Written by Bethany Hemsley,
Last Modified: 16th May 2023

The Emerald Isle has plenty to offer overseas buyers, but where is the best place to live?

Well, according to the Irish Times, the answer is Waterford. This up-and-coming city on the beautiful southeast coast actually grabbed the title in a ‘Best Place to Live in Ireland’ competition based on criteria including affordability, community spirit, transport links and security.

But, what else does Waterford have to offer and could you live there?

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Culturally rich but with plenty of ‘craic’

Steeped with history dating back as far as the Vikings, Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city. It was once one of the most important cities in not just Ireland, but Europe too, with a prosperous wine, textiles and glass trade. A stroll around this charming city will transport you through time as you marvel at the beautiful architecture from the last 1,000 years.

What makes Waterford particularly special is the unique mix of old and new. The historic buildings, traditional pubs and quaint thatched roofed houses effortlessly blend with modern shopping centres and gourmet restaurants. And, as the sun sets, the city’s picturesque harbour twinkles under the lights from the waterfront Georgian townhouses – it really is beautiful at night.

best place to live in Ireland

Waterford harbour at night

There’s plenty going on throughout the year too. The cultural calendar is filled with vibrant festivals and events including the West Waterford Festival of Food, Spraoi, Winterval, Harvest Festival, Taste Tramore, Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival and Waterford Film Festival.

The perfect size

Waterford offers the best of both worlds: all the city amenities but with the feel of a town and easy access to the coast and countryside.

The population is around 53,000, which is much smaller than other Irish cities (Cork = 125,000, Limerick = 94,000 and Dublin = 554,000). Nevertheless, the resources and amenities on offer are on par with these larger cities, including a university, theatres, museums and a large shopping centre.

Many residents say there is a lovely community feel and you regularly bump into people you know while out and about.

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Affordable property and living

While Ireland isn’t known for being particularly cheap, with property prices across the country rising by around 9% in the last year, Waterford enjoys affordable housing. The average home in the city costs around €202,150.

Compare this to Galway (€316,060), Dublin (€442,500) and Cork (€258,000) and it’s clear why Waterford is a popular spot to buy a home.

best place to live in Ireland

Waterford enjoys affordable housing.

You’ll find that your money for day-to-day spending goes further in Waterford too – according to Numbeo, you would need around €3,707 per month in Waterford to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with €5,100 in Dublin (if renting). The costs to eat out, buy groceries and use public transport are also all cheaper in Waterford than Dublin.

One thing that would potentially be more expensive in Waterford, however, is your basic utilities.


Lastly, Waterford is just two hours’ drive from Dublin Airport meaning it is easy to reach from the UK and beyond. There are frequent flights between London and Dublin with Ryanair for as little as £12 return.

Waterford, Ireland

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