Au pairing in Ireland is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of the Emerald Isle. Whether you prefer city lights or village life, Ireland is a country marked with history and full of adventure -- from medieval castles and ancient walled towns, to lively pubs with live music around every corner, and beautiful landscapes with endless outdoor activities.
As a country filled with warm and welcoming people, your host family is likely to become so much more than your employer. The benefits of becoming an au pair in Ireland extend far past the pay, housing, and meals you receive. You'll make countless memories, friendships that will last a lifetime, and you'll always have a second home and family to come back to.
When and Where to Start Looking
Families typically start looking for an au pair anywhere from a few months to a few weeks before they need one. Depending on your plans and level of flexibility, this could influence whether you choose to connect with host families through an agency such as Au Pair in Ireland, which places au pairs with host families or contact them directly through a site like Au Pair World.
Deciding to work with an agency to find an au pair position tends to be a less stressful process. The agency will vet both potential au pairs and host families, provide a list of matches based on needs and preferences, and typically provide visa assistance and in-country support. However, you’ll likely pay quite sizeable upfront fees.
If you feel confident that you can coordinate your own au pair exchange, create a profile on Au Pair World, Au Pair Ireland or Kangaroo Au Pair, and search for or be found by potential matches within their databases. This option allows direct communication with the family and lower costs (although not everyone is verified) and you’ll receive less support in the process.
When choosing a place to au pair in Ireland, it’s important to find a family that lives in a community that you’re interested in being a part of. Ireland isn’t all live music and pints of Guinness -- some areas can be quite rural.
- Between 18 to 30 years of age
- Enjoy working with children
- Knowledge of the English language
- High school diploma or higher
- Clean background check
- European or international driver’s license (beneficial, not always mandatory)
Given you meet the general age, language, and experience requirements, whether you search for a family on your own, or enlist the help of an agency, the process will be much of the same. You'll first go through an application and screening process that will help to match your profile with potential host families, followed by interviews to confirm that you're a good fit for each other.
Interviews are an important time for potential au pairs and host families to get to know one another -- make sure to ask a lot of questions, answer their questions honestly, and address any concerns you might have. You’ll want to gain an understanding of what they will expect from you as an au pair, as well as make sure that your lifestyles and interests are aligned. After all, you will be living together for a considerable amount of time.
The family will have the final say in choosing you as their au pair. If you've gone through an agency, this is likely when you'll need to pay the fee for their services. After being selected, you'll agree to terms of your contract, sort out your visa details, and coordinate your travel to Ireland!
Responsibilities & Expectations
An au pair in Ireland can expect to spend up to one year with a host family, and will work on average no more than 48 hours per week (20 hours per week if you are on a student visa).
Most of your responsibilities will be centered around childcare, which can involve helping with homework, preparing school lunches and after-school snacks, and taking the kids to and from school and other activities.
Some families might expect your duties to extend past caring for their children and could include housework such as doing the laundry, washing dishes, cooking, or shopping for groceries. It's important to have an open and honest conversation about what is expected of you, and what you're willing to help out with before your arrival.
The type of visa you will need depends on your citizenship. Generally speaking, your visa will allow you to stay in Ireland for up to one year.
- Young people from certain countries can apply for a Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) in Ireland.
- If you are in Ireland on a student visa, you may work as an au pair up to 20 hours per week during your studies and over holiday periods without an employment permit.
- If you are an EU citizen, you do not need an employment permit to au pair in Ireland.
As an au pair in Ireland, you'll receive accommodation, weekly pocket money, and other benefits (such as meals, transportation, and possibly even free vacations) in exchange for taking care of your host family's children and household.
Expenses that are not covered by your host family include personal items such as toiletries, personal transportation costs, and unique grocery requests.
As far as your pay goes, a recent Workplace Relations Commission determined that au pairs in Ireland should be entitled to minimum wage and all of the benefits and protections of employment legislation. This means that au pair wages in Ireland are now dependent on your experience, living arrangements and the number of hours you work weekly. As an au pair in Ireland, you can expect to make between €6.48 and €9.25 per hour.
Here's a breakdown of current hourly wages for au pairs in Ireland based on experience:
- First year of employment: €7.64
- Second year from date of first employment: €8.60
- Experienced adult worker: €9.55
Your host family is entitled to make the following deductions from your weekly pay to cover food and board expenses:
- €54.13 for full board and lodgings per week, or €7.73 per day
- €32.14 for full board only per week, or €4.60 per day
- €21.85 for lodgings only per week, or €3.14 per day
Use Au Pair Ireland's salary calculator to get a better idea of what you might make as an au pair in Ireland.
While you may not be making a lot of cash, it's important not to take the cultural exchange and the fact that your hosts are welcoming you into their home and family for granted. While a few hundred euros per week might not sound like a lot, all of your housing and meal needs are met -- the rest is yours to spend as you wish! Plus, au pairs often get to go on vacation with their host family. The best part? It's free travel!
Picking a place to au pair in Ireland can be tricky -- do you prefer the city life of Dublin, the access to nature and adventure of Galway and Killarney, or the laid-back university town vibe of Cork? Regardless of where you choose to au pair in Ireland, you’ll never be too far from nature and the rest of the country as it's well-connected by transport, and relatively small.
If you want quick access to the rest of what Europe and Ireland have to offer, Dublin is for you. Visit museums and galleries, tour the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery, and listen to live music at traditional pubs. Take the DAART 30 minutes east to Howth for small-town vibes, walks along the coast, and fresh seafood. With its fair share of universities, Dublin is also a great location to au pair in Ireland while you study. Expect the cost of living in Dublin to be higher than other places in Ireland.
Situated on Ireland’s western coast and set to be the European Capital of Culture in 2020, Galway is a vibrant small town packed with interesting things to see and do. From its music and arts scene to historical sights and museums, and proximity to the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara National Park, and the Aran Islands, there’s something for everyone.
Home to University College Cork, Ireland's "second city" is a great place to settle into for walks along the River Lee, long breaks at its selection of artisan coffee shops, and visits to the English Market. While you’re in Cork, visit nearby seaside village Cobh and the famous Blarney Castle.
For au pairs who love the outdoors, Killarney in County Kerry is an adventure lover’s dream. Climb Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest peak, walk the Gap of Dunloe, drive the Ring Road, and cycle through the beautiful Killarney National Park.
Housing & Costs
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro, while Northern Ireland uses the pound. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you around €15, you can find a pint of beer for €5 almost anywhere.
Rent for a one bedroom apartment in the city center costs on average €1,200. Keep this in mind when deciding on your living arrangements with your host family. The €22-€55 per week they deduct from your pay for housing and potentially meals is considerably less than you'd spend on your own.
Ireland rarely gets extreme temperatures, though it is often wet and windy and average temperatures are around 50°F. July and August are typically the warmest months, and January and February the coldest.
Pack layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes. Having a raincoat and waterproof boots is always handy, plus a hat and sunscreen for sunny summer days. Don't over pack -- you can find everything you need in Ireland.
- Getting around Ireland by bus is likely the cheapest and most convenient option. Bus Éireann has an extensive network, connecting the majority of the country, and most buses have free Wi-Fi.
- Train services in Ireland are operated by Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) and are a comfortable way to travel the country. However, the train network is less extensive and provides less frequent services than Bus Eireann.
- If you're over 21 (insurance for drivers under 21 is expensive) renting a car or borrowing your host family's vehicle is a great way to discover Ireland. Keep in mind that roads are narrow and winding, and you might be driving on the opposite side of the road than you're used to.