Galway is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Ireland because of its location and beauty, as well as various events throughout the year. It’s also immensely popular with university and language students. But what is it like living in Galway?
History & Location
Galway is located on the West Coast of Ireland and is part of the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s also one of the biggest cities in the area. After all, it’s the fourth biggest city in the Republic with a population of around 80,000. The city is also seen as a cultural capital when it comes to Irish language media. There are still Gaeltacht communities nearby and, as such, Galway is a centre for Irish language traditions. This includes Irish language archives, music, radio, and an Irish language theatre, like An Taibdhearc.
People & Lifestyle
Living in Galway is a bit like living in a university town with a medieval city centre. NUI Galway, the largest university in the city, alone has 18,000 students. That means almost every fourth person in the city is a university student. This demographic makeup of the city makes for a very young population, especially during the semester. According to myhome.ie, almost two thirds of the city are between the ages of 16 to 34.
In terms of careers outside of academia, there are some large corporations headquartered in Galway. As a popular tourist destination, hospitality and tourism are, of course, important sectors for employment as well.
The city’s student population is reflected in the type of accommodation available. According to myhome.ie, more than half of the buildings are apartments. Generally, the housing stock is older with almost half of it built in the 1980ies and 1990ies, according to myhome.ie.
Rents have been increasing over the years and nowadays Galway is considered to be the second most expensive place to rent in in Ireland. At the time of writing this article, December 2021, there were 25 properties available to rent on daft.ie. We assume that university term times and tourist seasons affect the number of properties available throughout the year. Pay close attention to the location, if you’re looking for a place to rent since some properties may be located on the outskirts or even in a village on the edge of the suburbs. When we checked in December 2021, we found 2-bedroom flats start at around €1300/month. Prices decrease further away from the city centre but consider that you may have added expenses from needing a car.
We also checked daft.ie for places to buy in December 2021. There were roughly 10 times more properties to buy rather than to rent. Prices started from €120k for older houses and houses located on the outskirts. Apartments started at €180k. However, most properties were priced in the range of €200-280k.
Activities To Do
As the cultural capital of Ireland, there is a host of cultural activities, events, and festivals throughout the year. The city centre has also many restaurants to offer. In terms of sports, GGA is popular and there are also many opportunities for soccer, rugby, swimming, sailing, and rowing. There are also several beaches. The most famous and popular seaside area is along Salthill Promenade, which offers several restaurants and entertainment. It’s also home to the famous Blackrock Diving Tower, which is a local landmark. There you can find people swimming, even during the winter.
Galway is a bustling city, where there’s always something new going on. Whether it’s going for a pint in the city centre, dipping into the waves in Salthill or exploring the beautiful nature of surrounding Galway County, you won’t run out of things to do easily. Because of its large student population, it’s a very youthful but also quickly changing demographic and there are many students who come here for a few years and leave again. Therefore, the city is always in movement and always changing, while retaining its medieval city centre atmosphere all the same.
If you’re looking for a smaller town along the West Coast, check out what it’s like Living in Sligo.