The Best Places to Live in Ireland & the Cheapest Cities

Waterford - How much does it cost to live in Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland and particularly Dublin is notoriously expensive to live in. In this post we’ll look at the cheapest places to live in Ireland, both north and south of the border and feature some of the best cities away from the Irish capital.

Digital nomads and remote workers in Europe will certainly find better value elsewhere, but if you’ve always dreamt of living or at least spending some time on the Emerald Isle, it is possible to do it without spending huge sums. You may need to be savvy with where and how you live though with massive rises in electricity and gas prices in 2022 and 2023 adding to the overall rising costs in Ireland over the past few years.

Table of Contents

5 of the Best Cities to Live in Ireland & Work Remotely

1. Galway

Voted the European capital of culture in 2020, Galway ranks among the best places to live in Ireland. Located on the West Coast where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean, Galway is a harbour city with a unique relationship with the sea.

With the cost of rented accommodation more than 30% cheaper than in Dublin, Galway is certainly a much more affordable option and unless you have a desire to live in a bigger city, it’s most likely a better one. Galway offers a more quintessentially Irish experience and is generally regarded as a friendlier place than the capital.

Its booming cultural scene is also drawing people to Galway. It hosts many festivals throughout the year and is particularly proud of its culinary reputation with everything from fresh food at the Galway farmer’s market to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Estimated Living Costs (explanation below) – 1400-2100 Euros/month

2. Cork

Cork - living in Ireland

For those looking for a true ‘city’ experience but put off by the costs of Dublin, Cork is your next best bet. It is the Republic of Ireland’s second city with a population of around 200,000, over double that of the next largest.

Located in the southern province of Munster, Cork is often referred to as the Rebel County which tells you something about the local psyche. Renowned for their sense of humour and distinct accent, Cork certainly has a slightly different vibe to other parts of Ireland and it boasts a vibrant nightlife and live music scene making it a good destination for party and particularly music lovers.

Cork is also close to some of the most beautiful nature in the country. Highlights include Glengarriff Forest while County Cork also boasts some gorgeous bays and beaches.

Estimated Living Costs – 1500-2300 Euros/month

3. Limerick

Limerick - cheapest cities to live in Ireland

Next we head to Limerick, which is also part of the province of Munster but is actually closer to Galway than Cork in the midwest region of Ireland. Founded by vikings in the 9th century, Limerick is one of Ireland’s oldest cities and remains one of the largest to this day.

Highlights to living in Limerick include its surrounding picturesque landscapes, which include the River Shannon and the idyllic countryside. This provides all sorts of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and boating while the city itself is also a major sports hub with a strong emphasis on rugby and Gaelic games.

Work conditions and disposable income is also higher here than in most Irish cities which makes it a good bet for those seeking permanent employment.

Remote workers and nomads would also be wise to consider Limerick. Its relatively central location and good transport links makes it a good base for anyone looking to get out and explore the whole island during days or weekends off.

Estimated Living Costs – 1350-2050 Euros/month

4. Waterford

Waterford - How much does it cost to live in Ireland?

Ireland’s oldest surviving city is Waterford, located in the southeast of the island. It also happens to be one of the prettiest, especially once night sets in across the marina.

The city’s most famous export was traditionally glass or crystal but recent years have been hard on Waterford and it is one of the most deprived areas of Ireland today. The smallest of the five cities featured here with a population of around 50,000, Waterford is one of the cheapest of the main cities in the Republic of Ireland, so it’s at least worth considering if you’re a budget-focused nomad or remote worker, although in truth you’re likely to pick another country if you are truly free to work from anywhere!

For a simple lifestyle and nice riverside views, Waterford is a good option although it doesn’t have quite the same range of nightlife or entertainment options you’ll find in Cork or even Galway for example.

Estimated Living Costs – 1450-2150 Euros/month

5. Belfast (UK – not in EU)

Irish city at night - Belfast

Finally we hop over the border into Northern Ireland where you’ll have to swap Euros for Pounds.

Overall the North is considerably cheaper than the South with even the capital and largest city Belfast offering cheaper living costs than you find in many towns south of the border. If you’re a city guy or gal, Belfast is the best place to live in Northern Ireland. Only Dublin is larger on the island of Ireland and Belfast ranks as the 12th largest city in the United Kingdom.

The troubles of this divided city are thankfully largely a thing of the past (although it’s still important to understand the history and different neighbourhoods) and it has reinvented itself as a cosmopolitan place with a thriving arts and music scene. With two airports, it also has the best flight connections in Ireland outside of Dublin, a major positive for anyone looking to travel around the UK and beyond.

Estimated Living Costs – 1200-1800 Euros/month (approx £1050-1550)

Estimated Living Costs Calculation:

The estimated living costs in Ireland featured in this post (above and below) aim to cover the total living costs. By that we mean, the cost of one person renting accommodation plus groceries and typical expenses on things like evenings or days out. We have used Irish living cost data from Numbeo as a guide when forming the estimations.

However, clearly everyone’s lifestyle and spending habits are different. The lower figure quoted for each city might be enough for a frugal person renting a room in shared accommodation and being quite careful with their money without leading a totally boring lifestyle. The higher figures should in some cities be enough to cover the cost for a single person renting a studio or small apartment and spending a bit more on meals or nights out. Overall though, the figures are more designed to be a reference for comparison rather than an exact science.

If you’re a digital nomad and are planning a shorter stay in Ireland of just a few months or less and are planning to use Airbnb for your accommodation, you may need to add slightly more (10-20%). Also consider that there are usually only limited Airbnb options in some of the smaller, less touristy towns.

Moving to Ireland – Useful Resources

  • SafetyWing offer specialised nomad insurance packages for digital nomads or anyone looking for short-term medical cover in the Republic of Ireland before they get settled and registered into the local healthcare system.
  • Find the cheapest flights to Dublin and other Irish cities by using Skyscanner, Europe’s most useful flight comparison site.
  • Use sites like and to search for somewhere to live in what can be a very competitive property market.
  • If you’re going to be based in a smaller town or village where having a car is a necessity or just want to explore Ireland at your own leisure, Discover Cars are a great option for car rentals.

What are the Cheapest Cities to Live in Ireland?

CityEstimated Cost of Living (Monthly in Euros)
*Cities in Northern Ireland, UK where the currency is the British Pound.

The estimates in the table were updated in October 2023 and highlight quite clearly that the cheapest places to live in Ireland are mostly to be found north of the border. Three of the bottom four cities are all in Northern Ireland with even the Northern Irish capital Belfast being cheaper to live in than most major Southern Irish cities.

Bangor, for example, is one of the very cheapest places to rent in Ireland or Britain. If you’re a remote worker and your priority is to find the cheapest living costs, then Northern Ireland is certainly a great option, although even there, it’s more expensive to live when compared to some of the best places to live in Poland or in another Central or Eastern European country for example.

However for better paying jobs and more work opportunities, you may have more luck south of the border.

Irish whisky cost in Ireland
Ireland is a fine country for whiskey drinkers but even locally brewed alcohol is expensive here.

While Dublin is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world, if you’ve got a good job lined up, your increased earning potential should compensate for that although finding decent accommodation at a reasonable price can be a major headache for new arrivals and locals alike.

Many visitors and people looking to live in Ireland are attracted by its thriving pub scene but this is by no means a cheap party destination. That’s something to be very aware of if you’re planning on really diving into the evening and nightlife scene in Dublin or another Irish city.

It’s also worth noting that none of these budgets for living in Ireland factor in the cost of any travel or health insurance packages which will depend on your age and circumstances.

The Best Places to Live in Ireland & the Cheapest Cities

Danny is a digital nomad who has travelled extensively in Europe whilst writing about his adventures and closely monitoring his costs. He's a regular writer for and has experience of short stays in many of the best and cheapest places to live in Europe whilst working online.

2 thoughts on “The Best Places to Live in Ireland & the Cheapest Cities

  1. My husband is a trucker and we live in the USA. He is 3rd generation American from Ireland. He is looking into us moving to Ireland. The USA is getting so dangerous and our money is nearly worthless. And our government is horrible.

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