Galway or Dublin A Guide to Ireland's Top Cities

Galway or Dublin? A Guide to Ireland’s Top Cities

Dublin or Galway: which Irish city is better? It’s a challenging question.

Dublin and Galway are two amazing cities in Ireland, but very different. Dublin is the busy and exciting business center, while Galway is the cozy and artistic cultural hub.

The cost of living, the price of a pint, and the quality of the swimming spots are also factors to consider. So, let’s dive into this debate and see if we can find a winner. 

Culture in Galway vs. Dublin

Image by Galway International Arts Festival

Galway, often overshadowed by Dublin, shines as Ireland’s Cultural Capital. It’s a city teeming with Irish spirit, folklore, and festivals.

While Dublin offers a friendly atmosphere and a vibrant arts scene, Galway takes it up a notch due to its warm and welcoming environment that enhances the cultural experience for visitors.

Galway is known for leprechauns casually posing on shop streets and a constant buzz of the Irish language. With renowned arts festivals and countless pubs, it earned the title of European Capital of Culture in 2020, showcasing the true Irish spirit.

Dublin, the bustling capital, wins hearts with its friendly locals. They infuse the city with a distinctive blend of humor and hospitality, making it one of Europe’s friendliest destinations.

Dublin’s rich cultural tapestry is woven with literary greats like Yeats and Beckett, celebrated in monuments scattered across the city. This UNESCO City of Literature also offers an array of theaters, music venues, and festivals.

Meanwhile, in Galway, you can dive into Irish dancing, rich cultural heritage, festivals, sports, and historical sites. The Irish language thrives in Gaeltachts, and the West of Ireland is a treasure trove of heritage, folklore, and stunning natural beauty.

Diversity and Demographics in Galway vs. Dublin 

Diversity and Demographics
Photo by Lukas Kloeppel on Pexels

Based on the provided data from the and City Population, Dublin has a larger and more diverse population compared to Galway. Therefore, Dublin can be considered more multicultural than Galway. 

Dublin is located in Eastern & Midland Ireland, which is typically more urban and cosmopolitan, while Galway is in Northern & Western Ireland, which tends to be less urban and more rural.

Geographic LocationEastern & Midland IrelandNorthern & Western Ireland
Size (Area)117.8 km²50.00 km²
Population (2022)592,71384,414
Population Density (2022)5,084/km²1,688/km²
Female Population (2022)50.77%52.07%
Male Population (2022)49.23%47.93%
Median Age (2016)35.9 years old37.9 years old

Both cities have a relatively similar distribution of various ethnic groups, but Galway has a slightly higher percentage of White Irish Travellers. However, Dublin still appears to have a slightly more diverse ethnic population overall.

In terms of ethnic demographics, both cities have a relatively similar distribution of various ethnic groups, but Galway has a slightly higher percentage of White Irish Travellers.

Nationality Demographics
United Kingdom1.19%1.40%
Other EU272020 (Exec Ireland & Poland)7.81%6.06%
Rest of World8.62%5.90%
Not stated6.70%5.84%
Ethnic Demographics
White Irish64.24%63.86%
White Irish Traveller0.39%2.13%
Other White12.19%13.12%
Black or Black Irish1.58%2.84%
Asian or Asian Irish5.11%4.80%
Not stated12.98%10.53%

Cost of Living in Galway vs. Dublin 

Cost of Living
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According to Numbeo, you can save up to 22.6% on your expenses if you live in Galway instead of Dublin. That includes rent, food, transportation, entertainment and more.

Plus, you’ll have more money to spend on what you love, because Galway has a higher local purchasing power than Dublin by 8.7%. Sounds like a win-win situation, right? 

It’s good news that by moving from Dublin to Galway, you can save a lot of money and still enjoy a great quality of life, as living in Galway. 

Dublin is notoriously pricey, with rents and bills that can eat up your budget.

Galway is more affordable, but still not cheap by any means. You’ll pay less for your rent, your groceries, and your pint in Galway than in Dublin.

Here’s a brief summary based on the data from You’ll find that there are some significant differences between the two cities.

ExpensesDublin CostGalway Cost
Cost of Living (one person)$2,669$2,054
Cost of Living (family)$5,850$4,532
Monthly salary after tax$3,274$2,823
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
Rent for one person$1,769$1,372
Rent for family$2,972$2,495
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill)
Utility bill for one person$172$121
Utility bill for a family$273$187
Internet plan$56.3$47.2
Transportation (Fare)
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)$2.27$2.12
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)$120$68.1
Taxi Ride$21.8$14.8
Gasoline (1 liter)$1.98$2.07
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Daycare or Preschool$1,387 per month$958 per month
International Primary School$11,238 per year$7,823 per year

Real Estate Prices in Galway vs. Dublin 

Real Estate Prices
Photo by Morgan Lane on Unsplash

Galway is much more affordable than Dublin in both cases. Dublin has a higher price-to-income ratio, which means that it takes longer to save up for a property there.

This handy table shows some key indicators of property prices based on data from Numbeo.

Price to Income Ratio9.996.34
Rent for 1 bedroom apartment in city centre$2,068.79$1,491.67
Purchase price per sqm for apartment in city centre$7,518.04$1,231.43
Purchase price per sqm for apartment outside the city centre$5,348.56$1,231.43

Dublin has higher rents and purchase prices per square meter, both in the city centre and outside. Galway, on the other hand, offers lower costs and more space for your money. 

So, unless you have a specific reason to live in Dublin, Galway might be the smarter choice for your budget and lifestyle.

Career Opportunities in Galway vs. Dublin 

Career Opportunities
Image by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Galway shines in healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurship, while Dublin is ideal for those seeking diverse career prospects, cultural experiences, and a vibrant urban lifestyle. 

So, it’s a matter of aligning your aspirations with the right city for your professional journey.

Galway offers diverse job opportunities in retail, hospitality, healthcare, and technology. It’s a hub for entrepreneurship and has renowned companies like New Look, Diesel, Boots, Tesco, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and Creganna Medical.

Major IT giants like IBM, SAP, Oracle, and Cisco also have a strong presence. The city’s vital tourism industry contributes to its economic growth, and Galway is a breeding ground for innovative startups.

On the other hand, Dublin, a dynamic, entrepreneurial city, offers an even more promising career landscape. The Irish capital’s economy has been flourishing, with impressive GDP growth, and it remains a prime destination for talent.

Dublin’s thriving business culture prioritizes competitiveness and innovation, attracting global companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Accenture. The city’s commitment to business and talent has placed it among the most competitive cities in Europe.

Crime and Safety in Galway vs. Dublin 

Crime and Safety
Photo by Mel Gardner on Unsplash

Galway and Dublin are both pretty safe places to live, but Dublin is more crowded and has more crime.

Numbeo says that Galway’s crime index is 31.27, which is low, while Dublin’s is 52.82, which is moderate. So you have a better chance of avoiding crime in Galway than in Dublin.

Galway is much safer than Dublin in almost every aspect. Dublin has a moderate level of crime, while Galway has a low level. 

Safety Scale47.1868.73
Crime Index52.8231.27

Dubliners are more worried about being robbed, attacked, or insulted than Galwegians. Dublin also has more problems with drugs, vandalism, and theft.

Galway is very safe to walk alone during daylight, and moderately safe during night. Dublin is only high during daylight, and low during night. 

Lifestyle in Galway vs. Dublin 

Photo by Kendal Percimoney on Unsplash

Dublin and Galway have different lifestyles in terms of climate, entertainment, and health services.

However, Dublin enjoys a more moderate climate and a wider range of attractions and activities while also having a quicker healthcare system.

If you want to know more about the lifestyle in Galway and Dublin, let’s take a look at what each one has to offer. We’ll explore some of the main differences between them, like the climate, the entertainment options, and healthcare quality.

Weather in Galway vs. Dublin

Photo by E Vos on Unsplash

Rain, rain, go away. That’s what you might be thinking if you live in Galway City, where the Atlantic Ocean showers you with its love every day, but don’t worry, you’re not alone; you can always make a fortune by selling umbrellas to the tourists.

Dublin, on the other hand, is a bit drier (well, not much), but at least you won’t need a boat to get around. It still rains there, of course, but it’s more manageable, and you might even see the sun once in a while.

Here’s a quick way to see how Dublin and Galway differ in terms of weather:

Weather AspectDublinGalway
Hottest MonthJuly (15°C)July (16°C)
Coldest MonthFebruary (5°C)January (6°C)
Wettest MonthOctober (52.3 mm)December (80.4 mm)
Windiest MonthJanuary (22 km/h)January (18 km/h)
Annual Rainfall493.2 mm732.5 mm

Things to Do in Galway vs. Dublin

Things to Do
Image from Tripadvisor

Dublin outshines Galway with its historical treasures such as the GPO, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, and modern attractions like Dublin Zoo and the Guinness Storehouse, along with sporting events at Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium.

Galway is a lovely city with some nice spots like the Spanish Arch, Eyre Square, and Galway Cathedral. But Dublin has more to offer in terms of museums, such as the National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland.

Dublin’s renowned Temple Bar nightlife surpasses Galway’s lively scene. Additionally, shopping enthusiasts will delight in Dublin’s Grafton Street.

Families and couples will find Dublin more appealing, with attractions like Viking Splash, Dublina, and intimate pubs for romantic getaways.

Healthcare in Galway vs. Dublin 

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

If you’re looking for top-notch healthcare, you can’t go wrong with either Galway or Dublin. They both have amazing services and facilities that will take good care of you.

But if you want to compare them based on some numbers, Numbeo has some interesting data on how they stack up. For example, Dublin scores higher on things like how fast you get your tests and results and how happy you are with the prices.

It also has more public hospitals than Galway, which makes sense because it has more people living there.

But don’t worry, Galway is not lacking in medical professionals. You can find plenty of doctors, dentists, opticians, and more who are ready to help you out.

Galway vs. Dublin: How They Stack Up

So, what’s the verdict? Dublin or Galway?

It’s not an easy choice, because both cities have a lot to offer. But it really depends on what you value most and how you want to live your life.

Here’s a quick summary of how they compare on the different aspects we’ve talked about.

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
CultureGalwayGalway's warm and welcoming environment enhances the cultural experience for visitors. It’s also known as Ireland's Cultural Capital.
Diversity and DemographicsDublinDublin's larger and more diverse population compared to Galway makes it more multicultural.
Cost of LivingGalwayGalway is more affordable with savings up to 22.6% on expenses and a higher local purchasing power of 8.7%.
Real EstateGalwayGalway has a lower price-to-income ratio, making it easier to save for a property.
Career OpportunitiesTiedGalway excels in healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurship, while Dublin offers diverse career opportunities, cultural experiences, and a vibrant urban lifestyle.
Crime IndexGalwayGalway has a lower crime index than Dublin, making it a safer place to live.
LifestyleDublinDublin offers a milder climate, a wider range of attractions, activities, and a faster healthcare system.