I'm quite sure that there are cheap places in Ireland, same as America, and also highly coveted and desirable areas, same as in any country. Bigger cities are always going to be more expensive, of course, but states like Iowa, Missouri, Kanas, Nebraska, etc. have very VERY low housing rates. You can get a 5 bed, 3 bath for less than $200,000 in most of these states.
It also depends on how much money you make. Making what I make in California was a joke and I couldn't even make any kind of down payment for a home, but now that I make what I made in California and now live in Colorado? I'm buying my first house.
Also, it depends on work and property taxes. Homes in Texas are cheap as hell, plenty of work for most towns/cities, but the property taxes per year are out of control.
And you talk about FHA loans and 0% down, and that's all well and good, but the mortgage insurance is what gets you every time and for people that put 0% down, their mortgage can be out-of-control expensive. Friends of mine bought a house with 3.25% down and her husband had horrible credit. Their mortgage was $2600 per MONTH.