Chinese home buyers seeking a country with natural beauty, vibrant culture, rich history or business-friendly government will find all they want and more in the Republic of Ireland. The Emerald Isle, as a poet famously called the island, also has a great collection of luxury estates for sale, including numerous Georgian and Victorian mansions and medieval castles.
Ireland’s scenic landscapes possess a magical beauty that is as gentle as the island’s year-round mild climate, with verdant meadows crisscrossed by rivers and streams, lofty highlands and precipitous coastal cliffs all evoking the mythical fairies and leprechauns of local folklore.
Ancient monasteries, forts, castles, and mysterious ruins dating as far back as 5,000 years overlay the beautiful countryside, creating a sense of history that is occasionally reinforced by the sounds of the native Gaelic language. “Éire” is its word for Ireland.
Living and Education
Lifestyle options abound. The nation has 428 golf clubs and 50 true links courses as well as some 6,400 kilometers of coastline, the southern section in particular offering yachtsmen hundreds of anchorage sites in scenic hidden coves and inlets. Other outdoor activities include equestrian activities, deep sea fishing, hiking and cruising stunningly scenic driving routes such as the Wild Atlantic Way.
As an English-speaking nation with an excellent public school system, Ireland is an attractive option for home buyers with children. An undergrad college tuition for non-residents typically ranges between €9,500 and €12,000, lower than many UK and US schools for higher education. The University of Dublin, also known as Trinity College, is often ranked among the top 20 universities in Europe.
Ties to China
According to the most recent census data published by the Central Statistics Office, there are 17,832, people of Chinese descent living in the Republic of Ireland, with high concentrations of Chinese in the cities of Dublin and Limerick. Chinese enterprises that have made considerable investments in the country include Huawei, ZTE and Tencent.
Many Chinese hold positive opinions of the Irish thanks in part to Sir Robert Hart, an Irishman who went to China in the 1850s as a British consular official and whose competence and honesty earned him a position as Inspector General of the Imperial Customs Service, a post he held for 50 years.
Attractive for Business
With a corporate tax rate of 12.5% and large workforce of highly educated young people, Ireland is a magnet for international companies small and large. The island’s location is ideal for executives who need to make frequent trips to both Europe and North America.
The Irish Investment Promotion Agency (IDA) aggressively seeks to attract overseas companies to Ireland, and in China it has opened offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing.
Since October 2014 travelers holding a Republic of Ireland visa may also enter the UK, and it has been possible to enter Ireland with a UK visa since 2011. Note that an Irish visa does not allow one to travel to other European nations, however; although Ireland is a member of the European Union, it does not participate in the Schengen Visa program.
Ireland’s residential property market began to recover in 2013 from a market bust that began with the onset of the world financial crisis. The national residential property index increased sharply by about 16% over 2014, prompting the central bank to issue new mortgage rules aimed at cooling down price growth. In 2015 prices have indeed risen at a slower rate, and experts predict continued moderate growth in the year ahead.
Irish news reports suggest that Chinese investors were spending considerable amounts on Irish properties in 2013 in anticipation of a rise in home prices.