Hello let me tell you it is FULLY possible to work in Ireland. That is, I assume you are talking about the South (Republic of) Ireland, and that you are talking about a big city such as Dublin, where all the work, legit and 'non-legit' is.
I am a South African who worked in Ireland (Dublin) a few years ago, both legit and 'non-legit'.
As far as getting legit work, like the IT person asked, THAT can be very difficult - you may have to make two trips, one to find the work, and one to then re-enter the country once your prospective employer has applied for a work permit for you.
But as far as non-legit or under-the-table work goes. It is plentiful especially in high season. And not impossible to get. The reason being that, unlike some other EU countries (the Netherlands springs to mind), in Ireland the tax function is seperate from the work permit function. I.e. you can apply for a tax number from the tax department WITHOUT having a work permit. And many casual employers assume that if you have a tax number, you must have permission to work, or otherwise they just turn a blind eye. Also as long as they have a tax number for you they can fill in the forms that they have to and then they have done their legal bit. You can get a tax number from the tax office if you are not sure where it is ask the tourist office.
There are a few catches of course. The main thing is that if you are young and full of energy you can make it, if you are old or otherwise tired you may not, because it can take a bit of work from your side and there ARE obstacles to overcome. Bargain on it taking you at least a week of CONCENTRATED and continued effor to find a work. And do of course realise that you will be underpaid and grievously exploited.
- Stay in a backpackers hostel because that is where 'word of mouth' relating to jobs is rife - a lot of people there are in the same boat and know-people-who-have-gotten-a-job-here-or-there etc.
(Ask the residents not the staff it is better).
- Do have enough money to carry yourself for at least three weeks comfortably, or four weeks uncomfortably.
- Do NOT under any circumstances accept a 'job offer' of any company that states that for your 'training period' or 'evaluation period' you will not get paid and then thereafter you will get paid or told if you got the job or not. This is just a scheme to get some free labour with no commitment.
- Places to look for under-the-table work include pubs and fast-food establishments. Places I know of for a fact that hire foreigners
without too many questions are the Pizza Hut and Abrakebabra chain. Also I think McDonalds too. Having said that I myself worked at an Abrakebabra and it was SHEER AND UTTER HELL and must have taken five years off my life easy. But the girl I knew who worked at Pizza Hut seemed to be happy there. Free pizza too.
At a pub even if you can't get work waitering you can get work cleaning tables or washing glasses. But you have to ask at many pubs. Look in the inner city. Start in the Temple Bar area.
The people at your backpackers may know of factories etc. that are hiring.
A good newspaper to buy for job ads is the Herald.
That's all I can think of now.