As the capital of a country of good music, good people, and a good story, Dublin is home to over a half of a million people. Relics of the past are housed next to all of the modern amenities. Decades of films and centuries of writers have made the Irish landscape famous. But Dublin, Ireland, isn’t without its problems. Though only 5.5% live under the poverty line, Ireland has reached a 14.6% unemployment rate (that’s almost seven hundred thousand people). Though attempting to rebuild its economy, volunteers lay the groundwork for the improvement by working in dozens of settings across the country, but mostly in Dublin itself.
Childcare and Education
These volunteers programs are important for the most fundamental of reasons: Children are the future of our world. There are opportunities to volunteer in all different settings. There are volunteer teaching positions in schools, jobs coaching kids’ sports teams at school or local centers, and even those help out children who’ve had trouble with the law. The hours vary for these different programs, but most are 5 days a week and 15-25 hours per week, depending on the job.
Animals are intrinsic to Ireland and their care is a big part of many Irish lives. You cannot travel from one city to another without seeing a dozen sheep and/or cows. There are a couple of opportunities to work with animals near the edges of Dublin. These positions usually require more hours per week.
Those who have lived long lives often need more help than we remember (or that they care to admit sometimes). Even having someone sit down and chat for an hour or two can change the day of someone living in a rest home. There are also many opportunities to work with those who have disabilities. These are some of the most enriching experiences and only require about 20 hours per week.
Volunteer Support: Any legitimate program will take good care of its volunteers. If there’s not a member of the program staff physically available to you during the day/evening, then you should have phone numbers where you can reach them. Most programs will provide you with housing, though not necessarily meals. If you need more serious help, you can always go to your embassy in Dublin and ask questions there.
NGO/Nonprofit/Volunteer History: The Irish people are very charitable, so it comes as no surprise that Dublin has quite the history of NGO, nonprofits, and volunteer work. They work in dozens of fields and many different settings within those fields. There’s an opportunity for everyone to help in a way that interests them.
Requirements & Things to Know Before You Go
If you plan to be in Ireland for 90 days or less, you do not need a visa. If you’d like to stay longer, you’ll need a volunteer visa. You will need paperwork form your program along with other documents (all in English). For more information, visit Citizens Information.
How Volunteering Here Will Help Your Future
Ireland has been trying to rebuild their economy for several years now and, to certain degrees, they are making progress. The opportunities to go to Dublin and help improve the country are vast; you can find any number of places to volunteer your time. The Irish people can make you feel like an old friend before you’ve even realized you’re not one of them. International travel does give a sense of self-reliance and independence that travelling near home can never bring. And on the job front, international work/volunteering will always look good on your CV.
Questions to Ask
How do I contact the program staff? Will I need public transit or can I walk? What amenities are nearby?
Health & Safety of Volunteers
There are no specific vaccinations required to travel to Ireland. It is recommended to be caught up on all your regular shots, like tetanus, and that you may want to get an influenza vaccine if you plan to travel during the winter months.
Ireland is a safe country with far less violent crime than most. Even the pick-pocketing risk is lower in Dublin than in other European capitals. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep your wits about you, but it does mean you don’t need to worry too much.