Ireland may be smaller than the UK, but it’s much less densely populated and homes are extremely affordable – which means more space to call your own, with a decent garden, maybe an empty beach nearby! But with so many great-value properties around the country, where are the top places to look for a home? In this, Part Three of our Buying Guide serialisation, we’re looking at the best places to buy a house in Ireland. If you missed Part Two on the timescale of buying, make sure to have a read of that, too.
Dublin is one of the best places to buy a house in Ireland for those moving in pursuit of career opportunities or for whom proximity to the UK is vital. The County is well-connected by road and train with the rest of the country, and has excellent links with the UK, the USA and mainland Europe. As Ireland’s cultural capital, there’s plenty to keep art, history and literature lovers entertained, in addition to world-class bars and restaurants.
Even prior to the Brexit referendum, many global corporations had opened premises in and around Dublin, and this number has shot up since 2016. As a result, the jobs market is flourishing, with a range of exciting opportunities available, mostly in tech, finance and pharmaceuticals. Dublin also has some of the best schools, colleges and universities in Ireland. One of the best things about the capital is that no matter where you’re located, you’re rarely more than 20 minutes’ train ride away from the countryside.
The mean property price in October 2018 was €385,000, according to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office.
If music runs through your veins, County Sligo could be ideal for you. You’ll find buskers on every corner and the sound of live music pouring out of every doorway. Musicians from all around the country, and further afield, come to Sligo to hone their craft. You’ll also be able to enjoy music festivals throughout the year including Sligo Jazz Project and Sligo Summer Festival.
This is one of the best places to buy a house in Ireland for sports lovers, whether you wish to participate, or merely watch from the stands. You’ll be able to enjoy Gaelic Football, soccer and some of the best golf in Ireland, at Rosses Point and Strandhill Golf Club. Sligo is also a dream destination for surfers. Beyond the city walls, County Sligo’s countryside is so spectacular and rich in Irish folklore that it has inspired the works of many artists and writers, most notably William Butler Yeats.
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The median property price in Sligo Town currently sits at €126,250.
County Donegal is a top choice for those seeking natural beauty, lots of space and plenty of peace and quiet. The County enjoys 300 miles of Atlantic coastline, which means lots of spectacular, mostly deserted beaches, including Horn Head and Ballyhiernan Bay. Inland, you’ll be able to enjoy exploring the Glenveagh National Park, the Derryveagh Mountains and Inishowen Peninsula, where parts of the most recent Star Wars were filmed. If you enjoy hiking, no doubt the Wild Atlantic Way, which begins in Donegal, will already be calling your name. This is another County that enjoys great events, including A Taste of Donegal Food Festival and Donegal International Rally Weekend.
The average property price in Donegal is €90,000, and prices are expected to remain much the same in 2019. In other words, best places to buy a house in Ireland on a budget.
Known at the Garden of Ireland, County Wicklow is one of the best places to buy a house in Ireland for those seeking an outdoorsy lifestyle, without having to sacrifice their creature comforts. The County is characterised by thick woodland, traditional Irish villages and historic monuments, against a wonderful backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains. Don your boots and explore the area’s many hiking trails, including the Wicklow Way. Or, if you’re craving a little retail therapy, or a dose of city living, you can be in Dublin in just 20 minutes.
County Wicklow is one of Ireland’s more expensive counties. The median property price is currently €350,000.
Enjoy the delights of bustling Galway City, home to a lively student population, markets, pubs, cafes and live music, all nestled around Medieval ruins. You’ll be able to send your children to excellent educational institutions and see some of Ireland’s best sportsmen compete for Galway United FC or Connaught Rugby. Events calendar highlights include Galway Races and Galway Arts Festival. Outside of the city you’ll be able to delight in the rugged beauty of the Aran Islands, and Connemara National Park.
Property across the County currently has a median price of €210.000.
County Kerry is another perfect spot for those wanting to spend more time in the outdoors. You’ll be able to explore the sights and sounds of the Ring of Kerry, which is said to have some of Europe’s best beaches, and the Iveragh Peninsula. The region’s terrain makes it perfect for hiking, cycling, walking and climbing, plus you can have a dabble in various water sports too. If you like fishing, County Kerry has some of the best salt and freshwater fishing spots in Ireland. There’s also plenty for history lovers, including ancient monuments, forts, and a monastery perched high atop the cliffs of Skellig Michael – the windswept island recently seen in Star Wars, located just off the peninsula.
The median house price is €125,000, making it eminently affordable.
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Many a Brit has relocated to Ireland’s south-west corner, and to West Cork in particular, which is home to the highest concentration of Brits found in Ireland. County Cork is known for being friendly, laid back, and for having a population of bohemian artists, writers, musicians and craft makers. If you choose this corner of Ireland, you’ll have access to its beautiful Atlantic coastline, fishing villages, and more isolated sizeable plots deep in the heart of the countryside. If Ireland’s climate concerns you, consider locating yourself in West Cork, which is warmed by the Gulf Stream. Seafood fans will love this corner of the country – expect scallops, mussels, prawns and monkfish to grace every menu.
The median house price is €195,000, making it eminently affordable.
Brits are enticed to Ireland’s south-east corner by the County’s natural beauty and affordable housing. The area is also rich is history – with Waterford City itself being founded by Vikings back in the 9th Century. While the County is undeniably sleepy, this works well for retirees who are looking for peace and quiet by the sea. While away your days exploring the beaches or hiking in the Comeragh Mountains. Should you fancy a faster pace of life for the day, you’re only an hour’s drive from both Cork and Dublin.
The median property price in Waterford City is €152,000, and this is expected to rise by 5-10% in 2018.
For affordable property, excellent food and some of Ireland’s best beaches, County Wexford could be just the ticket. There are plenty of glimpses into Ireland’s past to be enjoyed, as well as areas of outstanding beauty including the Saltee Islands, which you won’t want to miss if you’re a bird-spotter. Keep your eyes peeled for puffins, gulls, gannets and razorbills, amongst many more. County Wexford is known as Ireland’s sunny south-east because it enjoys more daily hours of sunshine than anywhere else in the country.
The median property price currently stands at €161,000 and are expected to continue increasing.