Cork, along with Dublin, is the first city people consider when they move to Ireland. The main reason is its charm and culture, factors that make many people choose Cork as a city to live and work.
Is living in Cork the right choice?
It is a beautiful and welcoming city. Not too small and not too big. If you live near the centre, everything in the city is within a 15-20 minute walk at most. Therefore, you can do without the car if you like walking. Alternatively, buses and cabs are always available.
Although Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland, it is immediately noticeable how small it is. It is much smaller than Dublin and does not seem to have much to offer and can be a bit monotonous in the long run. However, if you do not like big and busy cities, Cork might be a good choice. It is located in the southeast of Ireland and as the second largest city in the Republic, it has poor transport links. There are also infrequent flights to the airport and few connections with the rest of Europe.
The people of Cork are incredibly friendly. You will meet very sensitive and patient people who will be happy to help you with anything you need and are always ready to answer your questions. They will do a fantastic job of welcoming you and making your stay enjoyable.
You will immediately feel at home, much faster than most places you have lived. There is a great sense of community that you probably will not find in larger cities. The pub culture is also much less formal than in Dublin, for example. Just sit or stand at the bar if you like, and you can start a conversation with a stranger without a second thought.
The city is multicultural. There are so many people from all over the world. Over a hundred nationalities live and work here. Over the last 30-40 years, Cork has evolved from a once desolate and monocultural city to the vibrant place it is today, full of lively international communities. You will hear many different languages on the streets and it will be easy to meet people from your country.
Cork is considered the true cultural capital of the country. You will be surprised by the abundance of music, art and literature. It is also the best place to get to know the true Irish culture, because in Cork you can fully immerse yourself in it, with its traditions, gastronomy and way of life. You will never run out of things to do. There are numerous festivals, such as the Cork Folk Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival and many others. Pubs are plentiful, and the number of cafes and restaurants has also increased greatly in recent years, but of course the recreational offerings are fewer than in Dublin. In summary, I would say that Cork is a very lively city, without losing the small touch of tranquility, of course.
As for the climate, Cork has a milder climate than the western cities (Limerick, Galway, etc.) and also Dublin and, of course, Belfast. But do not be fooled. On 70-80% of the days it is cloudy and the sun does not shine. In short, a bearable climate but you will never get used to it.
The cost of living in Cork is lower, but not much lower than in the capital, but still very expensive.
Living in Cork, flat hunting
Housing costs are so high that you need a decent salary to live a “normal” life. Food prices are not bad either. On the other hand, expenses for leisure and shopping are much higher than in other European cities.
The problem with Cork is that it is a small city with little space for new construction. The existing houses are old and dilapidated. However, be prepared to spend at least €500/600 for a bad room. The prices are insane, but the worst thing is the real shortage of supply. This fact has also led to problems in hiring new staff, as it is difficult for many to find accommodation. So, paradoxically, we can say that in Cork it is easier to find work than accommodation.
So remember that your apartment search will be a nightmare and you may need references to get a lease. Be realistic about your budget and do not expect to pay a low rent. Think about what you can afford and do your research before you arrive.
Working in Cork
In terms of employment, many multinational companies are based in Cork. Nevertheless, Cork is not the first choice for international companies, so most of them have recently settled in Dublin.
We must not forget that despite the presence of all these international companies, the city and the region are highly dependent on fishing, industry and agriculture.
On the other hand, if you want to start your own business, I recommend you to do a thorough research, but in my opinion there is still room in the next few years in different sectors.
Living and working in Cork, conclusion
In conclusion, Cork has its positive sides: the small size of the city, the atmosphere, the many cultures, the different languages and the salaries according to professional experience.
Then there are negative things: the cost of accommodation and the climate.
I think Cork is a very nice place to spend a few good years in your 20s and 30s, and if you’re a good fit, maybe longer, but if you’re looking for something more metropolitan with more opportunities, I recommend you look elsewhere.
If you are also interested in working in other Irish cities, I recommend reading the guide to working in Ireland