How much can you save by doing your grocery shopping in Northern Ireland?

Henry McKean took a trip up to Newry to see how prices compared to Dublin supermarkets...

A full grocery shopping trip in Northern Ireland is around 15% cheaper than an almost identical shop in the Republic.

Supermarkets across the border have long had a reputation for being significantly cheaper than their southern equivalents - and Newstalk’s Henry McKean decided to put that to the test.

Henry spent in £74.58 (€88.95) in Sainsbury’s Newry earlier this week. Replicating the purchases in a Dunnes in Dublin City Centre set him back €104.36.

There were some quite stark price difference. A tub of Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream, Strawberries and Cream flavour, cost £2.50 (€2.99) across the border - compared to €6.30 in Dublin.

There were notable differences across a wide range of products, from milk to shampoo.

Of course, there are inevitably some differences between products in different stores. However, as Henry observed, “the items in the North seemed to be bigger and cheaper - you get more for your money”.

Check out the video outlining some of the prices differences:


While Northern Ireland may be cheaper for most items, you do need to get there in the first - so depending on what you are looking for and where you are coming from you mightn’t be able make any significant savings.

It is about an hour’s drive from Dublin airport to Newry, which will set you back around €16 on fuel for a return trip. The further you are from the border, the less likely the trip will be worth your while.

However, Margaret - from Lucan in Dublin - told Henry she thinks it was definitely a worthwhile journey to Newry.

“I came up today just to have a look around Newry to see what bargains I could pick up, the rate being so good in sterling at the moment.

“The kids were off school so we decided to just take the chance and go up, and [we] picked up some really good bargains in groceries and some clothes,” she added. She reckoned she saved around 25% all-in-all.

Why exactly are the prices in the North lower? Generally, Northern Ireland is a cheaper place to live: rents are lower, rates are lower and the overall cost of living is lower.

Henry told Seán Moncrieff: “I understand British supermarkets keep the prices the same across the UK, and they don’t pass on the cost of shipping the food across the Irish sea like the ones in the Republic do.”

He also pointed out that the Republic has long been known as an expensive place to do business. The Brexit vote, meanwhile, could see British products in Irish stores going up as much as 10% as a result of currency changes - although cross-border shoppers from the South will be able to enjoy cheaper products in towns like Newry due to the favourable exchange rates.

Savvy shoppers will definitely be able to achieve some significant savings and find some great bargains in Northern Ireland. Just make sure you don’t end up stuck in the shopping centre carpark after closing time like Henry was.

Listen to the full report here: