Moving to Dublin? 15 Things You Should Know!

Updated: Apr 7

Life in Dublin can be a magnificent adventure. Here are some things that might take a little bit of adjusting to if you are moving to Dublin from abroad.

1. Thanking the bus driver

I'm not sure how or when this started exactly, but you will find that the majority of people say thank you to the bus driver as they step off the bus (even if the bus was 15 minutes late). I don' think it's the worst habit in the world and personally it's one I'd like to see continuing far into the future.

2. Culchies


Okay, so, for people from Dublin, there are only two parts of Ireland. There's Dublin, and then there's everywhere else that isn't Dublin. If you are not from Dublin, you are a Culchie (a person from the countryside). It doesn't matter if you are from Galway or Cork, you are a Culchie. You can imagine how people who are not from Dublin feel about this, and it's true that most people from outside Dublin dislike the Dubs, but to be honest, nobody in Dublin really cares about what Culchies think...! So if you hear someone in Dublin referring to another person as a Culchie, then you know it's a person from the outside the county of Dublin.

3. In Dublin and Ireland, black tea with milk is just 'normal' tea

Coffee has become incredibly popular in Ireland over the last 20 years or so, but the original hot beverage of choice here was tea. And by tea, I mean black tea (normally Lyon's or Barry's). Whether it was a casual chat around the kitchen table with friends and family, or consoling someone who is upset, tea was the centre of the occasion. Everyone has their own way of enjoying their cup of tea. Some like it strong (very dark in colour), some like it weak (light in colour), some like it with a lot of milk (these people are normally quite strange) and some like it with just a drop of milk. Sugar or no sugar is also an important choice when it come to the question of 'how do you take your tea'? Nowadays, with so many types of 'other' teas available, we have started referring to black tea as 'normal' tea.

4. Yeah I will yeah = I won't

There's quite a few idiosyncrasies to Hiberno English (English spoken in Ireland), but one which I find quite funny is the fact that 'yeah I will yeah' means that you are not going to do something. So if you are working with someone from Ireland and you ask them to do something, make sure they respond with 'yeah I will' as opposed to 'yeah I will yeah'.

5. Seagulls

Listen, we've all seen them, and speaking from the point of view of a person who's grown up in Dublin, I can tell you that they're a lot bigger than they used to be. I don't want to say that they are going to be our eventual overlords, but if you buy a burger in McDonald's on Grafton Street, my advice would be to finish the burger inside the restaurant and not to risk a giant seagull swooping down and stealing it out of your hands.

6. Smell the milk

Most of the milk we have in shops here is fresh milk, meaning that it can go off after a week or two or if it's left out of the fridge for too long. Many people who come from abroad are not used to this phenomenon and can get quite sick by drinking milk which has turned sour. One way to avoid this is to smell the milk before you drink it. If it's gone bad, you'll know by the smell!

7. Bye bye bye bye bye bye bye...!


Have you had the experience of talking to an Irish person on the phone? If you have, you might have noticed that when they say goodbye, they say 'bye' around a thousand times. It's a strange one and I've no idea where it comes from, but it's quite funny and if you listen out for it you will definitely hear people doing it.

8. The Republic of Ireland is not park of the UK!

One of the easiest ways to offend an Irish person walking the streets of Dublin is to unintentionally refer to Dublin or the Republic of Ireland as part of the UK. I could go on for a while about why it's considered offensive, but perhaps it's best to take a quick look into the history of Ireland if you are confused about why it offends people. Alternatively, you could check out this little documentary on YouTube which explains a little bit of the history.

9. The one street with many names

Meeting someone on George's Street? Or was it Camden Street? That really nice restaurant you went to, was it on Wexford Street or Richmond Street? What do all of these streets have in common? They're all the same street!! Where they all start and finish is an anomaly even to most locals.

10. Drinking water

You can drink the water from the tap here in Dublin but best to avoid drinking water from bathroom sinks as this water generally comes from water tanks in the attic and not directly from the water supply. And who knows what kind of fun things are jumping into the water tank in the attic!

11. No change given on the bus

If you are going to take the bus in Dublin and want to pay with physical money, make sure you have the exact amount as the driver will not give you any change. Well, they'll give you a receipt with the quantity of change they owe you on it which you can claim from their central office. Not ideal.

Want to know more about transport in Ireland? Read below:

12. Insulting someone can be a term of endearment


If you hear a group of Irish people ruthlessly insulting each other, it's probably their way of showing love. Strange, I know, but it can also be quite funny. If you are 'comfortable' enough to insult someone, then it's considered that you have reached a secure point in your relationship where you can even insult each other without it effecting your friendship. So, if you befriend a Dubliner and have met them a few times, don't be shocked if they make an attempt to insult you a little. They do it because they love you! And they'll love you even more if you insult them back!

13. The immersion

Probably the two most common reoccurring nightmares for Irish people are the Leaving Certificate Exams (end of school exams) and the immersion. The immersion is the thing that heats water in your house so that you can have a nice hot shower in the morning. Normally, it will suffice to turn on the immersion for around twenty minutes before you can have a lovely hot steamy shower. The stressful moment comes when you have to remember to turn off the immersion! The fear of realising that you have left the immersion on as you sit on the bus on your way to work, or worse yet, on a plane on your way to a two-week summer holiday, is crippling. You do not want to imagine the cost of your electricity bill if you leave the immersion on for too long. My advice - use it sparingly.

14. Don't be afraid of the orange man at pedestrian lights

When crossing the road at pedestrian lights, the green man turns orange quite quickly, but the orange light stays on much longer than most other countries. No need to run if the pedestrian light turns orange!

15. Random people will talk to you

Whether it's in a pub or on the street, don't be shocked if people just start talking to you. Normally, it's all very friendly and they just want a chat or are commenting on something strange or wonderful in the world. Most of the time, you can just smile and nod and that will keep everybody happy.

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