessed with a vibrant culture, historic architecture and universities of their own.

The Irish people – friendly and welcoming

Primarily Gaelic, the Irish are known for their toughness, warmth and friendliness. Even during adverse times, they are able to hold on to their wit and humour. Over the years, since the 16th century, they had to bear a troubled history under the English rulers. It was not until mid-20th century that Ireland could ultimately become a free nation. However, Northern Ireland continues to be part of the UK. Now that peace has prevailed in the region and Ireland is now part of the European Union, the country is experiencing economic prosperity like never before. The country is now home to many multinational companies. Foreign students are also coming in droves and many even settle here after completion of their education.

Why study here

Studying in Ireland has numerous advantages. Some of them are enumerated below.
  • The country has a good number of world-class institutions of higher learning.
  • Even though the official language is Irish Gaelic, the language spoken in Ireland is predominantly English. The streets and the official signs are marked both in Gaelic as well as English. Therefore, for international students from the Indian subcontinent and other places, where English is commonly spoken, language is not a barrier.
  • Ireland's rich history and culture provide the students the opportunity to learn from its long history, delve deep into its rich literary classics, enjoy the beautiful countryside and be part of its unique culture.
  • A number of examples of medieval architecture still survive that are a big attraction to the students and tourists alike.
  • For the adventure minded, its diverse landscapes provide for various activities like hiking and exploring.
  • Students are allowed to work here part-time for 20 hours a week. This way, the financial burden gets somewhat reduced.
  • Students are also allowed to stay back for a period of 2 years, post education, unlike UK and many other western nations. Those who wish to stay further, need to apply for a green card or a General Employment Permit.
  • The climate of Ireland is excellent, especially for students from tropical countries like the Indian subcontinent. Greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, the winters in Ireland are mild with no extreme temperatures. The summers are also cool, compared to continental Europe.

Universities in Ireland

Ireland has more than two dozen institutes of higher learning. It has 7 public universities and 14 institutes of technology, where one can seek admission. There are also nine private colleges that specialize on different subjects. Most of these colleges and universities are in Dublin, the country's administrative and financial capital. The rankings of all these universities at the international level is quite high. As per QS World University Rankings 2019, all seven universities rank among the top 700 in the world. The institutes of technology also rank very high. The institutes of technology specialize in offering vocational programs on areas as diverse as engineering, computing, hospitality, marketing, business, healthcare, media, pharmacy and so on. The universities on the other hand specialize in scores of fields such as technology, human rights, economics, humanities, natural sciences, material sciences, marine science, immunology and nanotechnology.

Listed below find the eight of the most famous universities and colleges in Ireland.
  1. Trinity College Dublin
  2. National University of Ireland Galway
  3. University College Dublin
  4. Dublin City University
  5. University College Cork
  6. University of Limerick
  7. National University of Ireland Maynooth
  8. Dublin Institute of Technology

Top medical school in Ireland

In the medical field, Royal College of Ireland is the top medical school that figures among the top 500 medical schools in the world as per QS World University Rankings. Even though a small country, such is the popularity of the universities in Ireland that National University of Ireland Galway alone has more than 3,000 international students studying in its campus.

Cost of education in Ireland

Considering that Ireland is a prosperous country with a high standard of living, the cost of education In Ireland is a bit on the higher side. There are both undergraduate and graduate courses to choose from. Depending upon the program, the tuition fees may range from Euro 9,000 to Euro 45,000 annually. Europeans from EU have access to free education up to undergraduate level. For accommodation, one will have to shelve extra. Depending upon the city, you will have to pay around Euro 7,000 to Euro 12,000 on yearly basis. This includes lodging as well as food. As a student, you are allowed to work part time that will help you recover some of the expenses that you incur for your stay in Ireland.


There are a good number of scholarships available for international students to study in Ireland. These scholarships are offered by the Irish government, the education institutions and many other organisations. To avail them, the aspiring students need to visit the websites of these institutions and organisations directly and then apply for them.

Travel options in Ireland

Once in Ireland, you can avail of various travel modes to travel to and fro the country. Being a small country, it takes hardly 4 hours to traverse from one end to the other. One can also travel by air, train or bus. For international destinations, one needs to travel through Dublin airport. Ryanair, the national airline, provides for low cost services across the country and beyond.

Post education work

After completion of your education, it is easy to get a job in Ireland. Ever since Ireland became a member of the European Union, the country has seen many multinational companies coming to Ireland and setting up offices. Many technology companies like Google, Dell and the others have opened their headquarters in the country. This has resulted in a plethora of employment opportunities. Unlike its earlier avatar as a poor country of Europe, Ireland is now an economic powerhouse. Thus, a study abroad program in Ireland is a worthwhile option, especially for those looking forward to working and settling in a English speaking western country.

How to apply

International students from non-European Union countries seeking to study in Ireland need a long stay study visa also called the 'D' visa. But before applying for the study visa, you have to first apply for admission to your chosen university or college in Ireland. Once your application is accepted by the institute and your tuition fees are all paid, you can apply for the study visa. You should apply for the visa at least 3 months before your travel. The visa is to be applied online by visiting the website of Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. Pay the necessary visa processing fees and book an appointment for your visa interview. At the visa centre you will need to bring the following documents.

  1. College acceptance letter.
  2. Visa centre appointment letter.
  3. Receipt of visa processing fees.
  4. Marksheets, certificates and testimonials.
  5. IELTS score or English language proficiency certificate.
  6. A valid passport with sufficient validity period.
  7. Recent passport sized colour photographs.
  8. Signed summary of the application form.
  9. Evidence regarding ability to finance your study and stay in Ireland. You may submit your bank statement or your scholarship letter in case you have received one.
  10. Evidence regarding payment of tuition fees paid. You may submit a copy of the electronic transfer of funds.

While visiting the visa centre for the interview, carry true copies of all your documents along with the originals. Carry certified translated copies of your documents in case they are not in English. Book your flight tickets to Ireland only after your visa application is approved. While flying to Ireland, ensure you carry all your necessary documents like passport, visa and proof of your college admission. Only then will your dreams of studying abroad be fulfilled.

What next

After your arrival at Ireland, within the due dates you need to visit the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Centre office and register yourself by paying the necessary fees. Only then will you be issued with the residence permit.

Further information on Ireland, its people, colleges, cost of living and detailed application procedure can be obtained by going through this page on studying in Ireland.

Article by Dhruv
Dhruv is an electrical engineer by profession. Apart from liking his job, he has a special love for writing and has often dabbled in writing scripts for skits and short plays. As a Content Developer at ISC, Dhruv is having a whale of a time, showcasing his writing skills.

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