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Interview with Joanna – a Polish expat in Dublin

Updated 22 Feb 2010

Joanna moved from Poland to Dublin nearly four years ago to pursue a career and love life. The move was an easy one for her as she has been visiting Dublin since she was 19 years old and fell in love with it.

Read more in the Expat Arrivals Ireland country guide or read more expat experiences in Ireland.

About Joanna

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Krakow, Poland

Q: Where are you living now?

A:  Dublin, Ireland

Q: How long you have you lived here?

A:  3 and a half years

Q: Did you move with a spouse/children?

A: No

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?

A: I moved to push forward my career, because I had friends and a boyfriend here, because I used to spend summers in Dublin since I was 19 and I loved it then; I work as a manager in a private college and do some freelance interpreting/ translations

About Dublin

Q: What do you enjoy most about Dublin, how’s the quality of life in Ireland?

A: I like how compact Dublin City Centre is; you can walk or cycle everywhere. I like all the parks and squares, cafes and the huge variety of restaurants, shops and convenience stores, and also products you can get here. I find Dublin CC much cleaner than Krakow too. I think the quality of life high in general. Also – most administrative and legal matters (taxes etc.) are quite easy to grasp and sort.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?

A: Negatives: public transport (especially buses); the generally high cost of living (especially accommodation and entertainment/leisure); antisocial behaviour of some kids and teenagers; droves of drunk people at the weekends. What I miss about my city is the variety of cultural events and festivals (really, there aren’t that many in Dublin), and good clubs and pubs (with varied clientele, music, interior etc.) open till 7am. There is also only one cinema in the city centre which shows European and independent films!

Q: Is Dublin safe?

A: Generally yes, apart from the antisocial behaviour of some teens and drunk people. My wallet was stolen once, but apart from that I do feel safe in Dublin even when coming back home late at night alone.​​​​​​​

About living in Dublin

Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Dublin as an expat?

A:  If you want easy access to entertainment, shops etc. and you like walking, and don’t mind paying through the nose, then city centre (especially the southside, D2, D8) is the best. D6 (Rathmines, Ranelagh) and D4 (Donnybrook) are also convenient if you’d rather live in a house and don’t mind living a bit further out. Smithfield and D1 are also convenient. There isn’t any point in living out any further unless you have a car and kids.

Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in Dublin?

A: In general, I have lived in places of good to very good standard, but many flats/apartments in the centre are of quite low standard.

Q: What’s the cost of living in Ireland compared to Poland? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

A: The cost of living in Dublin is quite high. Cheap in particular: sales in shops are real sales (unlike in Krakow), nothing else comes to mind… Expensive: entertainment/leisure/eating out, but you can find cheaper places.

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?

A: Dubliners are very friendly on the outside, but rarely share their real feelings and thoughts. I have a feeling they sometimes tend to look down on or be a bit patronising towards immigrants. I don’t want to and try not to mix with Polish expats. I have only a few Polish friends here from back home, but I also know a lot of Irish people and non-Polish expats. 

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

A:  Yes, quite, mostly through work and other friends​​​​​​​.

About working in Dublin

Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?

A:  Fortunately, I don’t need one.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work?

A:  At the moment the economic climate is quite harsh. There isn’t much work but probably Dublin is best for jobs in the whole of Ireland. It really depends on what you would like to do, and if you have the right qualifications and experience, you will find a job even in the recession.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?

A:  I think employees here have been a bit “spoilt” due to the years of Celtic Tiger and now have to re-evaluate their work attitude. I think people from back home would work more hours for less money and in worse conditions – which is not necessarily good either. Generally, I think Polish people in Ireland have stronger work ethics than the Irish.​​​​​​​

Family and children

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Dublin?

A:  It doesn’t seem like there is any point really counting on public healthcare – private health insurance and using private GPs seems to be a must.​​​​​​​

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?

A: Immerse yourself in the city and culture, make local friends, read local newspapers, be interested in local news, history etc.; do not carry a chip on your shoulder due to the fact that you are an immigrant and had to leave your country.

– Interviewed February 2010

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