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The 20 Best Places to Live in Ireland


The Republic of Ireland is an island nation located in western Europe and a beautiful place to live. Ireland was a part of the United Kingdom until it won independence in 1922. The country has 32 counties. Ireland is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Channel and the Irish Sea. It's climate is temperate. The towns of Ireland lay along mountains and hills, plains, and coastal peninsulas. The Irish are known for their love of many sports including football, rugby, horseback racing and swimming. They also love arts and culture, and many towns host annual festivals attracting residents and visitors. Many towns have historic sites including castles and churches. The Irish also love shopping, dining and their pubs. The Irish are known for their friendliness and warmth welcoming visitors to their towns.

20. Killarney - County Kerry

Killarney is a major tourist spot in Ireland and also considered a great place to retire. Located in southwest Ireland, Killarney is quite and laid back. The town with a population of about 14,500 is home to Killarney National Park. There is a real sense of community in Killarney, and the town hosts several sports clubs including rowing, cycling, football, rugby and horse racing. .Killarney has always been an attraction for tourists since the town was visited by Queen Victoria in 1861. Today Killarney hosts several festivals including the Irish Folk Festival, Killarney Walking and Cycling Festivals and the Killarney Beer Festival.

19. Kenmare - County Kerry

Kenmare means "The Little Nest" and is a peaceful village to live in with enough amenities to keep you busy. Kenmare is located at the Roughy River at the head of Kenmare Bay. The city has a population of just over 2,100. It's known for its beautiful countryside, golf and horse riding. The city's Carnegie Library was built by Andrew Carnegie. During the 1990's, the citizens of Kenmare realized their potential to host tourists because the city lies along 2 major tourist routes. Estates and holiday homes were built as well as bed and breakfasts. Kenmare has always been known as a local market town, so its citizens began holding monthly auction and fair days.

18. Bray - County Wicklow

Bray is a resort town, popular with tourists, located just 12 miles south of Dublin. The coastal town is a great place to live for commuters and retirees. Bray was founded by St. Kevin during the sixth century and became a town of pilgrimages. It remains a destination for tourists. Residents and visitors enjoy the city's 2 18 hole golf courses, the mile long promenade to the harbor where swans relax, the Bray Heed walking trails, the Elizabethan revival mansion Killruddery House, and the Gothic Revival churches built during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Bray has several local sports clubs and hosts several annual festivals including St. Patrick's Carnival, the Bray Summer Festival, and the Bray Jazz Festival.

17. Connmemara - County Galway

Connemara is a suburb of Galway and takes up much of the areas western coast. The charming city is rural yet it's not difficult to make your way to Galway and other surrounding towns. The coastline of Connemara is made up of several peninsulas that offer amazing views of the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Connmemara is a center for Irish culture. Its residents mostly speak the Gaeltacht dialect of Irish.

16. Waterford - County Waterford

Waterford, Ireland is located on the Waterford Harbour in southeastern Ireland. It has the country's fifth largest population, 53,500. Yet it's a great place to live. Waterford is best known for Waterford Crystal which began making glass in 1783. The company was sold in 2009 but its visitor's center still remains. Waterford is filled with art and cultural events including theater, libraries, cinema and The Barrack Street Concert Band. The city hosts several annual festivals including a film festival, a music festival, a tall ship festival, a food festival and the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera. Waterford hosts several sports clubs including boating and football. The city has a major community feeling.

15. Cork - County Cork

Cork is Ireland's largest city in area and it's third largest in population. The population is 125,000. Located in southwestern Ireland, Cork's city center is located on an island between two channels of the River Lee. There are quays and docks mixed with medieval remnants. Cork was a monastic village that was expanded by the Vikings in the tenth . It became a walled city during the twelfth century. Cork is nicknamed the "Rebel City" because of its opposition to the Anglo Irish Treaty and the Irish Civil War as well as its constant competition with Ireland's capital city, Dublin. Cork has a great sports and cultural scene. It is home to the Cork Film Festival, the Cork Opera House, the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery and the Crawford School of Art and Design. Cork has a major industrial presence. Shopping is also big in Cork on St. Patrick's Street. Cork has a major culinary presence and is well known for its English Market which sells traditional Irish food.

14. Kinsale - Cork

If you don't want to live in the big city of Cork but wouldn't mind being nearby, Kinsale is just 16 miles south of Cork. Kinsale has a great public railway system, so it's not difficult to get to Cork for a fun time. Kinsale is a port and fishing village with a population of just over 5,000. Kinsale is known for its water sports including yachting and sea angling. It also is close to lovely golf courses. The quiet town has several sports groups and a major sense of community. Kinsale hosts an annual Jazz fest each October which attracts several locals and tourists.

13. Kildare Town - County Kildare

Kildare means "Church of the Oak". The Midwest Irish city was named for the fifth century monastery founded by Saint Bridgid. The monastery became a Carmelite friary. The Dublin suburb is quite and peaceful with a population today of just 8,600. Today the city is best known for its horseracing at Curragh Racecourse. It's also loved for its Kildare Village shopping outlet. For those who don't want to live in Dublin, this suburb is a great place to reside.

12. Galway - County Galway

Galway is the central western port city of Ireland. The city lies along Galway Bay, and the Rivers Corrib and Galway run through the city. The city was built during the twelfth century and through the middle ages. Claddagh is the oldest part of Galway and remnants still exist. There are also remnants of th earliest medieval settlement which can be viewed through a protective glass floor. Galway is called "Ireland's Cultural Heart". The city hosts several festivals throughout the year. It has a strong theater, museum and music presence. The NUI Galway was built in 1849 during the potato famine and remains the location of three major universities. Of course, as with most Irish cities, Galway has many sporting clubs for everything from football to horse riding. Attractions include pubs, restaurants and shopping. Galway's population is just 80,000 so it's not too crowded should you choose to live there.

11. Shannon - County Claire

Shannon is newer city located on the eastern coast of Ireland. The city was built on redeveloped marshland in the 1960's. In 1959 the area was named Shannon Free zone which had a large cluster of American investment businesses. Shannon was built with this in mind as well as to provide housing for airport workers. Although not ideally planned, the city underwent more development during the 1990's as the population grew. Today there are modern housing developments, a large supermarket and a large indoor shopping center. There's a lot to do in Shannon including walking trails in the city's rolling hills, Barley Harbor, kayaking the River Shannon, dining, shopping and visiting pubs.

10. Dublin - County Dublin

The capital of Ireland is a great place to live if you want to deal with crowds and a higher cost of living than other Irish cities. Dublin has a lot to offer its residents and visitors. Ireland's economic center is home to large businesses, great universities, great sports and and great entertainment. The city was founded by the Vikings and is divided in half by the River Liffey. Its home to Croke Park, Ireland's largest Stadium. Dublin Castle dates back to the thirteenth century as the city's fortress. Dublin is home to great cultural centers, beautiful cathedrals like St. Patrick's, the National Museum of Ireland, and plenty of restaurants, pubs and shopping. Dublin was home to several renowned authors including James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.

9. Dalkey - County Dublin

If you're not interested in the crowds and high cost of living of Dublin, Dalkey is a southeastern suburb of Dublin located along the sea. The city is named for Dalkey Island which is located just offshore. Dalkey became an active port town during the middle ages. Later its quarries were mined for stone and granite. Today the quarry is used for rock climbing. There are several small harbors along Dalkey's coast. Wildlife love Dalkey. There you will seals, wild goats and many species of birds. Dalkey's main street is Castle Street which is lined with churches, castles, shops and pubs. Dalkey hosts several festivals including the Jazz and Seafood Festivals. Dalkey was once home to Irish authors James Joyce, Maeve Bindy and George Bernard Shaw as well as singer and songwriter, Van Morrison.

8. Kilkenny - Kilkenny

Kilkenny is a great place to live. It's located in central Ireland and has a population of just 2,600. The city is a tourist attraction do to its historical buildings, art galleries, museum and theater. Kilkenny also hosts several festivals including one on St. Patrick's Day. Kilkenny is built on the banks of the Ruver Nore. Popular historic sites include Kilkenny Castle and walls, St. Cance's Cathedral and tower and the city's old wooden mills.

7. Aughrim - County Wicklow

Aughrim is a charming village located in eastern Ireland in County Winslow. The population is just 1,400, so if you're looking for a small town to live in, this is it. The town is known for its agriculture, timber processing and horticulture. There are several granite terraced houses located throughout the town. Aughrim is also known for its angling fishing with the main catch being rainbow trout. The town also hosts the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Aughrim rugby club for young players. Aughrim is family friendly with parks, playgrounds and walking trails.

6. Dungarvan - County Waterford

Dungarvan i a seaside market town located on the southern coast of Ireland. The town has a population of a little over 9,200. It's home to a few manufacturing facilities, agricultural businesses and the Dungarvan Cooperative, a creamery. Dungarvan is located at the mouth of the Colligan River. More than a century ago the town had a tannery, a distillery, a gasworks and a fishing fleet. Today Dungarvan hosts visiting yachts in its harbor. The town has historical buildings still standing including a thirteenth century castle.

5. Lismore - County Waterford

Another lovely County Waterford town to live in is Lismore. Lismore is located at the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains and along the River Blackwater. The town's population is just 1,300. Lismore's historical landmarks include Lismore Castle built at the site of medieval monaseary where the Book of Lismore, documenting the lives of Saints, was written. Other places to see in Lismore include The Towers, Fort Williams Fishery and Saint Carthage's Cathedral. Lismore hosts a Farmers and Crafts Market. There is also shopping and dining in Lismore including pubs like the popular Craftsman Bar.

4. Cobh - County Cork

Cobh is a seaport town located on the southern coast of Ireland. The name means "Cove". From 1849 until 1920, Cobh was called Queenstown in honor of Queen Victoria. Cobh was a major shipbuilding center and a major transatlantic port. The town saw off 2.5 million Irish immigrants. It was also the final port of call for the RMS Titanic. Today the town is a tourist destination for many and welcomes cruise liners to its port. Cobh overlooks the Islands of Spike and Haulbowline. At its highest point is St. Colmon's Cathedral, one of Ireland's tallest buildings.

3. Dingle - County Kerry

Dingle is the only town located on Ireland's southwest Dingle Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean. The town has a population of just 2,050 which makes it a wonderful place to live if you're looking for a laid back, quiet city to live. The city also has a good bus system that will take you to other larger cities if you feel the urge for a little more energy. Dingle was a walled city during the sixteenth century, and during the seventeenth century, the town had a major linen industry. There are several quaint bed and breakfasts in the town as well as pubs. Dingle is a major fishing port. It also produces agriculture including Dingle Mart which sells livestock.

2. Limerick - County Limerick

Limerick is Ireland's third most popular city and one of its most beautiful. The city is a major business center. It's population is 95,000. However, Limerick is less expensive to live in than other large Irish cities like Dublin, Cork and Galway. Rivers Shannon and Abbey run through Limerick which includes King's Island where the core of the city is built. During the late Renaissance period, Limerick was called the most beautiful city in Ireland. It also has a great shopping, dining and entertainment. Limerick is well known for its arts and culture. In 2014 it was named "National City of Culture". Limerick City Gallery of Art features contemporary art and Irish art. Contact Studio hosts artists. The Irish Chamber Orchestra is based in Limerick. In 2008 Limerick opened Contact Students which encourages authors. Limerick was home to several famous authors including Frank McCourt, Kate O'Brian and Michael Curtin.

1. Westport - County Mayo

The best place to live in Ireland is Westport. The western city was named "Best Place to Live" by The Irish Times in 2012. The town is called "Stone ot of the Beeves" and its residents are known as Coveys, a gaelic dialect once spoken in Westport. Westport is located on Clew Bay which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It was once a shipping port, but now the quaint town is known for its fishing and angling as well as its beauty and laid back atmosphere. The town's design was commissioned by John Browne in 1780. Blaine built Westport House and its beautiful gardens. The town center was designed by William Leeson and features Georgian architecture. Westport has several sports teams including football, soccer, rugby and golf. The Westport Town Hall Theatre hosts artists, musicians, stage productions and children's puppet shows. The area known as the Quay was once a shipping port but today has restaurants, pubs and housing in former warehouses.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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