Rising cost of living in Ireland: Best places to live outside of Dublin

Ireland is a small nation but even we have our fair share of counties, towns and villages. Despite what the lovely people of Dublin may tell you there is in fact an entire country outside the boundaries of our fair capital. So if you or anyone you know is thinking of coming to the Emerald Isle, and with rents in Dublin and the cost of living in Ireland continuing to spiral out of control, it may be worth looking into options outside of Dublin. Rents are lower and while some places won’t have the amenities of a big city, there are benefits to the trade-off.

Wicklow

cost of living in Ireland

Let us start with somewhere just right next to Dublin. Wicklow is a beautiful coastal county. Rent can still be a little on the high side due to its proximity to Dublin, but that can be balanced with quick access to the capital. It’s sort of a halfway point between living in Dublin and living outside of Dublin.

In many ways Wicklow is a simpler, more laid back spot, Wicklow is more known for its quiet suburbs and open spaces. You won’t find some of the more built-up amenities you would in Dublin but the basic essentials are met. Such as supermarkets like the Bridgewater Shopping Centre, or cinemas like Omniplex.

When it comes to other leisure activities, again, it’s a very outdoors centric walk of life that Wicklow prides itself on. Surfing, fishing, hiking in the Wicklow mountains, or rock-climbing. It’s worth looking into if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors and enjoying nature.

Rent on housing: €2000+

Rent on apartments: €1000+, but can dip below on a good deal

Louth

Moving northwards from Dublin we have County Louth. Right on the border of Northern Ireland, so the good news there is that it’s about equal distance between Dublin and Belfast, two major urban cities. Louth prides itself on local businesses and culture, with the Create Louth project set up to help promote local artists and strengthen community voices.

There may be fewer amenities in Louth but community focus allows people to come together and plan their own activities. It’s also a bit cheaper than Wicklow or Dublin, with house rents barely eclipsing that of apartments. You still have shopping centres, cinemas and the like, plus day trips to Dublin or Belfast are still very much on the table as options.

Louth may be a good option if you want to really feel like a part of a local community, with a keen focus on joint activities like their National Spring Clean.

Rent on housing: €1000+

Rent on apartments: €800+

Donegal

Moving across to the other side of Northern Ireland we have Donegal. A little bit on the isolated side, Donegal makes up for that with some of the most reasonable renting prices in the country for both apartments and housing.

Another coastal country, Donegal prides itself on its diverse community and lush nature. It’s also a culturally rich area, with museums, community centres, archaeological sites, and 78 annual festivals. All held together by their Creative Coast movement.

Donegal is also big on flexible working arrangements with their Digital Hub Pass scheme.

Sport plays a huge part in the cultural identity of the county. GAA and rugby make up a huge component of the communities leisure time and brings people together.

Donegal is a good place for people looking to really immerse themselves in Irish history or culture, away from some of the noise of modern life.

Rent on housing: €700+

Rent on apartments: €500+

Tipperary

Jumping down to the other end of the country we have the lovely county of Tipperary. Famous for its horse racing and GAA, Tipperary is a place steeped in cultural importance for Ireland. It’s one of the sporting bastions of the country, complete with the Semple Stadium found in the city of Thurles.

A place for sporting fans and enthusiasts, Tipperary is a great place to go for people looking to get their hands dirty and play on the field.

Rent isn’t the cheapest here, but there are reasonable deals to be found on apartments for those looking.

Rent on housing: €950+

Rent on apartments: €700+

Kerry

Skipping along to the very southwest edge of Ireland we have County Kerry. Usually known for its rugged rural scenery, Kerry has made great strides in being known for its STEM achievements too. Mainly bolstered by the non-profit organisation KerrySciTech, which works to promote science and tech in the west of Ireland. 

Kerry towns such as Dingle and Tralee also offer urban amenities, so even though it’s far from Dublin, it’s still a cultural hub in its own right. With all the shopping and activities you could ask for.

If you’re coming to Ireland to pursue a career in science or tech, then Kerry may be a good choice for you.

Rent on housing: €950+

Rent on apartments: €700+

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Ross Farrell

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