Both Ireland and Scotland are beautiful countries with rich histories, gorgeous views, and many opportunities. However, a move to another country is a big step, so it’s always a good idea to consider all the pros and cons before choosing a location or deciding whether to move at all.

Should I Move To Scotland Or Ireland?

Many Sights to See

Both Ireland and Scotland are known for their incredible landscapes. The views throughout both countries are beautiful, and there are many opportunities for hiking, even in locations near major cities. Both countries are also home to many historic sites, including gorgeous castles, so there’s always somewhere new to explore.

Easy Access to Europe

Both Scotland and Ireland are relatively small, so traveling through the country to see the sights doesn’t take too much time. The size of these countries also makes it simple and quick to travel out of the country and into many other European counties.

England and Wales are the closest, but it’s usually easy to visit other nearby locations in France, Germany, Spain, or Italy as well. Since most European countries use the euro, you won’t have the hassle of exchanging money, either.

map of europe

Friendly People and Thriving Expat Communities

Scotland is well-known for its incredibly friendly people. The people of Scotland are often helpful and welcoming, which makes it easy to make new friends quickly when you arrive.

There can be some language barriers, however. Although Scots speak English, they have very heavy accents and use different dialects that can sometimes cause confusion.

People from Ireland are also friendly and welcoming. There is also a very large population of expats living in Ireland, so you’re likely to meet people from all over the world. Because of this, you won’t stand out as much as a non-Irish native, either.

Safe Cities

Ireland and Scotland both have low crime rates and very few instances of gun violence. Although there are always some places in cities that are best avoided, most cities in these countries are relatively safe, even after dark.

people on a busy street in scotland

Affordable, Accessible Healthcare

Both Ireland and Scotland offer private and public healthcare. Public healthcare is paid for by taxes, which means that you can get quality healthcare any time you need it without worrying about the cost. All permanent Irish residents have access to free healthcare.

In Scotland, you’ll need to pay a one-time immigration health fee before you have access to free healthcare.

Public healthcare includes things like visits to the emergency room, prescriptions, and eye care. However, if you prefer to choose a different doctor or you want to supplement your healthcare options, you can purchase additional private health insurance or visit a private clinic.

Transportation

In Scotland and Ireland, public transportation, such as buses, is available nearly everywhere, and they often run far outside of major cities. This makes it simple to get around and can cut down on the cost of owning a car. Rental cars in Ireland are also inexpensive if you need to rent one to travel farther away.

In Dublin, public transportation can sometimes be slow, as the city can see high volumes of traffic, particularly during rush hour.

The fact that public transportation is abundant is great for people who are thinking about moving to Scotland, as getting a driver’s license in that country can be extremely difficult.

Even if you already have a driver’s license, you’ll have to apply for another one. You’ll also need to take a written and practical exam. Scotland also requires separate licenses for driving standard and automatic vehicles.

people using public transit

Weather

One of the biggest cons about living in Scotland or Ireland is the weather. Although both countries see lovely sunny days, particularly in the summer, the weather is often rainy.

Neither country sees a large amount of snow, because of their location and proximity to the water, both countries remain relatively cold throughout the year. Even the summer months can be very chilly.

The weather in Ireland is also notoriously unpredictable. A day might start sunny and clear before quickly changing to overcast, with heavy rain not far behind.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in either Scotland or Ireland is slightly less expensive than the cost of living in the United States, on average. However, the exact cost of living depends on where you’re living and whether you’ve decided to buy or rent a home.

In major cities in both countries, the cost of living, and particularly the cost of housing, can be high. This is especially true in Dublin, Ireland. The cost of gas is also very high, which can make it expensive to get around if you choose not to take public transportation.

On average, the cost of living in Scotland is $1470 and the cost of living in Ireland is $2600.

cost of living chart scotland vs ireland

High Salaries and Annual Leave

Scotland and Ireland generally offer high salaries. Scotland has the highest median annual salary of all of the nations in the United Kingdom. Ireland is also known to pay high salaries. This means that it can be relatively simple to earn a livable wage in either country.

Employees in Ireland are also entitled to 20 days of leave every year. In Scotland, employees receive 28 days of paid leave.

Pub Culture

In Ireland, one of the most popular activities after work or on the weekends is to meet up with friends and spend time at the pub. This can be a lot of fun for social people who enjoy getting together to talk or play pub games.

There are also usually dozens of pubs to choose from in any neighborhood, since this is such a key part of Irish culture. However, this means that alcohol is involved in nearly every social activity. This can be an issue for people who prefer to limit or abstain from alcohol.

people at an irish pub

Lack of Appliances

One of the most surprising but also most annoying things that people new to living in Scotland deal with is the lack of appliances. Because the homes in Scotland are so old, most were not designed with locations for dishwashers, dryers, or even air conditioners.

Although this is largely an inconvenience, it can be a big change for someone who is used to living with these conveniences. Many homes in Ireland, especially older homes, may also lack certain appliances.

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