From leprechaun lores to medieval castles and historic pubs, there are more reasons to drop whatever you’re doing and go to Ireland than there are clovers in the fields. The music, the people, and the friendly atmosphere drive travelers to the highest range on the happy spectrum (as in, Cliffs-of-Moher-happy), and there’s no reason that this shouldn’t happen to you too. Along with its wide range of TEFL courses and certification programs, Ireland is the perfect place to jump start a career in teaching English abroad.
Ireland is a charming mixture of big cities that aren’t too big, nature that isn’t too wild, and towns that aren’t too small. Most TEFL courses in Ireland are located in bigger cities, but it’s possible to find TEFL programs in smaller cities too, if chilling with rainy sheep is up your cobblestoned alley.
Dublin. The capital is the largest city in the country and offers the highest numbers of TEFL certification program options. While the cost of living is a little more expensive, there are greater opportunities for socializing and networking that are worth your lucky pennies. Pour yourself a pint at the Guinness Storehouse, get your shopping on on Grafton Street, and host picnics in the many green spaces (there are more parks per kilometer than in any other European capital city!) as you become a Dubliner. For teachers that don’t mind tightening the budget a bit in exchange for a hoppin’ city, Dublin is the right option for TEFL certification in Ireland.
Cork. Located in southern Ireland, Cork is neighbors with the Jameson Whiskey Distillery and boasts a thriving music and theater scene; be sure you take time to check out Cork Jazz Festival, Cork Film Festival, and the annual Live at the Marquee music festival. While not as large as Dublin, Cork still has a city feel to it, with a tinge of a college town atmosphere, as ten percent of its metropolitan population is comprised of university students from all over the world. Only a short drive away from the coast, Cork is best for those who want to be in a city, but a bit off the beaten path and close to nature.
Galway. Known as Ireland’s Cultural Heart, Galway is a city of about 76,000 people that features a fantastic array of history and festivals to keep that heart beating strong. It’s just around the bay from the iconic Cliffs of Moher, and sometimes referred to as one of the few truly Irish bilingual cities. Because of the number of native Gaelic (Irish) speakers, Galway gives TEFL students a unique opportunity to teach older Irish citizens English.
TEFL Courses in Ireland
Ireland features a large variety of TEFL programs and courses to choose from. While a lot of the TEFL programs in Ireland nowadays are a mix of online and in-class instruction, those looking to get all their instruction in one way will be able to find what they need.
Most TEFL certification classes in Ireland are a combination of self-study and in-class learning. TEFL programs are usually composed of 120 to 140 hours of instruction, half of which is devoted to core training online and the other half divided into 20-hour segments on grammar, practical training, and specialist teaching. These combination style TEFL courses in Ireland are best for those with no experience, as there is a lot of self-study that teaches all of the terminology before getting into the nitty-gritty classroom.
For students that want to immerse themselves in Ireland, there are also strictly classroom instruction options available. For example, there is a TEFL course in Limerick (a town dating back to the vikings in 812AD!) that has students on a historical campus in the heart of the town and in picturesque classrooms for their teaching components. These classroom-based TEFL programs are most-suited for those that want more hands-on training.
All students have to pass an exam at the end of TEFL courses in order to receive their TEFL certification, which requires intense preparation. Since Ireland is a native English-speaking country, English teaching opportunities revolve around classes or lessons for immigrants, refugees, or the elderly that never learned to speak English well.
Costs & Affordability
Even if not fun to plan, costs are incredibly important when budgeting for a stay in Ireland. As long as realistic research is done, there are TEFL program options in Ireland for most budgets.
Especially without a salary, the cost of living in Ireland is pretty significant. While services are prompt and standards of life are high, there is a price to pay for all of these efficient conveniences. Going out for a meal at a pub is around $20, so learn to hit up the neighborhood markets and pick up a few Irish recipes while abroad. Likewise, transportation is pricey, especially on long-distance buses. Check for discounts online or, if traveling with friends, consider renting a car instead (this also allows for plenty of breaks for some scenic photography sessions and detours to spectacular cliffs and unmarked ruins). Between the amount of hiking and frequent festivals and events, it’s possible to enjoy a cheap lifestyle outside of the classroom.
Specific costs for TEFL programs in Ireland vary, depending on duration, class size, provider, location, and additional goodies. While there are full scholarships available, there are shorter programs that cost over $1000, so be sure to research current deals thoroughly. Also, check what additional costs are covered by the program: teaching practice, materials, post-program job search tools, airport transportation, and even housing deals are sometimes offered, which can add up to save quite the bundle!
If you need financial assistance, check out Fund My Travel to crowdfund your educational voyage abroad.
Accommodation & Visas
Along with getting an actual TEFL certification, finding accommodation and getting the appropriate visa are amongst the most important things to do, so prepare yourself for roommates and paperwork!
Depending on the TEFL program you choose, accommodation may or may not be provided, so get ready for apartment searching. Apartments for rent are easy to find throughout Ireland, as are roommates to share them with. However, affordability is another story; studio apartments in city centers will be around €1000, and prices are increasing every year. If housing is provided through your TEFL program in Ireland, you’ll most likely share a flat with other TEFL students.
Since the normal Irish tourist visa is good for up to 90 days, a lot of TEFL and TESOL programs have students in and out of country within three months. Even the most intense 320-hour course can be done within this time limit, which makes visa requirements easier for the majority of applicants. Check out GoAbroad's Irish Embassy Directory for more detailed info or for longer stays.
Benefits & Challenges
Employment Opportunities. Since most Irish people are native English speakers, the need for TEFL teachers isn’t very high in Ireland. For ESL teaching jobs that need to be filled, companies tend to hire locals, as they don’t need work visas. While Ireland is great for receiving TEFL certification, those coming to Ireland should look abroad for ESL teaching opportunities post-certification. A lot of TEFL programs in Ireland include great job assistance that help procure those gems abroad, and it is recommended that you start asking for teaching jobs before graduating.
Weather. A lot of Ireland is rainy and foggy for most of the year, which might make winter months seem longer than usual. For those coming from sunny places, this might be a bit difficult to adjust to. However, constant rain makes this Emerald Island just that, emerald, and there’s no rainbows without some grey clouds. When the sun does come out in the summer, there’s hardly a better place in the world to hike through, with rolling hills pockmarked with sheep herds, tiny villages, and oceanside cliffs.
Ireland is a place of natural beauty, lots of green, pub pints, and academic excellence. If you’re looking for a comfortable place to live while getting TESOL certification abroad at an amazing institution, Ireland will not disappoint. From academic excellence to hearty cuisine, Ireland will make sure the craig is mighty during your English-teaching career.