Flights are booked, bags are packed and you’re excited for your big trip to Ireland.
You’re probably feeling a kaleidoscope of emotions right now, from excitement to anxiety and we hope this handy guide will give you some essential advice on arriving at the airport, shopping for home essentials and where to go shopping for food. Enjoy!
Remember that it’ll take one to two weeks to have a functioning bank account so make sure you have access to money to get you through the first few weeks in Dublin.
Have some cash on arrival, and no notes larger than €50. You will find it very difficult to use €100 or €500 notes.
Credit and debit cards
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted throughout Ireland; American Express is accepted in only a very limited number of stores. Credit cards can be used for purchases and also withdraw cash from ATMs (although this usually is accompanied by a fee). You can also withdraw cash from ATMs with your Mastercard or Visa debit card. Fees will still be charged but at a lower rate to credit cards. Ireland uses a “chip and pin” system for debit and credit card transactions. Most retailers will accept swipe cards but please note this is not always guaranteed. It is recommended that you notify your bank of your travel plans prior to your departure.
Airport Meet and Greet
This is a free service and offers Trinity’s students a stress-free transition to Ireland. Arriving students are met at the airport by one of our Global Room Ambassadors. They are fellow Trinity students there to help you get started. They provide each student with a welcome pack, help arrange transport to their accommodation, and help new students settle into Dublin.
The service will run from 22nd August until 22nd September.
Remember to register before the deadline: Friday, 25th August.
For students who do not hold a European Union passport when you arrive in Ireland, an immigration officer at the airport will review your passport and paperwork. Make sure to bring all documents you have received from Trinity and elsewhere i.e. your offer letter, evidence of tuition fees paid, scholarship details or US Financial Aid if applicable, evidence of private medical health insurance, accommodation details, etc. so that you can show a complete record to the immigration officer as they can refuse entry if they are not satisfied with your paperwork or answers to their questions.
On approval, you will get a temporary immigration permission (for either one or three months) stamped into your passport. This means you must register with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) within the time frame stamped on the passport.
Further information will be provided at orientation.
Now that the serious immigration stuff is out of the way, it’s time to think about shopping and kitting out your new place to make it feel like a home away from home.
Shopping: Home Supplies
You’ve successfully navigated your way through the streets of Dublin, but now it’s time to find the essentials like food, cooking utensils, bed sheets, etc. Luckily there are plenty of shops around with everything you need.
Pennys is the place to go if you’re looking for bedding, towels and discount clothing. Cheap and centrally located this should be your first stop as you need to make sure you have somewhere comfy to sleep. There are two Penneys in the City Centre – one on O’Connell St and one on Mary St.
For dishes and cooking equipment, Argos is the place to go. One store is located in the St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, and another is in the Jervis Street Shopping Centre. If you’ve never been to Argos, it’s an in-store catalogue shopping experience so you won’t need to run around looking for everything. You can also check the catalogue ahead of time on their website.
For furniture, IKEA is a great stop . Dunnes Stores also has home wear, and while not incredibly expensive, you will pay more than you would at Argos and Penneys.
For household knick knacks and useful things at very cheap prices, try Tiger, extremely close to Trinity on Nassau Street.
You don’t have to spend too much to get good food in Dublin
Aldi and Lidl
Aldi and Lidl are the home of food bargains. Every week they have vegetables on special and the deals are unmissable. Usually 49 cents for a punnet of mushrooms or a kg of spuds (potatoes).
Tescos are located throughout the city, and they also offer great weekly deals. Tesco has an in-house budget brand called ‘Everyday Value’ for pastas, canned goods and other products. It’s usually the same products, just with less fancy packaging and for a fraction of the price.
Dunnes can also have some good deals. Similar to Tesco, depending on the product and the brand, the price can be very reasonable.
Marks and Spencer
Marks and Spencer is a lovely shop but quite expensive for the student budget. Top tip: their bakery products, however, are marked down at the end of the day. They are still fresh, just usually half the price. M&S cookies are not to be missed!
Moore Street is famous for its fruit and vegetable stands. Eight bananas for a euro? Strawberries for two euro. Ten tomatoes for a euro? All possible on Moore St. It’s also worth going for a true Dublin experience.
Speciality Food Stores
Parnell St has a lot of Asian food stores, both east Asian and south Asian. This is where you can get spices, bulk rice, tofu, beans etc. Shops include Nimra Foods and Nam Thanh Supermarket. Other shout outs go to Oriental Emporium by the Jervis St Luas stop and Super Asia Foods on Capel St. If you find a great store stocking products from home that you would like to tell us about, contact us and we’ll add it to our list.
For Vegetarians and Vegans
- Cornucopia (vegan-friendly)
- Directions: just a 4-minute walk from Trinity
- Delicious vegetarian menu that caters for a variety of diets – vegan, gluten free, sugar free, coeliac & raw/living ; or anyone seeking quality home produced food. Dishes can cost up to €13.95 but they pride themselves on producing fresh, tasty, delicious and healthy meals and all ingredients are organic and locally grown.
- You can definitely be thrifty in this vegetarian hotspot! With a student discount a hearty small portion of the soup of the day with a slice of wholemeal or spelt bread comes to just €3.95! Another great option is getting the salad deal which comes to €5 with a student card.
- Two locations: One in Aungier Street and Middle Abbey Street. Both are about 8-9 minute walk away from trinners.
- Govinda’s vegetarian restaurants are known worldwide for their delicious and nutritious vegetarian food. Ordering is not time consuming as the food is served in deli style. Also important to note that helpings are massifff so you’ll get very full and will have a food baby after. What more do you need tbh??
- Deals: not much deals but main courses vary from €5.75 to €15 depending on the size. So still very affordable.
- Umi Falafel
- Umi is a vegetarian falafel place that has plenty of vegan options. Delicious and economical, falafel wraps are 6 euro, sides and salads about 5 euro. Eat in and eat out available!
- With a location right on Dame street, it is a staple for the TCD vegan and omnivore alike! As well as that, there’s one right in the middle of Rathmines for those who get a peckish on their way back to Trinity Hall!
- Special mentions go the Palestinian Falafel, Fatoush Salad and Breaded Haloumi Cheese Sticks!
- Damascus Gate
Damascus gate is situated 20 minutes from Trinity on Camden street, and for those walking to and from college from Trinity Hall it’s on your route to and from college. Serving a range of vegan, vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, and with the prices ranging upwards of 5 euros, this restaurant has something for everyone!
Trinity’s International Student Information Hub: Global Room
And lastly, if you’re left with questions about immigration and INIS, settling in Dublin, student experience or anything in between – the Global Ambassadors are ready to have a chat and help with anything you need.
This is also a student social space for you as a student to sit down and relax.
We can’t wait to see you there.
For more information on Vegetarian/Vegan Food: https://lovindublin.com/food/heres-a-culinary-bucket-list-for-vegetarians-in-dublin