Cost of Living in Cork, Ireland: Rent, Groceries, Healthcare, Utilities

A picture of several multi-story buildings along a road in Cork, Ireland.

Cork, the second-largest city in Ireland, with a population of 210,000, is located in the south-west region. Remarkably, Cork features an island that makes up the city’s center; it is positioned between two channels of the River Lee. Known for beautiful beaches with stunning coastlines and lush valleys, Cork is recognized by many as one of the most fun and visually- appealing cities in Ireland. 

Renowned for its rich culinary roots, Cork is regarded as Ireland’s “foodie” capital. Jam-packed with a litany of restaurants, the city has no shortage of brunch/dinner options or wine-tasting venues that you can frequent.

If you’re looking to take a vacation or even make this your permanent place of residence, it’s essential to be aware of the cost of living in such a lovely and economically-thriving community.

What’s a Cost-of-Living Index?

The cost of living index measures the differences in goods and services, enabling accurate comparisons of the prices of particular items and services in different regions of the world.

The cost of living index for Cork, Ireland is: 83.49.

Food & Dining in Cork, Ireland

As mentioned, Cork offers a wide selection of foods, both for fine dining and a casual lunch or dinner at home. We’ll look at the average price for some basic grocery items and meals at the local restaurants.


If you were to drop by a McDonald’s in Cork, Ireland, and purchase a McMeal, it would cost you $9.71 (8.25 €).

But what would it cost you to have a romantic evening in this city? Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant, which includes the main course, appetizers, wine, and dessert, will cost you about $70 (59 €).

Cost of Groceries in Cork Ireland

Basic food items:

  • 2 liters of Coca-cola costs $2.88 (2.45 €)
  • 1 liter of whole fat milk costs $1.21 (1.03 €)
  • 1 dozen eggs costs $3.93 (3.34 €)
  • 1 lb (500 gr) of boneless chicken breast costs $5.65 (4.80 €)
  •  1 sack of 2 lb (1kg) potatoes costs $1.47 (1.26 €)

With these items, you can easily throw together a nice meal at home, which will save you money in the long run as eating out frequently in Cork can get quite expensive.

Transportation in Cork, Ireland

It’s important to know how much you can expect to spend to get around the city, whether with your own vehicle or public transportation. Here’s the breakdown of car prices for some popular brands and also the city transportation services.

Purchasing a Vehicle in Cork, Ireland

Cars range from 400 € to 90,000 €, with an average price of 11,932 €.

For example, the Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI 150 CV, with no extras, will cost you 27,621 €.

*The price of 1 liter (¼ gallon) of gas is 1.36 €. 

Using Public Transportation to Get Around the City

Using the city’s public transportation system is an excellent way to get around, especially if you enjoy an intimate feel of city life. 

With that being said, the price of a monthly public transport ticket costs $80 (€68).  And if you are more of a taxi- enthusiast, then a taxi trip will cost $17.66 (€15) for every 5 miles (8 km) on a business day.

You can get from point A to point B regularly, without taking away a large portion of your budget.

Related: Cost of Living in Croatia

Housing & Utilities in Cork, Ireland

Of course, housing is one of the chief concerns when considering visiting or moving to a new location. Below you’ll find the monthly rent breakdowns for homes and apartments with various bedroom counts. 


  • You can expect the monthly rent for a 900 sq ft (85 m²) furnished home in a modestly-priced area to cost $1175 (€999).
  • However, if you have a penchant for the luxurious, then for the same amount of square footage and furnishings, you can land a flat for $1510 (1,283 €) in a more expensive area.
  • If you’re looking for something a little smaller and cost-efficient, you can find a 480 sq ft (45 m²) furnished studio in a typical area in Cork for $1064 (904 €).
  • For those who may have a bigger budget to work with, then you can find a home with the very same furnishings and square footage for $1328 (1129 €).


  • 1 bedroom (Outside of Centre:)  $1175.00 (985.78 €)
  • 3 bedrooms (Outside of Centre): $1,851.07 (1,570.97€)
  • 1 bedroom (City Centre:) $1,379.86 (1,171.06€)
  • 3 bedrooms (City Centre): $2,265.48 (1,922.67€)

*The average cost of rent is $1,471 (1250, €).

Related: Affordable Housing Options in Europe


The price of utilities for one month of heating, gas, and electricity for two people in a 900 sq ft (85m²) flat in Cork, Ireland, costs $185 (157 €) monthly. 

The price of utilities for one month of heating, gas, and electricity in a 480 sq ft. flat (45 m²) will cost you $124 (105 €) per month.

Employment & Income in Cork, Ireland

Although Cork has a relatively higher cost of living than different places globally, the city remains affordable because there is a stable and sustainable average salary.

*The average salary is $3,362.

Childcare Expenses in Cork, Ireland

The importance of procuring a suitable facility for your little ones can’t be overstated. Cork Ireland offers private full-time Kindergarten care for monthly payments of $1123 (€954.17).

If your child happens to be older, then the city offers International Primary School; you can expect to pay $10,593 (€9000) per year, per child.

Healthcare & Medical Expenses in Cork, Ireland

Ireland has a nationalized health care system for citizens; you must have been a legal resident for one year.

However, non-EU residents must buy health insurance covering the following: hospitalization, covering stays and procedures in public and private hospitals, and coverage for everyday medical expenses. 

A visit to the general practitioner in Ireland costs about $57 to $69 (50-60 €).

The cost per month for a comprehensive hospitalization policy with minimal coverage for everyday expenses and a 500 euro ($575) deductible is $111.94 (97.34 €). 

That’s $1,343 per year for healthcare costs in Cork, Ireland.

Clothing & Shoes in Cork, Ireland

Some recent surveys reported that young people (which are a large part of the population) in Cork tend to not spend a lot on clothing. 

Needless to say, if you enjoy shopping, you won’t be disappointed by the prices.

Casual Clothing

1 pair of Levis 501 jeans or anything similar in quality costs $90 (€77). 

A lovely summer dress from the high street stores (such as Zara’s or H&M) in Cork costs $37 (€31).


Casual sports shoes from brands like Nike and Adidas cost about $101 (€86).

Business shoes, such as leather loafers, cost $110 (€93).

Taxes can be complicated to understand, but we’ve broken the figures down to give you an idea of what you can expect on your income and goods purchased. 

Income Tax

The first portion of your income is taxed at 20%; this tax only affects your income to a point. This is known as the standard rate of tax, and the amount that it applies to is known as the traditional rate tax band. The remainder of your income is taxed at the higher rate of tax, 40% in 2020.


The Value Added Tax, or VAT, is a general, broadly based consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services in the European Union. This tax is not assessed to exports; however, this tax is assessed to all imported goods to keep the system fair for EU producers.

*The standard VAT rate is 23%, with reduced rates of 13.5% and 9%.

Real Estate and Property Tax

The municipal authorities issue a real estate tax, referred to as “rates,” on the occupation of commercial real property. Residential real estate is taxed at an annual tax of 0.18% on values below 1 million euros and 0.25% for anything above the amount above. 

Retirement Tax

Anyone who is below the minimum requirement is entirely exempt from income tax. You can make up to €18,000 as a single person or €36,000 as a married/civil partner couple without having your income taxed once you turn 65.

People who receive it will pay tax in a lump sum on their pension. However, up to €200,000 of this is tax-free. If the lump sum is over €200,000 and under €500,000, which is the maximum allowable, the income tax rate is 20%.

Inheritance Laws in Cork, Ireland

Under this law, if there is no will, your assets will be automatically divvied up as follows:

If you are married with no children, your entire state will automatically be granted to your spouse. If you are married with children, your spouse received two-thirds, and the remaining third of the estate is divided amongst the children. 

However, in particular circumstances where there is no spouse or children, the estate is divided amongst the deceased’s parents. If the parents are no longer living, then the estate is divided amongst the deceased’s siblings.  

Entertainment in Cork, Ireland

Entertainment is an important part of life, whether you’re on a fun vacation or you just need to get away from the monotony of everyday life. Cork, Ireland has many attractions to suit a variety of interests.  

A simple evening at the cinema has an admission price of $22 (€19) for two.

However, if you are in the mood for more of an elegant evening, the opera theater may be more suited to your taste. The price of 2 tickets with the best available seats in the theater is $82 (€70).

You can always enjoy a fun evening with friends grabbing a domestic beer at the local pub for about $5 (4€)

You can also visit the beautiful historical museums and enjoy the bike paths or beaches with family or friends at no cost at all.

What to Expect Before Arrival 

Luckily, Cork is very foreigner-friendly, and the immigration process does take some time, but it’s pretty straightforward. Here are the fees for the application process and additional documents.

Immigration Costs 

Upon arrival, you have to apply for a work permit and a visa. 

One single entry visa costs €60. 

A work permit will cost approximately $719  (500 euro) for a stay of up to 6 months.  

The application can be accessed and completed online through the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service website. The process for long-term status may take up to 6 months to complete.

$1177 (1000 €) for 6 months to 2 years.

After living for 5 years in Ireland while completely supporting yourself, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship. Being granted citizenship in Ireland entitles you to apply for an Irish passport and vote in all Irish elections. Additionally, it makes you a citizen of the EU.

Can I Use USD in Ireland?

Ireland does not allow US dollars or any other foreign currencies within its boundaries.

How Much Cash Can I Bring into Ireland?

Customs regulations: EU customs rules dictate that if you are entering or leaving the EU and carrying €10,000 (the equivalent of $11,780 (USD)or more in cash, then you must make a declaration to the Customs Authority of the EU country in which you are entering or leaving. 

How Much Does it Cost to Live Comfortably in Ireland? 

The cost of living in Cork, Ireland, is reportedly $2,452 per month (roughly 2100 €) for a modest lifestyle.

*The country has a minimum wage of 11,50 euro (460 euro a week).

How Much Do You Need to Retire in Ireland?

As previously mentioned, Ireland can be expensive, but it can also be a great retirement destination. It’s possible to find cheaper housing and living options, and the Irish lifestyle is perfect for anyone looking to enter into the twilight years of their lives.

It is understood that most people need about 70 percent of their income to live comfortably in retirement. Many people have said that around 500,000€ ($588,900) is the sweet spot. 

Sample Monthly Budget

  • Rent: 1260 €
  • Entertainment: 75 €
  • Food: 200 €
  • Utilities: 157 €
  • Gas: 50 €
  • Internet: 105 €
  • Healthcare: 98 €
  • Clothing: €50

Total monthly expenses: 1965 €

Final Thoughts 

Cork, Ireland, is a city that is rich in culture with many entertaining activities to engage in. From the theater to an excellent array of museums and castles to visit, something is exciting and new to enjoy every day. Due to Cork’s capable labor force, an individual could easily pick up their lives and make it their permanent place of residence- they just need the right motivation.