Monthly Archives: February 2020

Working in Barcelona, Catalonia, for IT Engineers

Last Updated: 2022-04-03 Irish Standard Time

Note: This document is under construction

Society, Politics and laws

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a Nation with a strong desire of freedom, that wants to get the independence from Spain (which invaded militarily in 1714 and bombed the city many times since). Catalans are very different in small villages and in the city center, but me as Catalan, I think that we are nice but reserved, because we are used to be prosecuted just for being Catalans, so we people don’t earn our trust easily. However, if you make a Catalan friend, our loyalty is like family. This is related since medieval books already.

When we suffered the Spanish invasion in 1714, and later the invasion of dictator Franco with the help of Hitler and Mussolini, the Catalan language was forbidden, prosecuted, universities closed, Catalan Constitution removed, Parliament closed… but part of the freedom was recovered in 1975 when the fascist dictator Franco died. Most of the Catalan particularities were forced into assimilation to the Spanish model, however one interesting thing that was not changed was the Civil Right. That’s very important cause some laws survived and are different from the Spanish laws, and from most of the places in the world. One worth to mention is that our Civil Law gives us “Separation of Goods” (separació de bens), and that means, that if two people marry and one has 3 houses and €20,000 in the bank, and the other has €500 in the bank and nothing else, if they divorce, they’ll get exactly what they had. So individual A will keep their 3 houses and €20,000 and B €500. This is very different from the “Earning Goods” (bienes gananciales) in Spain, where if they divorce A and B would get exactly half of everything. When they get married is like everything goes to the common pool.

Must say that there are details, like if the partner leaves the job in order of take care of the house, they may get something in compensation, or if there are children, at least one house will be for the mother if taking care of the children, and the father will have to pay a pension to feed and take care of the children. Still, it seems to me much more fair that what I saw in most of the countries (even if in some they have pre-marital contracts).

The Catalan society is hard worker and loves to read and to study. We were compared often to the Jews, as an insult, by the fascist authorities in Spain during the dictatorship. For us it was not an insult. We were also called Polish, contemptuously, but again we don’t see being Polish as something negative.

One display of the passion for reading of the Catalans can be noticed by Sant Jordi’s celebration (Saint George), the 23th of April, which is a day in which girls gift a book to the men they love, and men gift a rose to the women they love, or they family or female friends.

The Castellers or Human Towers are declared World Heritage and have been present in many international celebrations like Olympic Games.

And the traditional parties in the villages have many books talking about them and are epic.

As Catholics, it is typical to have “el pesebre”, a recreation of the birth of Jesus, but our irreducible character have us to have particular elements like “el Caganer”, which became world wide famous few years ago.

Pesebre de Nadal

“el caga tió” is also typical, when the family meet and the children hit a log, and it poops gifts.

The love for Freedom and the defense of Human Rights has been a characteristic tread of the Catalan culture since it’s origins, around the 8th Century and the first bilingual dictionary known is Catalan-German German-Catalan. Catalans also invented the navigation code for ships that became universally accepted. Probably this love for Freedom is what makes Barcelona and Catalonia a place full of entrepreneurs and small business owners. It is said that “Catalans, from the rocks they make bread” (els Catalans de les pedres en fan pans) about the inventive we have to detect opportunities where others see nothing.

The 11th September is the national day, and is the day the Catalans remember that they fight to the end for their freedom that 1714, alone, against Spain and France troops, after a year of siege of the capital, Barcelona. That day every year, there are many cultural acts, and there is a demonstration for Independence that some years joined to 2 Million people, from a total population of 7,5 Million. You can visit parts of the city where there are still holes in the walls from the different times Barcelona has been bombed, at different ages, from Romanic era to 20th century.

My personal opinion is that the spanish government acts openly against Catalan economy, culture and language, and are always ruling against the decisions from Catalan Parliament (which was the first in Europe) applying a high degree of repression that they managed very well to hide using lots of economic resources. I think they act in the same way that many evil states did against national minorities. Nothing new. Just unfair.

About bullfighting, Catalan Parliament organized a referendum to forbid bullfighting in Catalonia. I volunteered in that legislative popular initiative, to get signatures, and I presented, with many more volunteers, the signatures to the Parliament. We won the referendum and we abolished the bullfighting spectacles, that to be honest are horrendous animal torture. The spanish courts overruled over our Parliament and people’s vote and forced the law that forbid the bull torture to be abolished. Citizens took another approach: nobody goes to these monstrosity primitive animal torture events, so these businesses cannot survive, even receiving subsidies from spanish governments. You can clearly view the cultural differences and cultural clash between spain and Catalonia in things like that. For spain bullfighting is culture, for us is savage. Many often say that the bull doesn’t suffer when is stabbed and killed… anybody outside of spain knows that this is BS. To understand this you have to understand that the fascism did a military coup d’etat in 1936 against the legitimate Republic, supported by the Italian and German fascists, that tested the psychological terror war bombing the Catalan population, and after Second War fascism was never eradicated from spain. The dictatorship lasted until 1975 when the dictator died, and in 1983 there was an attempt of another coup d’etat, with the military tanks in the streets… the history books explain histories about Catalonia having been always part of spain, when our nation existed much before theirs, and they have statues and mausoleums dedicated to fascists and to the dictator himself, nazis are legally protected as a minority and you can watch in public tv spanish politicians expressing their support and love to the bloody dictator. Something that would not be tolerated in any modern European democracy happens every day in spain. The spanish estate has lived in a bubble where they think they can do whatever they want, and politicians became indecently rich and use and abuse the citizens, and the justice from their tribunals is highly politicized and “the only justice” they recognize. They prosecute freedom of expression, and civil rights have been going backward and backward… the press is conveniently subsidized so they will never bite the hand that feeds them. But you can read about all of this in international press published in other countries.

You can see that clash as well if you talk about bullfighting or Catalan Independence. Most Catalans will talk calmly about these themes, and will respect any position and argument peacefully, but if you talk to a Spaniard about these, you’ll see a ferocious, visceral, reaction, or in the best case an uncomfortable blocking and refusing to talk about this. The roots of their history are based on lies and imposition and they cannot imagine their country without Catalonia. For them Catalonia is a possession, and Catalans are second line citizens, and a change in the status quo is a nightmare. Another clash you’ll find it in the monarchy. Catalans are openly anti-monarch and Republican.

As an expat Engineer in Barcelona you will enjoy a happy life and you will not learn about all of this unless you start to befriend locals.

If you do the effort to talk in Catalan, even if it’s just two words, locals will really appreciate it.


The weather in Barcelona use to be excellent. Sun is present from 7 in the morning to 20:00 almost all the year, and specially in June, July and August, people enjoy the beach.

It has a weather similar to California.

It rarely snows, but if you go to the North, near Pirineus mountains, you can see snow in winter.

Even if weather use to be excellent, with no wind at all, and few frequent rain, must be said that when it rains it rains. Rain can last 4 hours and more, and be very intense. Very often the semaphores (traffic lights) stop working in Barcelona when it rains.

The city

The city is very well designed with most of it being square islands similar in size. Is easy to drive as every street is two ways and you can go back by just turning right right right right or left left left left.

With a beautiful architecture thanks to genius like Antoni Gaudí, or Salvador Dalí (both put in jail for talking Catalan at different times) .

Sants street is the longest commerce way in Europe. they say, created by many small commercial stores. Many of them have been bought or replaced by Chinese, as the traditional owners could not afford the more and more higher rents for commercial locals in Barcelona. Still many resist.


The city has buses, metro, taxis, tram, bicycles that you can use paying a yearly sum.

Huber was forbidden by the Spanish government.

Taxis in Barcelona are very characteristics, all the same color, black and yellow. In the airport there is an official taxi stop, so don’t get to any random guy that asks you if you want a taxi. The taxi drivers are in a specific place and they will not go to you, as they expect you to go to them.

In the city you can stop a taxi just by raising your hand horizontally, but only the cars with a green light turned on are available, the other have a customer inside and will not stop.


Barcelona has a big airport (big compared to Cork, but small compared to London Heathrow). It has two terminal that are separated by 20 minutes car drive, so pay attention to which terminal you go.

The airport is known as “El Prat” airport. The Spanish government renamed it unilaterally to Josep Tarradellas in another silly attempt to make Catalans feel that they live in a colony ruled by Spain (Josep Tarradellas traded the Catalan independence to become President of the reinstated Catalonia’s self-government in 1977, after the dead of Spanish dictator Franco in 1975).


Across the most than 1,000 years of history of Catalonia, there are many traditions:

Sant Jordi, where men gift a rose to their beloved women and women gift a book to their beloved men.

Castellers or Human Towers.

La Sardana, Catalan dance prohibited during the franco’s dictatorship.

Correfocs, diables, gegants, Sant Medir, els reis mags or reis d’orient, la verbena de Sant Joan…

Many music has been composed: la Santa Espina, UN’s hymn from Pau Casals, Lluís Llach’s l’estaca which was adopted by the Solidarnosk movement in Poland… some music famous instruments are: la flauta travesera, or la gralla from Valencian country which has a very especial sound. In Balearic Island they have a beautiful especial way to create and recite poems which is called: glosa.

The contemporaneous music is very alive with many high quality groups.

Local food

Catalonia has many farms and produce high quality food, and we really enjoy food.

Some of the typical dishes: Butifarra d’ou, fuet, secallona, esqueixada de bacallà, pebrots escalibats, truita de patates, calçots amb salsa romesco, crema catalana.

One typical food. “La calçotada”. Which is a social party, normally for lunch where we eat scallion/spring onions and meat cooked at the fire on the barbecue. We peel the external layers, and eat with a sauce called “romesco”.

Calçots, scallions grilled at the barbequeu
Butifarra d’ou (egg sausage, to eat like that)

If you are in a Catalan typical restaurant you should try to drink with: el porró.



We speak Catalan and Spanish. Knowledge of English amongst the population is not very good, with terrible accent.

During all the dictatorship Catalan was forbidden and prosecuted, so mine was the first generation to learn to write in Catalan. The language survived because families speak privately, hidden, at home. Talking in public would mean getting beaten by spanish police and sent to jail. Famous people that get beaten and detained for talking Catalan were: Antoni Gaudí, creator of the Sagrada Família (Holy Family church), and Salvador Dalí (famous painter).

Although when I studied all the lectures were taught in Spanish, except Catalan lecture, and all the books were in Spanish, I got a very good written dominion of Catalan.

I taught my mother to write in Catalan cause during the dictatorship it was forbidden and prosecuted and so she didn’t know.

When I compare Catalan and Irish languages, I see the same behavior between Spain (still) and England (then). Unfortunately Irish has been practically lost.

A note about this: after the fascist side won the war against the legal Republic, in 1939, the dictator forced famine mostly in the South of Spain to force the population to emigrate to Catalonia and the Basque Country. In Catalonia there was around 1 Million and half of surviving Catalans, and Spain sent 2 Million of Spaniards. With the Catalan forbidden and prosecuted, the Catalan teachers sent forcefully to live in Spain so they could not teach Catalan, it is a miracle that Catalan still exist. Can only be explained because we are stubborn, we love our language and culture, we are resilient and don’t want to lose it, and also Catalans mostly helped all these people that came and were very poor, and as these people were nice and honest, they learned the language and taught it to their children too. But the society now is heavily mixed, and with the laws coming from Spain, to force 25% of Spanish in the schools despite our Parliament’s different will, the pressure to reduce the budget of our public TV, most of sources of entertaining like Netflix coming in Spanish, the Catalan not being official in European Parliament because Spain doesn’t want… the social usage of the Catalan language is going backwards and backwards, near the no return point according to the experts. It is clear for most of the population of Catalonia that if we want to save the Catalan and live being respected, with freedom, our taxes used to our benefit… like in any normal, advanced, democratic country of the world, we need to become independent and create the Catalan State. That’s why the Spanish state sent the spanish police to charge against voters, when we celebrated our referendum, and they were desperately stealing the bailout boxes while Catalan citizens built human walls to protect our right to vote, our right to become independent, our freedom. Even with their brutal efforts, the referendum was massively won by the pro-Independence. That’s why a referendum is not allowed by the Spanish State. But the Spanish State and the spanish king congratulated, gave medals and bonus salary to those police and paramilitary guardia civil that charged against elder, women, children… that in any democratic world would had been sent to prison for crimes against humanity. This time all the world saw it. Catalans loved Europe before seeing how they inhibited themselves and gave support to Spain.

Nobody that was in a school, converted into a voting station, holding together expecting the spanish police to break the metal doors and to enter hitting everybody, in order to steal the bailout boxes with the votes, like we have seen in our mobiles, at any moment, could forget that feeling of knowing that we were going to be hit hard, brutally, at any moment. Nobody leaved. We stayed to protect the bailout boxes. Nobody can forget the feeling of being resisting peacefully, for the right to a better future. And we knew that if we got raided, with our peaceful resistance, becoming human walls that do not allow the aggressors to pass through, we would buy time for other schools not be raided. They raided few schools only because they didn’t have enough police, even having sent thousands from Spain, to face that pacific resistance. They spent so many time trying to enter in the schools, looking for the bailout boxes, that were cleverly hidden. We, like all the good people in the world, deserve to live in peace.

When my Irish friends ask me how different are Catalan and Spanish languages, I explain that Catalan and French are more similar than Catalan and Spanish. Catalan, French, Italian, Spanish… all derive from Latin language. As in the school we learn Catalan, Spanish, some French, English, Latin and Greek, in general Catalans learn languages, specially these coming from Latin, very easily.

Many ask if knowing Spanish, it is necessary to know Catalan, in order to live in Barcelona, or if Spanish is enough. The answer is that if you talk Spanish you don’t need to talk or understand Catalan to live in Barcelona, the same way you don’t need to understand or talk German in Berlin if you talk English. However, if you study in the university or if you go to some villages of Catalonia, you should understand Catalan. It is very violent when there are 98 Catalan students in a university Catalan class, with the lecture defined as in Catalan language, and one or two international students request to switch the lecture to Spanish cause they don’t understand Catalan. Often the university imposes to the Catalan students that registered in a Catalan lecture, the change to Spanish, with no refund. Is another form of oppression and human rights violation.

Catalonian public servants have the obligation to attend you in Catalan or Spanish. Although many will continue talking to you in Spanish when you address to them in Catalan. The Spanish police and paramilitary guardia civil don’t know Catalan and is not unusual to have problems with them if you address to them in Catalan. Some cases of people being forced to speak in Spanish by spanish police, and being sent to jail after refusing, are unfortunately not atypical. From time to time you can read about these things in the press.

Being a foreigner, some Catalans will continue talking to you in Catalan when you speak to them in Spanish, and that’s because they don’t discriminate you, they treat you as an equal, and because they love Catalan and they are aware of if all of us switch to Spanish, new people will not talk in Catalan and the language will be lost. If you tell them gently, “I don’t understand Catalan yet, can you repeat slowly please?” they will repeat slowly 2 or 3 times if necessary, and maybe will tell the phrase in Catalan and in Spanish, so you can learn.

While others will talk to you in Spanish even if you talk to them in Catalan (being their mother tongue is Catalan), that’s because we have suffered a lot of violence and oppression and we have been insulted continuously telling that talking Catalan to non-speaking is rude, so they feel shy, guilty, ashamed to speak to a foreigner in Catalan. So it’s usual that in a circle of 20 people talking Catalan, when another person arrives, and speaks Spanish, all the 20 switch to talking Spanish automatically. And if somebody does not switch, they will be told that they lack education. It has happened to many colonies, that the empire made the locals feel ashamed of their language, culture, traditions and folklore. So if you speak in Spanish to a friendly Catalan don’t take it wrong. They are helping you to learn it. If you are rude or you tell them that they must talk to you in Spanish, that will be rude, and they will not talk to you anymore. You would not tell to a Swedish that is rude to talk in their language in their country. Same logic applies. As a Catalan speaker, you find that many workers in Barcelona don’t speak or understand Catalan, and they are unable to serve a “cafè amb llet” (flat white) despite Spanish “café con leche” is very similar. Can you imagine being a French living in France and when asking for a “café au lait” in a cafe, being told by the server that they don’t understand, and that they don’t talk French?. In Barcelona, Catalans often heard aggressive answers from the Servers telling “talk in Spanish, this is Spain”. Don’t be surprised then, about why the support for the Independence is so high in Catalonia.

If you want to learn Catalan, you’ll make a lot of friends. You can check “parelles lingüístiques” which are volunteers that will meet with you for a coffee once per week, to help you to learn Catalan for free, and you’ll make lots of friends.


The currency is Euros. The format of the currency is 10,50€.

In Ireland it is used the mask €10.50.

Date Format

A mask of DD/MM/YYYY is used. For example 29/’1/2022.

The 24 hour format is used, like 23:00 to express 11PM.


Religion is Catholic, but mostly only old people practice.

Abortion is legal since 2010.

airbnb and hotels price

The controversial mayoress has forbidden airbnb in Barcelona. It is only allowed to rent a room, but not the entire flat.

Hotels prices range from €110 to €175 per night, except when the city is full and prices double or triple. For example for the Mobile World Congress.

Price of the rent

In the recent years rent has increased a lot.

In the year 2020 a flat with furniture, 5 years old new, 80 square meter in a middle class zone, can cost around €1,200/month.

English and expats

Well, it’s a shame. In Barcelona few people talk a decent English or even understands it.

You better print the address of the places you go to show to the taxi driver.

Salaries for IT

Barcelona is one of the most attractive places in Europe for IT.

A low cost of live compared to major cities like Berlin, London, Edinburgh, Cork or Dublin, and salaries very high for IT, with the excellent weather, a market of 40 millions Spaniards and 7.5 million Catalans (around 10 if we count Catalan speaking zones in the Meditarrean sea).

The minimum inter-professional salary is (updated to Jul 2019) €1,050 net per month.

Salaries for a Senior Software Engineer with 5 years experience will range between €35,000 and €65,000 gross per year. Most of companies provide an optional bonus too.

€55,000 gross per year is approximately €3,267 net per month within 12 payments in a year.



Internet is decent, most areas of the city have Fiber and in some places they have 1 Gbit/s connections.

In some places far from the core of the city only DSL arrives.

Office Material

The paper we use here is Din A4, like in Ireland.

Buying Hardware

Barcelona is full of Hardware stores. There is one street where they are concentrated, is called Sepúlveda street.

The power plugs have two round holes, are not like the Irish or UK ones.


Barcelona is a very unsafe city for their relaxed laws about re-incidence of pick pocketing and stealing amounts under 300 €.

There are people with more than 500 detentions for stealing in the metro that never went to jail.

Fights happen some times with criminals attacking citizens trying to steal using brutal force, although most of them will try to avoid using violence and just pick pocket as crimes with violence falls into another level, with more severe punishment at justice level.

Laws are very relaxed with criminals and popular voices tell that this is intentional by the governments to make the citizens live in fear.

I don’t recommend you to walk with a visible laptop bag in the city center, as you’ll attract the attention of criminals operating there.

The news media do huge efforts to hide the names of the criminals, so locals do not associate criminals with country of origin.

The only positive thing is that attacks with fire weapons are highly unusual and police normally is highly effective capturing the criminals very quickly.

Barcelona was a target of jihadist terrorism, and Catalonia and Barcelona have been labeled to be a salafist city by experts. A former senior officer in Spain’s National Police Corps has said the 2017 terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils were organised by the country’s secret service in a bid to destabilise Catalonia before the independence referendum. The Spanish government keeps denying the requests for an investigation about the secret service involvement in this terror attack.


There is the spanish police: “policía nacional” and the paramilitary spanish “guardia civil”. There is the local driving police “guàrdia urbana” in Barcelona and villages have “policia local”.

At Catalonia level there is the Catalan police “mossos d’esquadra”.

Only mossos d’esquadra, guàrdia urbana (part of them) and policia local (normally all of them as they are born in the village usually) understand Catalan.

The spanish police is sent from spain, are not born in Catalonia.


Dangers/Terror histories/Bad experiences

There are many to tell, I’ve pending explaining seeing thieves in the airport, fake taxi drivers offering their services, pickpockets in the center, assaults in the city center, skinheads robbing in the metro… don’t ever leave your belongings unattended. Don’t leave your laptop unattended in the cafe while you go to the bathroom.

Big cities have big problems.


Barcelona is a LGTB+ friendly city. Culturally the Catalan population believes that everybody should do with their life whatever they want and affection is displayed openly on the streets and accepted. Culturally, Catalans dislike racists and sexists. I think our culture is mostly nice with diversity and we welcome expats.


Those are my recommendations.

La parra

I come here since I was a child


Centric 35

Unfortunately this restaurant is closed. They could not make it through covid lockdowns.

Is from a good friend of mine 😊 The Cheff and owner. If you tell Oriol that you’re a friend of Carles he will be very happy.

Clarius (Catalan-French cuisine)

Can Xurrades

1881 per Sagardi

Restaurant and terrace in the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya
Plaça de Pau Vila, 3, 08003 Barcelona
At the top of the Museum of History of Catalonia you can enjoy a restaurant, a coffee bar, and a terrace for having cocktails. The terrace is a cityview where you can see all the port and part of Barcelona. Is very beautiful at nights. There are few tapas bars and pubs and open discos just down next to the Museum’s entrance.

The museum is very interesting too.

1902 Cafe Modernista

Next to the Recinte Modernista Museum, you can have tasty tapas with beautiful views and after going to the museum.

Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167 | Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, 08025 Barcelona
(st Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167)

The terrace is owned by the restaurant which is inside, and is very nice, and the menu looks amazing.

Iconic places in Barcelona city

Sagrada Familia from Gaudi.

F.C.B. Football Club Barcelona stadium “Nou Camp”.

Nearby Iconic places

Monserrat, has unique type of rounded mountains. And on top, in the church, there is “la Moreneta” which is a figure of the Mother of Christ, which is black.


Social Security / Hospitals

Social Security is universal. Everybody is attended in the hospital, for free.

The spanish governments have been reducing the budged from the public health in favor of the military and to bailout the private banks with public money, and they have been undermining the Catalan health system, the free resources and the salaries of the professionals to the point that many emigrate. Thanks to the love of the professionals working in health, free health care is still a very good service.

There are also private hospitals, of course, and they will operate you faster, so a private medical insurance could be convenient for you. The healthcare insurance companies are called “mútua”.

Working in Cork, Ireland, for IT Engineers

Last Updated: 2022-04-03 10:01 Irish Standard Time

Note: This document is under construction

Society, Politics and laws

People are very polite. One nice thing is that you say Bye, thanks to the bus driver when you go down.

The Irish society is very welcoming and also participate a lot in charity. You can see how many people are running in races for a charity cause, and how many commerces collect money for charity causes, from pubs, to supermarkets, and individual people organizing solidarity fundraising in form of running races or other events.

I like the Cork Zombie Walk, where people dress as zombies, ghosts, etc… and walk over the city and finally they go to drink beers and have dinner together. You can volunteer to makeup people and is a very funny experience. Money collected goes to guide dogs for blind people.

They are a very polite society and even in the queue of the supermarket will ask you to any single customer: “how are you?”. At the beginning I was explaining all my life.

IMO the most important political problem now, is the situation with Northern Ireland, the border, since UK abandoned Europe. Also the increase of prices from products coming from UK, due to taxation, and the reduction of sales to Irish products from UK due to the same reason.


The weather is one of the most common form of claims people do. We use to say that we have 4 seasons in a day. It can rain for 15 minutes, be sunny, be windy, snow, be sunny again, rain… 10 times per day!. Although is not very usual that it snows, and heavy wind is neither usual. Rain is really a tiny curtain of water, so I don’t even bother. Having a jumper with a hood is enough.

You can get a top-up prepaid phone sim for 10€. It is what I recommend to my American friends and colleagues when they visit Ireland.

The power plugs are like in Scotland and England. So you’ll need an adapter. There are universal ones that costs between 4€ and 10€.

If you come from the States we use 220V, not 125V as you. Most laptop chargers can work in both in both voltages, but you should check with all your chargers, hair driers, etc…

I was surprised to discover that the English talked in the streets, and the practical English, is much more fluid and similar to Catalan grammatically than the official English that the schools teach.

For example, instead of asking: Did you go to the cinema? Is perfectly valid to ask: went to cinema?.

The Irish are very polite, and they respect the physical distance. If they are stood in front of you in the supermarket they will say sorry, and everybody says “Bye, thanks” when going down the bus. From Cork to Dublin you have less than 3 hours driving, I use more as I have a lesion in my back and I stop often, and 3 hours by train. There are also buses connecting Cork and Dublin airport every half an hour almost 24×7. Companies are: and

The Irisih will talk you randomly for no reason at the pub, or at the street. They have good sense of humor, are near, caring, nice and talkative. And they help others.

Once my Visa card failed on the cashier in the supermarket and the man behind me, thinking that I was in trouble, offered to pay my food. That really touched me.

Also another time I entered into the pub with paper bags from the supermarket, and due to the rain, one just crashed and my products when to the floor. One woman in his 65s jump from the chair and came running with a plastic bag “if it’s of any help”, offered it to me. I almost cried. I still keep that small blue bag.

The city

Cork has some of the better universities in Ireland, and in Europe.

So many students from all Ireland come here, and also international students.

The most well known universities for IT are UCC, more focuses on the theory, and CIT, more practical. So seasonally is a stuadent’s city.


Cork has a service of buses that when they work, they work well. Unfortunately often they have to be fixed and you may miss one or two because they did not pass or bass indicating that they’re going for maintenance.

Cork has a train that has good reputation (I’ve not used it), and will bring you to Blackpool, or to Cobh, or to Dublin.

There are long distances buses and that travel to Dublin almost every half an hour during the day or the night.

If you drive at 9AM traffic is terrible, as parents go to drive the kids to the school.

A very convenient app is Free Now, formerly MyTaxi. It will show you in real time where the taxi is, who is, you’ll be able to pay with Visa… Taxis in Cork or Barcelona are not like in the States. They don’t incorporate a monitor so you can see your route, and many taxis also don’t allow to pay with credit card (that happened to me in London too).

Take in count that from 08:30 to 09:30 you will need three times the time required to travel to a destination, as parents bring children to the school and people go to work and the ways collapse.

Also take in count that if you call a taxi using Free Now at those high intervals, maybe nobody will answer your request, or maybe they do and you’ll have to wait 30 minutes. Be advised.

If you are American you can drive legally with your American license for a year, after you’ll have to pass the exam, insurance will be €3,000/year.

Driving: We drive by the right side (as opposite to the wrong side) :)

Driving in the right is like in Scotland. Myself didn’t find it specially difficult but is much more easier renting an automatic car. I do this, and so I don’t have to think about the Gearbox when I travel by the States, or visit Barcelona or other European countries.

There are few automatic cars available. Absolutely the majority of cars in Ireland use manual gear. Don’t ask me why.

If you want to rent a car in the airport it will be around €40 per day, so ~€1,200 per month. I know that you can do good arrangements with small companies up to 650 € if you rent all the month. If you buy a car, insurance is really expensive. If you come from the United States you can drive a rent car, but if you want to buy one you will have to do the exams to get an Irish driving license. Insurance is particularly expensive, with prices that could be as insane as €4,000 if you don’t have a no claim bonus. If you are American they will not accept your American no claim bonus. Some of the insurances wants you to buy in one go, while others will allow you to split the payments in 30% in advance, and then every month. Knowing the tricks I was able to get my insurance for €1,250.


Cork airport is small, but comfortable. The bad point is that they don’t have many direct flights. Dublin has. We have direct flights to Barcelona, but seasonal, from end of March to end of October, with Aer Lingus.

Normally you’ll go to Dublin airport by or and fly direct to Barcelona, or you will fly from Cork to London to Barcelona, or from Cork to Amsterdam to Barcelona.

There is one ferry to Santander, Spain, and another to France.


Ireland’s day is Saint Patrick’s which is the patron of the country.

That day there is the Grand Parade, where everybody is present. The party last for 3 days with many cultural activities.

Well known traditions are the Irish traditional dance, and the Celtic music.

They have a very good repertory of contemporary music and popular music played in the pubs with a genuine, very lovely style IMO. Many many pubs play live music every night.

The 1st of April it the April’s fool, when many companies do all kind of jokes.

Local food

Food in Ireland has very good quality. In Cork there are many farmers, and is not strange to see the photo of the local farmer and the address of the place, when you buy products in the supermarket.

Meat is very good, the milk, and the bread which last only few days.

The most famous is probably the Irish breakfast, very similar to the Scottish breakfast including sausages, red beans, pudding (in Scotland they call it haggish), eggs, rashers (bacon), a potato triangle

This is actual breakfast from the cantine at work

I just discovered today that is like a tradition doing on Tuesday pancake (what we call a crep in Barcelona).


Cork is the second biggest city in Ireland, with a population of 280K. However being the 2nd doesn’t make it impressive in terms of number of citizens. Ireland is a small country, with only 4M inhabitants, and that you can cross from the bottom to the top, by car, in around 4 hours (I counted the Northern Ireland here), but this is a reason why people live very well.

Ireland is full of green and nature, and if you are outside the city you can notice how pure the air is in here.

If you compare to the F.C.B. “Camp Nou” stadium in Barcelona, with 99,354 sittings, or to the 2 Million people demonstrations for independence in Barcelona, you see that is no that much.


Official languages in Ireland are English and Irish (Gaelic) with Irish having preference. However the number of speakers of Irish is probably around 200,000.

All the official messages and driving signs are bilingual.

I spent my first two years in Ireland believing that “Bruscar” was an English word that I didn’t know for garbage bin, and that “Lana Bus” was some kind of bus service named “Lana”, until finally I realized that Bruscar is an Irish word for bin, and Lana is the Irish word for Bus. Also as I mentioned before, here we speak Hiberno English, which is not exactly the same English that is spoken in US or UK.

Cork citizens have the well deserved fame of having the most difficult English in the world. And it’s true. It was not only me at the beginning, there are Americans that don’t understand the accent too!. Basically it has a characteristic music and they remove all the spaces between the words, modulating also the volume of the sound. If that was not enough, they have their own slang and there are many books with that slang, so don’t make me guess how many words in the slang they have!. I can tell you that they have phrases, that, depending on how they pronounce have antagonist meanings.

Here we say runner, for running shoes, rashers, for bacon strips, we say grant or it’s grant to say that is Ok, and heya, thankya, bye now… not to bad, to express we are fine, it was mank (this food was horrible), this was deadly or class (like terrific), sound (thanks. Can also say he is sound), story or what’s the crack to ask how is going, he has notions (he believes is better than the others because he bought a car, or a big tv) and if you hear tikety boo (all Ok), or oki doky karaoke don’t be surprised. :)

We also use jump the gun (come to a conclusion too quickly), fair enough, and in my work we say informally go bananas or go coocoo although I think I’ve heard this to the Americans too.

I love specially the expression thanks a million, that actually comes from the Irish (Gaelic) language. And if you’re asking yourself, few people talk it fluently. Most of people have notions as it is taught in the schools, but not many families speak Irish at home.


The currency is Euros. The format of the currency is €10.50.

In Catalonia we use 10,50€.

Date Format

We use a mask of DD/MM/YYYY for example 29/01/2022, the same as in Catalonia, as opposite to US where it is MM/DD/YYYY so 01/29/2022.

We may use also 29-JAN-2022 to avoid that mess.

Myself I always use the international format YYYY-MM-DD like 2022-01-29. That really helps and saves problem when working in a multinational with offices in many countries. And also is very handy for sorting files if you prefix this mask as filename. That my Mom taught me when I was very young.


Religion is Catholic, and they practice and only in 2019 was voted in referendum to approve the abortion.

airbnb and hotels price

Airbnb is legal, and people uses it. Myself I was host in my flat for a while and was a great experience.

I had a lot of people from Dublin, that came to Cork for a concert or a wedding, and they just need the room to sleep, one day or two, basically.

Hotels price is like Barcelona between €100 and €150 euros per night. This price can be much higher if there is a congress. There are many seasonal activities where the city is full.

Something very typical to use is the B&B, Bed and Breakfast. B&B is a big house, normally managed by a family living there, that rent rooms, like if it was a hotel. Many Irish use it when going to a wedding or to visit the family and are very popular here. Typical prices are €100 or €50 euros per night. That’s typical in Scotland as well.

Finally the hostels, the cheapest price I have heard is a bed for €17 per night, but in a room shared with 7 more people.

Price of the rent

Price of the rent has been increasing like crazy in the last two years. A 2 bedroom flat, with 2 bathrooms, and furniture will cost at February around €1,500/month.

People live in houses, more than flats. Except for the city center, of course.

If you don’t mind to live in a house, far from the bus and the city center, probably you can get a house with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom per 1,300/month.

You need references. That’s very important.

The best website to find properties to rent, or rooms, is

The usual is to leave 1 deposit and pay the current month, if the Landlord or Landlady hired an agency, they are the ones that will pay the agency.

English and expats

Some of my colleagues are afraid to go to an English speaking country cause they feel ashamed, they think their accent is not very good.

Well, the English of Cork is difficult, but they know and will speak to you slowly if they see you have difficulties. Don’t be afraid to say “Say it again” “Sorry, can you repeat?” “Did you mean xxxx?”.

In my first job here most of my IT colleagues were expats: from France, from Italy, from India, from Romania, Kurdish, from Nigeria, from Spain… all of them have a different accent and we understand each other. And if you go to meetups (I recommend in order to know people) or conferences, you’ll see that many have a terrible accent worst than you. Fortunately English speaking people understand that English is not native language and value your efforts. If you ask them to correct you, you’ll learn and improve very fast. We’re very lucky to be appreciated for our intelligence and not for how we dress, or for our accent.

And many times locals will fins your accent very exotic and interesting. :)

In my second job there is not a single Engineer in Operations Irish. I’m Catalan, there is Italian, Indian, German, Russian, Romanian, English, Danish…

So Ireland is very welcoming, and is hungry for IT experts.

Also the English spoken in Ireland is different from the English spoken in UK. In Ireland we talk Hiberno-English which has some different with the England’s English. We have an additional verbal time, so it’s right to say “one year ago I was going to school every day” that may sound shocking for other English speaking natives. We would also say “I exited and my bicycle was there no more” naturally. The way questions are mare, is super natural for me as Catalan native, as it is very close to the way we talk.

Also the English accent in Cork is recognized to be the most difficult across all the English speaking countries, with even cases of American coming to Cork, and being unable to understand what a taxi driver or a server is telling. So don’t feel ashamed if your accent is not good. Also Irish are very nice and if they see you not understanding, they will talk to you slowly, omitting the local slang, which is surprisingly rich.

We use many words like: runners, rashes… and it’s impossible that you know that until you fully live here.

Salaries for IT

90% of IT companies in the world have presence in Ireland. That’s massive.

Here, in Cork, you have nice companies like Blizzard, Ibm, Quest, Dell, Logitech, Qualcomm, Vmware, McAffee, Trend micro, Facebook…

For people not in IT, there are several companies that provide Call Support in different languages, like Apple, VoxPro… so many non IT people work there.

Salary varies a lot depending in which role you work and if is a big company.

For the first multinational I worked here, a grad, which is basically somebody that finished the degree and has two years of experience, or that finished the degree and did one master, the salary was €30,000 gross per year plus 20% optional yearly bonus.

A Senior Software Engineer with 5 years of experience developing Software will get between €60,000 and €75,000 gross per year. Salaries in Dublin are around 15%, or more, higher but the rent it is too.

As Cloud Architect I had offers of 6 figures.

The minimum wage for an adult at Feb 2020, is €10.10 per hour, that’s around €1,656.20 net per month.

The tax percentage that you pay depends on the amount of your income. The first part of your income, up to a certain amount, is taxed at 20%. This is known as the standard rate of tax and the amount that it applies to is known as the standard rate tax band.

The remainder of your income is taxed at the higher rate of tax, 40%.

Expats have some tax exceptions during the first year working.

And make sure to register into Tax and Revenue ASAP as until you do you are taxed with “emergency tax” which are higher. The tax and revenue is very efficient and transparent in my experience, and they will give you back any additional money kept under the emergency tax very quickly.

Irish income tax is progressive, with two bands 20% and 40%.

The average monthly net salary in the Republic of Ireland is around 3000 EUR, with a minimum income of 1600 EUR per month. This places Ireland on the 8th place in the International Labour Organisation statistics for 2012, after United Kingdom, but before France.


Stocks are heavily taxed in Ireland, with a 52%.

So if your company pays you €10,000 in stocks, you’ll get only €4,800.

After this, the first €1,270 of capital gain are free of taxes. That means that if the value of your remaining €4,800 becomes €7,000, you’ll not pay taxes for the €4,800 as you already paid them when you got the stocks, and you will not pay taxes of the first €1,270 of the capital gain. For the rest of the capital gains of €930 you’ll be taxed at 40%.

In Germany you pay 25% for capital gains.


Internet is good and many places have fiber.

Myself I live in a quiet area, 15 minutes by car from the center, and I have a 360 Mbit/s fiber connection.

In some places they have 1 Gbit/s connections.

As people tend to live in houses instead of flats (the city center is really small) many places can only use DSL or poorly 4G connections, which is very annoyng during covid-19 lockdown and WFH as we have to disable video in chats with the colleagues.

Office material

The paper we use here is Din A4, like in Catalonia.

Buying Hardware

There are two Hardware stores in the City Center. The rest you will have to order using

If you look for an UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), you may see that most of them are not shipped to Ireland. This is due to restrictions flying batteries.

There are specialized sites in UK where you can buy and they will ship them to Ireland.


I consider Cork a very safe city. Starting a fight is a crime, and because their polite personality, violence of fights are not the usual. Exception to this can be found in the city center, late at night, with young (and not so young) people drunk.

People, men and women, walk fearless by the street at night.

Must say that the situation has gone a bit worst since the last two years, cause heroine has arrived to the city, and that causes some addicts to act in desperation. There are really few cases. Any tragedy or violent crime appears in the newspapers and is a new for a week, pointing, that fortunately this is not frequent.

People leave their belongings in the coffee and in the pub while they go to the restroom or to smoke. This is something you cannot do in Barcelona.

However I have known of some foreigners stealing jackets in pubs like Craig Lane. It is a shame that they do this in a so nice country like this.

It is super safe specially if we compare to Dublin, where I’ve seen yonkies running and taking the phone from people talking in the street, or going in bicycle and stealing by pulling the cameras on the neck of Japanese tourist (that I’ve been told, I didn’t see). I don’t like to go to Dublin for that reason.


There is one kind of police only, the Gardai.

They don’t carry guns or batons, as Irish consider that this scales the violence. That if police has guns, bad guys will have machine guns, etc… So basically they try to convince the offenders to stop their attitude and surrender. They have a unit of weaponized gardai for emergencies.

My interactions with Gardai have been very positive. They have been very nice, polite, attentive. Coming from Barcelona where Spanish police hits the voters of a referendum, or hist the Catalans citizens, just cause they are Catalans finding normal policeman at the service of the citizens is something I really value.

An American friend of mine that was police, adds that wearing a knife is illegal.


The pub close around 1:30 AM, some at 00:30. When they do the “last call” means that is the last 5 minutes you can order drinks. After that they will start cleaning and you can stay while they do, normally for half an hour or an hour more, finishing your drinks. So yes, when it’s last call some people order 3 beers.

Almost all the pubs in the city center play live music almost every night. Few specialize in traditional Irish dance, most are modern rock singers or bands.

There is a disco that closes late, is called “Vodoo rooms”, and has 3 different kind of musics / ambiances with a terrace on top where is it possible to smoke. It is very well dimensioned in terms of security, and personnel is all the time attentive to detect liquid on the floor or broken glasses, and the clean everything very quickly and effectively.

Security guards in the pub have a band with their photo, name, and license number. Only people that passed the certification can be security guard. Many of them are people in their 55, so it’s less likely that they’re going to cause trouble to customers. In fact I found them very attentive, telling me hello and bye every time.

Dangers/Terror histories/Bad experiences

As said I don’t have the perception of danger in Cork, however, there is a warning signal that things can be wrong with youngsters.

This is something than an American expolice and I discussed, and he had the same impression. I have discussed with other adults and see the point like me.

The young guys, between 15 and 17 y.o. go in gangs, in groups 10, 15 or 20, and at that point they can be rude, disrespectful, have fun at the expense of others or damage a property for fun. This is the biggest danger we see.

Coming from Barcelona I laugh at the attempts of some young guys in group to pretend to be though and intimidating, so no big deal, but I had a bad experience twice, when I was walking in the street and a group throw me an egg, from behind from a running car.

I was walking using my headphones when suddenly I saw the egg passing by my side and exploding on the floor, half meter in front of my feet, and the car running away. They missed it. But as I continued walking I saw more eggshells and egg contents on the floor, so they were targeting random people for fun. That was when I had been for a year in Cork, and I decided that this will not ruin my positive experience.

I talked to my boss and he told me that this is something relative popular that some youngsters do, and that he used to find it funny when he was a young boy (he never did) until he knew about the case of a woman, that just turn back at the same time that the egg was coming from behind, at high speed as coming from a car, and impacted in her eye, making her loss her cornea, so the eyesight of one eye.

The second time I was walking on the same street, 2 Km distance from the when the first time, I was in front of the hospital, walking to the gym. I was walking 3 hours every day, and spending 45 minutes more on the bicycle in the gym, every day. As I walked my way to the gym, passing in front of the hospital, with my headphones and my hood, as it was cold or slightly raining, I noticed a heavy impact in my right arm and I got scared and my reaction was to get defensive to fight back. In slow motion I saw the egg bouncing from my arm to the floor. It didn’t explode on contact with my jacked and arm, bounced, and exploded in the floor without getting to me. As my reaction was to get scared by the impact in my arm, and my primary reaction was to fight back, they were lucky that I was talking by phone with a relative, and I explained what happened, which prevent me from my impulse to run after the car. They were lucky, cause 200 meters ahead they had to stop cause there was a semaphore and cars stopped by. They could not have escaped if I chased them and hit the windows. Fortunately nothing of this happened.

There is a community of poor people that live in tents. That’s very sad. Here is really cold, under 0 centigrade degrees some times (today 29th Feb we are at 2 cent. degrees. There are young people also in there, I read about one case in the newspapers. They could have died out there. Social services are insufficient according to the locals and they organize charity to help them live in a better place, provide better clothes, etc… Those people living in tents are exposed to drug addicts that rob the place trying to find money or something to sell.

This is the dark side and many of my expat colleagues do not know this. I live in Cork since 5 years ago, I’m well integrated, I read the newspapers, have local friends, ask the taxi drivers… so I know.


I would say that Cork, even being Catholic, is open to LGTB+. For St. Patricks cellebration some drag queen are in the carousel.

There is at least one bar/disco declared LGTB+ Friendly next to the city council with their big multi color flag proudly shown. Is The Chambers.

They do very nice concerts on Saturdays, and on Fridays they do Karaoke.


You must be advised, that unless specified different, restaurant will close the kitchen at 9:00PM (21:00). Some resturants may close at 11PM, and in the city center there is a McDonnald’s that is opened 24 hours.

Cofe places close around 6PM, at 8PM in the city center with few exceptions. (In Barcelona I used to go to a coffee that closes at midnight or later)

Most of the pubs serve food until 21:00 too.

Iconic places in Cork city

The English Market

Iconic nearby places

There are many precious walking paths and parks, full of green. The weather may surprise you, so it’s important to wear good clothes with a hood.

Gougane Barra





Cork Zombie Walk

Cork MidSummer Festival

Social Security / Hospitals

The health is private. You go to the GP (General Practitioner) and they will extend a receipt so you can buy your medicines in the pharmacy.

When I needed to take some radiographies, I had to do the visit, pay €50, then pay €80 in the hospital for the radiography.

If you have an European health card, they may accept it. Some expats told me that theirs were accepted and had to pay nothing at the hospital.

A private health insurance is recommended. Probably the most well known is Laya healthcare.

I know there are long term sickness that are subsidized and the government pays all the medicines for the patients.