Two Saffas in Ireland – Housing and Airbnbs

Two Saffas in Ireland – Housing and Airbnbs

When first arriving in Ireland, it is unlikely that you’ll have housing lined up beforehand. Currently there is a scarcity of rental properties available in Ireland and it may take you a while to get a place to live. Maheshini and I had to rent two Airbnb properties on a monthly basis before we managed to find a permanent rental.

We had a very small selection of Airbnb properties available due to the fact that we wanted to book a full month and we were travelling with our dog, Snoopy. This meant that after landing at Dublin airport, we had to drive all the way to Co. Carlow to get to our first Airbnb and had to relocate all the way north to Co. Meath for our second stay. It’s not all bad as you get to appreciate the beautiful Irish countryside while driving.

Beautiful gardens at our Airbnb in Co. Carlow
Walking through these gardens in Co. Carlow was always a magical experience!

Permanent Rentals

Let’s talk permanent rentals and some general concepts surrounding housing in Ireland. Firstly, in our experience, houses in Ireland are, generally speaking, a lot smaller than in South Africa. A three bedroom might indeed have three bedrooms, but with no space extra besides to fit a bed into. Generally, in all the properties we’ve been in, there have been no built-in cupboards either, except for the kitchen cupboards. You’re expected to buy your own dresser or other storage for the other rooms.

Prices differ greatly between rural areas and bigger cities like Dublin. A three bedroom house (again, probably much smaller than what you’re used to) in the countryside will cost you on average about 1000 EUR. A similar house in Dublin, depending on the area, might easily be 3 times that much on average. You’ll need to weigh up your commute time & costs against the housing costs to find a solution that suits you.

Water and Electricity

Firstly, water is free and tastes great out of the tap. There is no need to buy bottled water.

Electricity is privatised and you’ll need to contact a company like Electric Ireland or SSE Airtricity to get electricity connected for your house. It is usually seamless to switch from whatever provider your landlord is currently with to the provider of your choice. Initially, Maheshini and I wanted to stick with our landlord’s choice of Electric Ireland, but due to the fact that they would not accept our German IBAN (see the Money and Banking blog post), we went with SSE Airtricity instead. Their plans and promotions are nearly identical, so the choice is up to you.

As the customer, you would provide regular readings to your provider (once or twice a month) to have an accurate bill sent to you. You don’t have to do this, but then they would estimate your usage and you’d either be overpaying or underpaying; if the latter, you’d obviously be in for a shock later on. The provider will send someone to do an official reading 2-3 times a year. Most providers will bill you every 2nd month. You can usually pre-pay an amount every month to keep up with the bills.

It is hard to say how much you can expect to pay for electricity per year. It depends on your house’s energy rating: some houses require a lot less heating due to proper insulation, double-glazing on the windows, etc. If forced to give a very rough estimate, I would say expect anywhere between 1500 – 2500 EUR per year depending on your usage.


Heating can be either electrical (I’ve been told that generally the country will be moving this way) or with diesel / kerosene boilers heating your house via radiators, or, finally, using a simple wood / coal stove. Usually you would have a combination of the above in your house.

A cozy wood stove fire, burning happily

Waste / Garbage Removal

Like the electrical services, waste removal is also privatised. Depending on where you live, the company providing the service will issue two to three bins to you.

  • A black (sometimes green) bin for general waste.
  • A blue bin for dry recyclables such as cardboard and plastic.
  • A brown bin for organic matter. (In our current area, we do not have this bin.)

Expect to pay around 300 EUR per year for waste removal.


Finding a permanent rental in Ireland is difficult at the moment due to the housing shortage. Costs vary widely between the countryside and bigger cities; it is worth weighing up the pros and cons of both before making a decision on where you’d want to settle down. It is great that electricity and waste removal is privatised in Ireland as it offers competition between providers and incentive to deliver a good service. Loadshedding and purchasing bottled water are both things you can happily leave behind in SA!

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