Living in GALWAY: the PROS and CONS of living here

Galway may be a hub for culture, tradition and authentic Irish friendliness, but in this article, we reveal the pros and cons of living in Galway.

Living in GALWAY: the PROS and CONS of living here.

Galway is attractive in many ways because of its atmosphere, coastal location, heritage, and culture. Still, like anywhere in Ireland, living in Galway certainly has pros and cons. 

Yes, Galway has plenty of exciting things to attract visitors and new residents, but in this article, we will compare the best aspects of life in Galway to the downsides. 

So, if you are thinking of moving to Galway, consider the pros and cons of living there, which can give you a well-rounded idea of what to expect. 

5 fun facts about Galway:

  • Galway is nicknamed The City of Tribes from the fourteen tribes or merchant families that once led the city. 
  • St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway is the largest medieval parish church in the country. 
  • St. Nicholas of Myra has been the city’s patron saint since the 14th century and is said to have inspired modern-day Santa Claus. 
  • The River Corrib, which flows through Galway to Galway Bay, is the second fastest-flowing river in Europe. 
  • Galway is renowned for being the festival capital of Ireland, with over 122 festivals annually, which makes it a famous and fun city to visit and live in.  

Pros – five great things about living in Galway

5. The festivals – a fantastic social aspect

As we mentioned, Galway is Ireland’s festival capital, making it an exciting city to call a home base. 

Residents here can look forward to annual events such as The Galway Comedy Festival, Clarinbridge Oyster Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, and Galway International Arts Festival, to name a few fantastic festivals. 

4. Authentic friendliness – a famous trait

Because of its traditional atmosphere, Galway is one of the most visited destinations in Ireland, especially for those who want to experience authentic Irish hospitality and warmth. 

Living in Galway means you can soak up this friendly atmosphere all the time, which truly enhances your quality of life and boosts even mundane daily errands. 

3. Rich culture – a city bursting with Irish culture

A bustling crowd fills Shop Street in Galway, Ireland, capturing the cultural energy and community spirit of living in Galway.
Credit: Photo by Ruby Doan on Unsplash

From its thriving music scene to its abundance of festivals and variety of exceptional eateries, Galway is a haven for rich Irish culture. 

You can spend your days discovering the seafood culture, attending a new trad session every evening, and attending literary workshops or book launches at the drop of a hat. It’s all on in Galway!

2. The location – the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way

A breathtaking view of the Connemara landscape, showcasing its rolling hills, rugged terrain, and tranquil beauty, epitomizing the idyllic lifestyle of living in Galway amidst the stunning Irish countryside.
Credit: Photo by Miles Iwes on Unsplash

One of the best things about living in Galway is the fantastic location along the famous Wild Atlantic Way. 

While people travel from all corners of the globe to visit this coastal region, living in Galway means this is your backyard, and of course, that deserves bragging rights. 

Galway is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts from the glorious Connemara to the Salthill prom. 

1. Social life – a variety of things to do

A DJ energetically points at the camera amidst the lively atmosphere of Taylor's Galway bar, capturing the vibrant nightlife and social spirit of living in Galway.
Credit: Instagram / taylorsgalway

One of the pros of living in Galway is the social aspect. Galway is a top city to meet and mingle with old and new friends, with many great eateries, excellent nightlife opportunities, and ongoing events.

Galway packs a punch for a small city; there is no reason to feel lonely living in this bustling city. 

Cons  five negative aspects of living in Galway

5. The weather – one of the most significant downsides

A person stands beneath a heavy rainstorm, holding a pink umbrella aloft, finding shelter from the downpour while adding a pop of color to the grey, rainy scene.
Credit: Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Ireland may have unpredictable weather, but the west coast is notorious for having the worst weather in the country. 

While milder areas exist around Ireland, such as the sunny southeast, the same cannot be said for Galway. Galway experiences an average of 230 rainy days per year, compared to Wexford’s average of 148.

4. Unreliable transportation – one of the biggest stresses

A line of cars sits gridlocked in traffic, surrounded by concrete barriers and fences, highlighting the frustration and congestion of urban commuting
Credit: Photo by Kathy on Unsplash

Unfortunately, Galway is notorious for having some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. What’s worse, the public transport system is also unreliable. 

The combination of traffic jams, restrictions, and parking shortages make Galway a stressful city, especially if you try to get anywhere on time. 

3. It’s expensive – the second costliest city in Ireland

A bustling street scene in Galway, Ireland, filled with people and pets, showcasing the lively atmosphere and vibrant energy of this charming city.
Credit: Photo by Justin Scocchio on Unsplash

While not as expensive as Dublin, a recent news article revealed that Galway is close behind and has the second-highest cost of living in Ireland

With an average rent of almost €2,000, Galway has seen an increase of 11.3% since 2023, making this a city to reconsider if you are on a budget.

While Galway has much to offer, the rent alone may take most of your funds. 

2. It’s a small city – it can feel crowded

An image of a crowded street showing, despite its charm, the crowded streets of Galway, a small city, can be viewed as a disadvantage for those living in Galway.
Credit: Photo by Anton Kraev on Unsplash

Galway is a small city that packs a punch, but if you need more and would rather have expansive city streets to explore and a faster pace of life, chances are you will be disappointed by this tiny Irish city. 

At just 53.7 square kilometres (20.74 square miles) – about twice the area of JFK Airport – Galway is certainly small by city standards, which may not suit those who have enjoyed living in busier cities like Dublin, Cork, or Belfast

1. Limited job opportunities – one of the worst things about living in Galway

One of the main cons of living in Galway is the job situation. Galway is far from Dublin, where many big tech companies and other big industries are based, so commuting to the capital is not a viable option. 

Unless you are a digital nomad or have a job lined up, it can be hard to find a skilled job opportunity in Galway compared to other bigger cities. 

Notable mentions

Pros:

University of Galway: The University of Galway, formerly NUIG, is one of the top 350 universities worldwide, making it a great place to study if you live in Galway.

Beautiful attractions: Galway is a stone’s throw from places like Kylemore Abbey, Dogs Bay Beach, Connemara National Park, and The Aran Islands, which makes exploring the area exciting. 

Cons:

Distance from Dublin: Dublin is a 207 km (128.62 mi) drive away from Galway, making it tricky and tiresome to get to the capital for business or leisure, especially with bus services.

Accommodation: Because Galway is a small university city, it can be challenging and competitive to find a decent rental opportunity, and it can be even harder to find a good deal on accommodation in a good area. 

Your questions answered about living in Galway

Is Galway an excellent place to live?

If you can deal with the unpredictable weather and the rising costs, Galway is a great city to live in, considering the amenities available to its residents. 

From annual festivals and great food to its proximity to some of the country’s best places, living in Galway is undoubtedly exciting and social. 

Is it expensive to live in Galway?

Galway offers a lower cost of living than Dublin but higher than other parts of the country, making it an expensive city. The cost of living has continued to increase across Ireland. 

Still, most notably, Galway has seen an increase in rent over the past year, which you should carefully consider if you plan to relocate to Galway. 

Is rent in Galway expensive?

According to a recent news article, Galway’s rent prices have soared over the past few years and have increased 11.3% in the past year. 

This makes it the second most expensive city to rent in Ireland, with Dublin being the first. Living in Galway has benefits, so loosening the purse strings may be worth it. 

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