Living in Northern Ireland: Geography, Climate and Economy

Northern Ireland Tourism

Living in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Culture

Geography

Where to live in NI? If you're coming to work, chances are that you will be working in or close to Belfast. In practical terms most people wouldn't consider commuting more than perhaps 30 minutes or so which means you would also probably be living quite close to Belfast. Obviously this kind of thinking has a number of consequent of cultural effects.

 

Climate

As I said Belfast is small and it's also a good deal further north than London. I don't know if you'd know about oceanic and continental climates but Belfast has an oceanic one while London is partly continental. Basically if you've an oceanic climate you don't get very cold winters or very warm summers because the ocean beside you takes ages to heat up and cool down. Since land heats up and cools down pretty fast you get very hot summers and much colder winters (depending on latitude obviously). So when I'm going to London in the summer it's always a few degrees warmer and I leave the coat at home whereas in the winter I need to take a big coat.

 

Economy

Well we're part of the UK so everything is dictated by UK laws in terms of tax, interest rates, currency, etc. However, the Northern Ireland economy is dominated by the public sector so even when there is a recession in the UK as a whole we wouldn't notice that much if it weren't on the news. We've a Value Added Tax which goes on just about everything but it's included in the price so you don't need a calculator to work out what you've to pay in the shops (well I would if I ever looked at the prices as I'm just dreadful at counting!). Income tax starts at 20% but it's mainly 23% up to about UKP 30,000 ($45,000) annual salary and 40% on everything above that. As well as that there's National Insurance which is another income tax in all but name and is about 7%. The currency is Sterling (the Republic of Ireland uses Euro). We've two universities which is a lot considering that the entire population is only about 1.5 million but quite a lot of students come up from the Republic as they get free education here whereas they'd have to pay for it there (there's about 3 million people living down there). There's more on taxes and the welfare system later...

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