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Things that are difficult to find in Ireland but 'easy' to get in the US?

  • 17-07-2022 11:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 18

    I grew up in Cork, near Coachford, but I've been living in the US for quite a while as my family moved to the states when I was 11. I would've never left if I had any say in the matter, and so have maintained it as a long-term goal to move back to Ireland, which I've always considered my real home even after living abroad for years. I've finally landed in a place where I've got a job that will allow me to work in Ireland -- so my wife and I are moving back to Ireland later this year! I am giddy, and it's an emotional rollercoaster getting all the legal requirements figured out, but we're trying to think about the practicalities in advance and do some proper planning around what we should move vs. what we should or must re-buy locally.

    Apart from all of our electrical appliances requiring replacement due to the voltage differences, we've been trying to identify other things that we should take vs. things we should re-buy once we arrive, and I know there will inevitably be some surprises regarding availability both directions. Some things we noticed are easier to get in Ireland, such as some types OTC medicines, and if I could find a way to get Clonakilty sausages and free-range eggs from Ireland in the USA I'd pay an arm and a leg for them :P -- but some things are harder too.

    Some examples of what I mean:

    • When we were last over in April, one of the things that we wished we had was a digital thermometer for fever checking. Although these are easily purchasable here in the states for ~<10$ in both pharmacies and grocery stores, so I was surprised that I couldn't find one in Ireland... so we're going to buy a couple and move with them.
    • We really like Casper mattresses, which aren't sold in Ireland, and our current bed frames are a different size than is easy to find in Ireland, so we're going to replace our mattresses before we move and ship over new ones rather than our near end-of-life current mattresses.

    I've noticed a few posts here talking about travelling back and forth from the states here, I thought this would be a good place to ask: What are the things that you would bring with you back to Ireland from the states, if you had access to both a shipping container and a bunch of suitcases you could use for transport?

    Thanks a million for any insights!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,995 ✭✭✭Caranica

    Cheap OTC medicines, melatonin, teeth whitening kits. Ethnic cooking stuff, bed linen, Christmas decorations, sports goods. Thinking of the stuff I've brought back over the years other than clothes. I'd also pack half of Crate and Barrell if I could!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,378 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    My sister in law and family came back here after 25 years in the states. Took two containers of stuff and needed very little of it. They got rid of mist of it within two years. Take as little as possible.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,720 ✭✭✭Doodah7

    And get your head examined before you leave!! Are you mad moving to this completely inept backwater where everything is overpriced.

    Is your wife American? She will have huge culture shock and coming here on visits is absolutely no substitute for living here permanently.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,592 ✭✭✭endofrainbow

    I think the issue with digital therms was there was such a demand for them in the height of the pandemic.

    OTC meds, definitely cheaper in the US and some items only available on prescription here. Clothes and footwear are a lot cheaper in the US.

    Oh and you can't get flavoured jelly mixes apart from Lemon/lime/strawberry/raspberry/blackcurrant. Grape jelly not available here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 716 ✭✭✭macvin

    I'll have a guess that you have not been to the states recently. Ireland is CHEAP in comparison for most things. But sure talk Ireland down, its the number 1 past time of some people. - Pity they don't leave if they dislike it so much.

    For OP.

    You have Emma Mattress which is not too dis-similar to Casper and made in Northern Ireland. You have European sizes and UK Sizes - European is 200cm long, UK is 190cm long (USA is 205cm long).

    And strange as it may see, many OTC medicines are cheaper here. The exclusions would be your bog standard headache/paracetamol/ibuprofen types which are sold in tubs of 200+ in the USA. Melatonin is also not available here except grey market, so if you use that, bring plenty. If you need any prescription medicine, Ireland is probably the best place to get it as there is a maximum monthly fee of €80 for all prescribed medicines for the family. Doesn't matter if its specialist medicines that costs $2,000 or more in the USA, once its on the list here, its €80 a month maximum charge and that is inclusive of all family members.

    Digital thermometers available in every pharmacy. there was a shortage last year due to covid, but about €20 for the "gun" shaped ones and under a tenner for the pen shaped ones.

    Clothes, foods, footwear etc. With dollar at parity, they are cheaper here these days. (My sister in Seattle can attest to that - she shops here when she comes over!)

    Generally, when I drop over to seattle, there's not a huge difference to what I see in houses there than here. We have the usual gadgets like Kitchenaids, crockpots etc, plenty of smelly candles, plenty of online option for furniture too including Wayfair who opened and Irish delivery service recently.

    Petrol is more expensive (similar to california prices) but cars are generally a lot more efficient, so it evens out.

    these days in a global world, there's little that is only available in the USA and not available here

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,378 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    Didn't spend long there yourself obviously. It's not cheaper in general. Workers rights and benefits are crap. Education unaffordable to many, as is health care. And not a country to grow old in.

    Inefficient cars, antiquated electrical appliances, and a deeply divided society.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

    Fair enough :D We're still gonna bring our mattresses and king size bed frame though I think :P :D

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

    Actually, prices in Ireland are considerably more reasonable for most things that are day-to-day expenses than what I am seeing here, based on what I saw while visiting in April/May; the main things I am trying to identify are the not-so-day-to-day that are surprising in their cost or availability/diversity of product available. For example, cat food is half as much as we pay by weight right now. Milk is 1/4 as much (and much better quality!). It'll be a split of some things more expensive and some less. I do live in an area of the US with a very high cost of living, though. A house nearby just sold for 2.25 million USD; built in 1981 on an 8000 sq. foot lot in a 'nice' suburb, meaning a 50-65 minute commute from the city for jobs. It's a bit out of control. We're moving to a farm in SW Cork and finally will have some space around us :).

    My wife is american, and it will be a shock, I know, having moved the other direction myself and had to acclimate to a very different culture. We'll see if it works out, but she has actually been a big motivator for us making the move in the first place. She does have some study-abroad experience in England and has visited Ireland for a few weeks at a time in the past. She loves Ireland and has said she felt like she was truly at home there. We're going to make a go of it. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out and we'll move back... but we are truly tired of many of the downsides of America and are going to give it a solid go. Obviously there are down-sides to either place, nowhere is perfect, and we're not under any illusions to that effect :) Thanks for your input!

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

    Thanks for the info :) We're pretty much carnivorous these days so we'll survive without the grape jelly I think :D hehe

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

    Hadn't heard about Emma Mattress, will check that out. Prices look a lot more reasonable than Casper at first glance. We already replaced our Casper's for now but we were worried about what we'll do down the line when we need to replace them in a few years. My wife's had a bad back injury so is quite particular about mattress selection. 5cm difference in length won't hurt I suppose :)

    Will bring along some generic OTC's for sure. We don't take melatonin these days but have in the past, thanks for the tip! It's funny because some other stuff that we had to order from out-of-country here is available OTC there in Ireland. Funny how it works out that 1 place allows X but disallows Y and the other place does the exact opposite. Also interesting to hear about the cap on medicine costs per month on a per-family basis, that is useful to know for budgeting - thanks!

    Thanks for the tip on clothes; we have been torn on whether to get some extras of things or not.

    Petrol being more expensive is kind of funny -- when we moved, we drove 3500 miles from our old house to our new one. twice in a row. When driving to 'the other end of the country' is a 300 mile drive the price of fuel doesn't seem like nearly as big of an issue :) Plus our unleaded petrol pricing is above 6.50USD/gal lately here, but our commute distances sure didn't change a bit. The gap has closed a lot.

    Thanks for your insights!

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,378 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    They took their bed and later decided, like much of their furniture, that besides being too big it all looked dated compared to styles in Europe. But if you love it then take it.

    Post edited by Jim_Hodge on

  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,455 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal

    Are you talking about America?

    Its a country that spends more on health then any other country but if you are not well off when you are sick you are screwed. I'd take my chances with the HSE over American systems any day of the week.

  • Registered Users Posts: 655 ✭✭✭eusap

    Take into account american furntiture can be larger in size and may not suit an Irish home, so before you fill up the container take it into account. Irish homes are generally smaller than american homes so you probably need less furniture. After that i would say a decent BBQ (not sure about gas) yes you can buy BBQ here but compare the prices etc...

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,378 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    +1 on furniture size. I know of two families who returned from the States and both found their lounge and bedroom furniture just too big.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

    So the beds are coming along (we have modern, steel frame minimalistic frames that will work fine wherever), but we're looking to buy new furniture on arrival for most things (chairs and couches), and were wanting to buy things that are made in ireland. Have been browsing in advance, but would appreciate any recommendations on that front :)

    Re: room sizes matching our stuff, we know the house we're moving to, so are looking to have some furniture chosen based on the size, or made sized for where it will live. We've walked through the house and are sure that the beds will fit comfortably in the two rooms where they are destined for.

  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭WTF...

    Shot…..oops sorry thought it was AHs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭nice bit of green


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

    Good call on the BBQ, thanks for the heads up!

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,452 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    If looking at a gas grill, check what gas regulator is used, albeit that is obviously replaceable. I don't think ours are the same as in the US.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,175 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    Machines with petrol engines (power washer, lawn mower, etc) are much cheaper in de states. Electronics/computer parts are usually about 25-40% cheaper in the states.

    Cars are way cheaper there, you don't have to pay VRT if you are moving back so if you have a valuable car and have owned it for at least 6 months it might be worth paying to ship it to Ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,287 ✭✭✭phormium

    Don't know if your family bakes choc chip cookies but nothing here to compare to Nestle Tollhouse semi sweet morsels, I always used to bring back loads and get friends going on hols to bring me some! We have choc chips but not the same. I also love Miracle Whip which you don't get here either, yes I know its rubbish but I love the taste 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Headless_1916

    Good call. I think I found a regulator adapter, but this appears to be pretty poorly documented. Do you happen to know the official valve/regulator type that are on propane tanks you buy locally there? :D