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Study in Ireland

Find out what studying in Ireland is really going to be like.

Ireland has one of the best education systems in the world and there are many reasons to study here. Schools and universities are globally connected and graduates of Irish education institutions have access to opportunities in many different careers all over the world.

Ireland is an island nation on the westernmost edge of Europe. It is the continent’s second largest island after Great Britain. And it is known for its beautiful green countryside, fascinating history and friendly people.


The standard of education in Ireland is among the world’s best, with seven top-level universities and a focus on research and global collaboration.

People and culture

The Irish are proud of their country and their culture and they are happy to share it with you. Although it’s a relatively small country, (with a population of around five million), more than 70 million people around the world claim to have Irish heritage. So once you’ve lived in Ireland, you’ll have friends all over the world.


Ireland is a safe and tolerant place to live and ranks consistently in the world’s Top 20 countries for quality of life, peace and human development. It’s also a young country, with a third of the population under 25 years old. Study in Ireland and you’ll join more than 35,000 international students from 161 countries who love where they live.


Studying in Ireland can give you a great start to a successful career. Ireland ranks highly for quality of education – education that meets the needs of a competitive economy, plus knowledge transfer between universities and international companies. It’s also a lot of fun.

City life

Major cities here are smaller and easy to get around in than other large cities worldwide, yet they are vibrant and culturally sophisticated.

Top five universities in Ireland

Want to study at one of the best universities in Ireland? Data collected by the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2019 present the top-five universities in the Republic of Ireland.

1. Trinity College Dublin

Looking for the Irish version of University of Cambridge or University of Oxford? Study a research-led curriculum taught by world-class academics in the heart of Dublin.

2. University College Dublin (UCD)

UCD is ranked within the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide. Learn from internationally connected experts inside UCD’s award-winning student facilities. Study at UCD.

3. Royal College of Surgeons In Ireland

Ireland’s only specialist health sciences higher education institution, RCSI is home to the Ireland’s largest medical school, as well as globally recognised health practitioners.

4. University College Cork

Study Ireland’s first five-star university and you’ll be involved in innovative interdisciplinary research, as well as work-based clinical and international placements.

5. National University of Ireland, Galway

Called ‘the most charming city’ by the New York Times, NUI Galway’s international reputation and unique programs span the creative arts to medical technology.

Why study in Ireland

Quality education

Ireland’s education system is among the best you’ll find. Universities in Ireland rank in the top 3% world-wide and graduates from Irish universities are attractive to employers the world over.

Research opportunities

Irish universities are in the top 1% of research institutions in the world. Some of the world’s biggest and best companies have key strategic research facilities here and international students can join research programmes that are driving innovation and changing lives worldwide.

Career opportunities

Many leading global companies are located in Ireland and career opportunities are plentiful. It is especially good for careers in Software Development and IT, Engineering, Financial Services, Food and Agriculture, Medtech and Pharma.

Growing economy

The Irish economy is one of the fastest growing in the Eurozone and the 6th most competitive in the world. It is an entrepreneurial country with global connections.

English language

English is the main language spoken and the global language of business and technology. Knowing how to read and write in English increases your marketability and gives you a big advantage if you’re aiming for a job in a multinational company or an English-speaking country.

History and culture

Ireland is full of museums, cathedrals, parks and monuments and is famous for its contribution to arts, literature, film and music.

Close to Europe

Ireland is close to major European capitals and just a short flight away, so you can easily explore the rest of Europe while you’re here.

Stay back visasThe Irish government offers a one-year stay back visa for Bachelors graduates and up to two years for Masters graduates. Many international students stay in Ireland after finishing their studies and start their careers here.

Quick facts

  • Capital: Dublin
  • Currency: EURO
  • Language: English
  • Time Zone: GMT+1
  • Dialling Code: +353
  • Population: 4.818 million (based on latest United Nations estimates)

What’s it like to study in Ireland?

What are Irish study methods?

Irish study methods are similar to the UK. You may find you have more freedom to work independently than you are used to. This can seem attractive at first, but high standards are expected and you will quickly discover that you need to work hard to keep up with other students.

What you need to know before you start your study in Ireland:

  • You are expected to work on your own quite often and you may not receive as much assistance as you were used to in your home country

  • You are encouraged to speak up in class and voice your opinions
  • You are asked to draw your own conclusions from what you are taught, rather than focus on gathering facts and data
  • Academic staff want you to succeed and they are available to help and advise you
  • Critical judgement is encouraged and this involves reading and researching topics independently, as well as prescribed course work
  • You must take notes at lectures and use them as a basis for learning and exam revision
  • Many students attend tutorials as part of their study. These are small teaching groups led by your lecturer where students debate ideas on study topics
  • Teaching is in English. If you experience language difficulties, you can ask your tutor or international office on campus for assistance


  • Ireland is ranked 4th in the World Happiness Index for 2018
  • Ireland is the 124th most populous country in the world


  • Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, this is because of its lush greenery and rolling hills
  • The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia in county Galway


  • Irish people don’t use the words yes and no when they are asked a question. They use verbs instead. For example, if someone asks “Will you come in?” the answer is “I will.”
  • The Irish often talk about the ‘craic’. There’s no exact English translation, but it roughly means ‘fun’ or entertainment. For example “What’s the craic?” means “What’s happening?” or “How are you?”
  • A lot of people in Ireland speak a dialect of English, but many families who have lived here for generations understand and speak Irish

People and culture

  • St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish celebrate St Patrick’s Day by feasting, drinking and wearing green.
  • Irish people like to get together at home or in the pub and play music, sing and dance
  • Irish people love a cup of tea. They are the biggest tea drinkers in the world, sipping an average of 1,184 cups per person per year
  • Guinness is a type of beer that is very popular in Ireland. Many Irish people will tell you that drinking Guinness helps them to live a long and healthy life
  • Ireland is a country that practices gender equality. There have been two female presidents and the Irish people famously voted for gay marriage in a referendum in 2015


  • Many Irish people believe in the existence of small magical characters called leprechauns and fairies. Fairies are especially popular as they are thought to have magical powers and bring happiness and luck to families
  • Ireland is the only country in the world that has a musical instrument as its national symbol. The harp is found on Irish euro coins, passports and government documents
  • Ireland is known worldwide for its historic castles, which were built in past centuries to protect against invaders. You can still visit many of them today 
Recommended articles

Ireland higher education system

Education has been prized in Ireland throughout its long and sometimes difficult history. Today Ireland’s higher education system offers excellent programmes for international students of all ages. More than one in ten full-time students come from overseas.

Student visa for Ireland

Before you get on the plane, there are some important documents you’ll need. If you are from a non-EU (non-European) country, you will most likely need a student visa for Ireland.

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