Are you currently a student or will you be one in the future? If so you can get a crazy student deal on a bunch of Autodesk apps, Autodesk Education Suite I think it's called $350 US, not sure what it'll cost you in Ireland. You get Maya, Max, Mudbox, XSI and Motion Builder 2010 with a perpetual license.
Go for a used Intuos 2 or 3, probably much cheaper than a new 4 and just a good.
Zbrush might be a good investment as so far all their upgrades have been free.
had some good suggestions about picking up a copy of Photoshop in the photoshop: regular or extended
As a user of Modo it's a fairly cheap good 3D app as well, it just can't do character animation...
I don't know about Vray, unless you plan on doing Archvis work it's not really necessary.
About PC hardware:
I wouldn't bother getting any top of the line stuff, go for value. Get 8GB or more cheapish ram and a decent CPU (maybe intel quad core or cheap i7 if such exists...), a midrange Nvidia card, and a couple of 500GB or so hard drives and your good to go.
Forgot to mention, go with a 64bit OS Win7, Vista64bit, or XP64bit.