Dublin vs Belfast – Which city is the best to live and work in?

Whilst Dublin is deemed the Irish version of London due to its size and expense, Belfast is described as a vibrant, dynamic city that is developing rapidly.

Price of living costs: To rent a single bedroom in Dublin, you will only have to spend an extra 59% on what you would pay for a bedroom in the centre of Belfast. The prices in Dublin are so much higher but you get more for your money in Belfast. How about the basics after you pay your rent? Well, electricity and heating will cost 37% more in Dublin than Belfast. Getting on the property ladder is far harder than Belfast, with many Dubliners embarking on a life of renting. In Dublin there is a lack of housing and soaring rents. Renting is for many not a possibility with there being a lack of housing alongside extortionate prices.

Higher SalaryAre you wondering how far your wage will stretch? Well the average monthly salary is 29% more than Belfast. There are higher salaries offered and there are far more job opportunities in Dublin, with many firms being much larger. The higher salaries being offered in Dublin don’t necessarily cover living costs as the salaries are not London standard. However, this depends on the lifestyle attained.


Dynamic City? Belfast in the past twenty years and beyond has really turned a corner, with a dynamic city centre, evolving tourist industry and growing technology industry. The city centre itself has gone from strength to strength since Victoria Square was established 10 years ago. The technology scene in Belfast is booming. The recent event, Digital DNA hosted speakers from around the globe. There is the ‘Smart City’ Belfast Agenda, increased inward investment from FDIs, hubs for tech start-ups, a hive of meetups and a tech culture of sharing and learning. Belfast has really put itself on the map. Belfast has a significantly higher local purchasing power than Dublin, holding a 13% higher local purchasing power. Belfast has the perfect balance of growth and opportunity to build connections and has a warm undertone that is embedded into it. Dublin has a fantastic technological buzz too, with tech events happening regularly. However, the price of living in Dublin could still be a deterrent from establishing roots there.

Transport expenses: Transport costs are significantly higher in Dublin than Belfast. In Dublin a one-way ticket costs 16% more than Belfast, with a monthly pass being a colossal 49% more. The prices of cars are significantly more too with a Volkswagen Golf costing 24% more in Dublin than Belfast. Dublin has a better airport with more diverse range of locations being flown to, living in Belfast means you are only a short distance away from Dublin Airport.

Entertainment: In terms of lifestyle, Trinity College is described as ‘a haven of peace, space and, of course, academic learning right in the heart of the city’. The restaurants in Dublin are far more expensive with a McDonalds meal costing 14% more.  If you decide you want a drink? A drink in The Duke of York on Cathedral Quarter would be a top-notch experience, in the quaintest part of Belfast. Do you want to rent a tennis court for an hour on a Saturday? Well, that would set you back 36% more in Dublin than Belfast!

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