The tourist industry in particular is busy during the summer, and farms are in need of labourers in spring for sowing and in autumn for harvesting, as well as throughout the year in certain sectors. If you aren’t already an Irish citizen or migrant, it’s important to make sure that you’re eligible to work in Ireland before you arrive.
Opportunities for temporary, casual and seasonal jobs include:
Business: Employment agencies specialise in temporary and casual job vacancies in offices and shops in most parts of the country. It’s obviously an advantage if you have some experience; if you have a qualification in a profession such as banking, finance, insurance, accountancy or law, you might even walk into a well paid job.
Construction: The continuing building boom in Ireland and an acute shortage of construction workers mean that temporary work on building sites is relatively easy to find. The largest agency specialising in construction jobs, temporary and permanent, is Manpower Construction Recruitment (Tel. 01-887 3900), not to be confused with Manpower, the general recruitment agency, who cover all types of building work, from labouring to project management.
Farming: There are thousands of farms in Ireland which usually need help, particularly during busy periods such as at sowing and harvesting times. Work is likely to be hard and the hours long, but in addition to wages you may receive free accommodation and food. Most farms recruit casual labour locally, but placements of three months or more (including permanent positions) are also dealt with by the Farm Relief Service, which has 25 regional offices acting as a recruitment service for local farmers. For a list of offices, see the FRS website (www.frs.ie) or dial 0505-22100. Farming vacancies are also advertised in the weekly Irish Farmers’ Journal, available in some European countries or direct from the number 01-450 1166. The Farm Apprenticeship Board (Tel. 01-450 1980) occasionally offers six month placements to non-EU nationals (particularly from Eastern Europe), although this scheme was on hold in early 2001. An organisation called Macra na Feirme (‘Sons of the Land’) arranges exchange programmes with similar organisations throughout Europe for young people (mostly in their early 20s) already in farming. Exchanges are for a minimum of three months and participants are paid ‘pocket money’ and provided with board and lodging. To join a programme, you need to register with the relevant organisation in your home country. Contact Macra na Feirme for details (Tel. 01-450 8000).
Hotels & Catering: Hotels, restaurants and bars normally have a demand for waiters/waitresses, bar staff, chambermaids, receptionists and handymen throughout the year. Many employment agencies deal with this type of vacancy. If you want to go it alone, there’s nothing to stop you approaching hotels and restaurants directly, although it’s a good idea to telephone and ask about vacancies before travelling to the ‘back of beyond’ looking for work.
Industry: As in most countries, there are often casual jobs available in factories and warehouses such as cleaning, labouring, portering or security. Particularly numerous are casual, temporary and seasonal jobs in some of the many food processing plants. This kind of work is notoriously unreliable: plants that may be working flat out one week stand idle the next, e.g. when there’s a slump in the market or the season is over. Jobs of this kind can be found through employment agencies, in local newspapers or simply by turning up at the factory gate (very early!).
Nursing: Another area in which Ireland is acutely short-staffed is nursing and, provided that you have relevant qualifications and experience, you may be able to find short-term work.
Tourism: Ireland attracts tourists year-round, but particularly during the summer (April to October, peaking during the school holidays from late July to early September). Jobs are available in shops, at tourist attractions, and on boats and beaches throughout the country.
Other: Other types of temporary or casual job include exhibition work (setting up and manning stands), sorting mail during the pre-Christmas period, gardening, market research, modelling (art colleges hire models of all shapes and sizes), security work, newspaper and magazine distribution, driving and courier work.
There are many books for those seeking holiday jobs including Summer Jobs Abroad by David Woodworth and Work Your Way Around The World by Susan Griffith (both published by Vacation Work).