We are an Irish company and currently have a .ie domain for our main website with two other ccTLDs for our international sites - .co.uk and .nl (they are slightly different domain names as they were set up at intervals by different people). However, for ease of maintenance (we have one web guy looking after 3 WordPress installs) and better SEO focus we want to merge them all under one domain and use subdirectories for our international sites (ie, .../uk/ and .../nl/) .
Is it bad practice to use .ie as our top-level domain with subdirectories for our other country pages? ie blah.ie/uk/, blah.ie/nl/ and blah.ie for Ireland-focused content
Would this affect our chances of ranking in the UK and in the Netherlands? Would we be able to geotarget those subdirectories for those countries through webmaster tools?
Why would we do this? We have a high ranking .ie domain and the .com alternative to it is already registered to another person, though it could potentially be bought off of them (for a price likely outside our budget). Additionally, the majority of our customers are in Ireland and we only have a few pages for the UK and the Netherlands (which both get low traffic).