The problem with Ireland is that their whole economic boom in the 90´s has been bassed
a) on EU help
b) On extremely low taxation of investors, while at the same time taxing employed workers extremely high. Therer are two tax brackets in Ireland (at least when I worked there 4 years ago), 24% and 46%.
Another thing is that due to the fact that there is almost no rental market for small, entry level sized appartments, accomodation costs are about the highest in Europe. Traditionaly Irish used to live in big farming families in houses in rural areas, up to 7-10 children was quite common.
There was a big push for land ownership, while the urban rental market has been neglected. Now with the economic boom and the change towardsindustrialisation, land and housing prices have skyrocketed, so that for normal earning young people, it is almost impossible to find affordable accomodation. Quite often young people are forced to live with their parents up past the age of 30, before they have saved enough for the downpayment for their first house.
My girlfiend is forced to share a 3 bedroom house outside Dublin with 4 other women, she shares one bedroom with her sister.
Also the position of Ireland as an island proved to be perfect for monopolies. E.g. in Shannon, up to about 5 years ago, there was only one supermarket (Tesco´s), if you wanted to go shopping, you needed to drive 25 km to Limerick or Newmarket on Fergus (very bad public transport), impossible for people not owning a car. The grocery market in Ireland was effectively divided between Tesco and Dunnes stores.
Only recently some German chains (Aldi, Lidl) pushed into the market and forced some prices to lower a bit. Also, don´t forget, there is a 21% VAT on everything.
Since a lot of products have to be imported, using ships, transport cost get added. Cars are very highly taxed on import, doesn´t matter if the car is third hand, the tax is calculated as if the car was factory new.
The high living expenses were one of the reasons I left Ireland. Also the salaries were way below continental levels. I left Shannon Aerospace to go back to Germany and more than doubled my income, while at the same time reducing my expenses.
E.g. I pay 400 Euros a month for a single bedroom 50 square metres flat in CGN
close to my work (the airport). This includes heating, rubbishh disposal and janitoring.
In Ireland I paid about the same for a room in a bungalow I shared with 4 other foreign mechanics, excluding heating.