Galway vs Dublin

The Pros and Cons of Moving to Galway 

You’ve probably heard of Galway being praised as a cultural city and a must-visit tourist destination. But before you fully succumb to its allure, it’s important to weigh first the pros and cons of moving to Galway, which are as follows:


  • Peaceful small city life
  • Friendly city
  • Rich culture
  • Good food
  • Buzzing nightlife
  • Many beautiful spots


  • Public transport needs improvement
  • Fickle weather conditions
  • Far from the capital city of Dublin

Let’s dive further into each of the pros and cons of Galway living.

Pros of moving to Galway

Peaceful Small City Life

Peaceful Small City Life
Image source: Eoin Gardiner on Wikimedia Commons

Galway may not be as big or bustling as other major cities like Dublin, but that’s exactly what makes it special. Living in Galway means you get to enjoy the perks of small-town living with the conveniences of a city.

You can stroll through the quaint streets, stop and chat with friendly locals, or simply sit back and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.

The small size of Galway also has a lot to do with why the community is so close-knit, making it easier for you to make friends and build lasting relationships with neighbors and locals. 

Friendly City

Friendly City
Image source: StockSnap on Pixabay

Galway is renowned for its warm and welcoming atmosphere. 

In fact, Galway (along with other Irish cities like Cork and Dublin) has been ranked as one of the friendliest cities in the world by leading publications! As a newcomer, you’ll find that people there are happy to chat and lend a hand to help you get settled in.

No wonder why many people speak so highly of Galway’s folks!

Rich Culture

Rich Culture
Image source: @galwayintarts on Instagram

Galway has become famous for its highly celebrated festivals that reflect its unique history and culture and attract visitors from all over the world. 

Galway International Arts Festival is one of the top festivals in Galway, and it’s truly a grand celebration of creativity. During this two-week fest, the streets come alive with colorful artistic displays and music, and you can expect a variety of performances in music, dance, theater, and literature.

Another interesting one is the Galway Oyster Festival which is a showcase of the city’s seafood culture. You can expect to have your stomach full of tasty and other varieties of seafood served by Galway’s top restaurants.

If you are rather a fan of literature, you’ll certainly enjoy the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, where you can witness a variety of poetry, spoken word, and musical performances, as well as book launches and workshops. You might get to meet some of  your favorite Irish and international writers if you’re lucky! 

Good Food

Good Food
Image source: @buddhabargalway1 on Instagram

In Galway, you have a lot of restaurants to choose from! 

If you’re in the mood for traditional Irish dishes like fish and chips or stew, or craving international cuisine such as Chinese food, you’ll definitely find a restaurant that fits your taste and budget. You can also explore a lot of burger restaurants if you’re up for grabbing a quick and tasty bite.

Located on the coast, Galway is also considered a seafood city, with a handful of restaurants serving some of the freshest seafood in Ireland, from oysters to mussels to various types of fish.

Buzzing Nightlife

Buzzing Nightlife
Image source: ericbarns on Pixabay

Galway has some of the most authentic pubs in Ireland, where you can sing along and jam to traditional Irish music while enjoying Guinness with tourists and locals. If you’re looking for somewhere more relaxed and cozy, there are also plenty of bars where you can sip on cocktails or whiskey.

But If you’re someone who loves staying out late and partying hard, Galway’s nightclubs are perfect to dance the night away. And the best part is that you can easily hop from one party to another because, in this tiny city, nightclubs are basically within walking distance of each other!

Many Beautiful Spots

Many Beautiful Spots
Image source: Galway Tourism

There are many stunning spots in Galway where you can take the backseat from the busy urban life and simply unwind.

Right in the center of Galway is Eyre Square, a park where you can simply enjoy a walk or grab a meal at one of the nearby cafes. You can also head over and admire the  stunning architecture of St. Nicholas Collegiate Church — a church dedicated to St. Nicholas (a.k.a. Santa Claus).

Many Beautiful Spots
Image source: Galway Tourism

Aside from that, you can walk towards Woodquay and go onboard for a River Corrib tour which allows you to see a unique perspective on the city’s beauty. Or, you can head to the coastline and marvel at the sunset over the stunning Galway Bay.

Cons of moving to Galway

Public Transport Needs Improvement

Public Transport Needs Improvement
Image source: Calvinps on Wikimedia Commons

One of Galway’s drawbacks is its public transport system, which has been one of the city’s major concerns for quite some time now. Notable issues include traffic congestion in the city, high dependence on private cars, and limited public transport options (currently, buses are the only main public transport option). 

Furthermore, one study reveals that many people in Galway express dissatisfaction with the customer service provided by bus services.

The good news is there are already solutions being considered to improve Galway’s public transport system. The city is looking into adding a light rail service, giving priority to bus-only road infrastructure, and providing better and more dependable real-time information.

Fickle Weather Conditions

Fickle Weather Conditions
Image source: ericbarns on Pixabay

If you’re enjoying the sunshine now, don’t expect to do it to last any longer because the Galway’s weather can be unpredictable! 

Being on the west coast of Ireland, the city can experience sudden changes of wind, rain, and sun in a single day, which is not ideal for people who cycle. As a matter of fact, Galway was once voted as one of the world’s worst cities for cycling.

You can expect more rainy days in the months of October to December and January. But even during the dry months, it’s still advisable to bring an umbrella or a raincoat as rain can still occur occasionally.

Far From the Capital City of Dublin

Far From the Capital City of Dublin
Image source: Josy_Dom_Alexis on Pixabay

If you frequently need to travel to Dublin for business or leisure, living in Galway may not be the most convenient option. It’s a 207 km ride away, which can take around two to three hours if you take public transportation.

Is it better to live in Dublin or Galway?

Is it better to live in Dublin or Galway
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If you’re looking for a more laid-back city with lower crime rates and affordable living costs, Galway is the better place to live compared to Dublin. 

On the other hand, if you crave a vibrant urban lifestyle, with abundant healthcare choices and greater disposable income, Dublin is the way to go.

Let;s dig in further and find out how each city fares in terms of safety, cost of living, salary levels and healthcare. 

Safety in Galway vs Dublin

Safety in Galway vs Dublin
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Generally, both Dublin and Galway are relatively safe cities to live in. However, being a capital city that’s so densely populated, Dublin has a higher crime rate compared to Galway. 

According to Numbeo, Galway has a generally low level of crime, with a crime index of 29.85, compared to Dublin’s 52.38 (moderate crime levels). This means you are less likely to experience crime in Galway than in Dublin.

While Galway is considered to be the safer city, it’s important to note that Dublin itself is still pretty much safe for tourists and residents alike. 

The Irish capital has implemented numerous safety measures to ensure everyone’s well-being, which still makes it a pretty good place to live.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should keep your guard down when in Galway. As Galway’s tourism continues to develop, common crimes like theft and pickpocketing are expected to become more prevalent.

So, be sure to keep your belongings close, and choose a safe location when selecting accommodation

Cost of Living in Galway vs Dublin

Cost of Living in Galway vs Dublin
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The cost-of-living database shows that the cost of living expenses in Galway is more affordable than living in Dublin. 

As a single person, you’ll need €1,781 per month in Galway, but you’ll need so much more, about €2,368 if you’re planning to live in Dublin. 

This makes the cost of living in Galway 24.79% cheaper than Dublin’s.

To give you more idea of the cost of living in each city, take a look at the table below.

Expenses (monthly)Galway Cost RangeDublin Cost Range
3 bedroom apartment, 80 sq. m. (city center)€2,177€2,854
3 bedroom apartment 80 sq. m. (normal area)€1,655€2,264
1 bedroom apartment, 40 sq. m. (city center)€1,209€1,629
1 bedroom apartment 40 sq. m. (normal area)€950€1,308
Utility bill (1 person)€108€144
Utility bill (family)€164€223
Internet plan€43.9€51.5
Monthly ticket (local transport)€60.6€119
Taxi start (basic tariff, 8 km)€13.4€19.5
Gasoline (1 liter)€1.86€1.99

Note: All values are sourced from, converted from USD ($) to Euro (€).

As you can see, there’s a huge difference in prices. You can expect lower expenses for common items in Galway compared to Dublin.

However, while Galway is generally more affordable than Dublin, it’s important to take note that your lifestyle and priorities will also play a big role in your overall expenses. 

So, make sure to carefully evaluate your needs and preferences before making the big move.

Salary Levels in Galway vs Dublin

Salary Levels in Galway vs Dublin
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Based on the information from, the average after-tax salary in Galway is €2,306, whereas in Dublin, it’s €2,992.

After accounting for living expenses in Galway (€1,781) and Dublin (€2,368), you’re left with €525 and €624, respectively.

This indicates that Dublin provides a higher amount of disposable income compared to Galway, making it more advantageous in terms of finances.

However, to be clear, there are ample employment opportunities in Galway, especially in the construction, health and social work, agriculture, and tourism industries. 

However, Dublin, being the economic center of Ireland, provides an even greater range of employment opportunities, especially in thriving industries such as IT, business and finance, and healthcare, among many others.

It’s worth mentioning that with a larger population and workforce, Dublin is an attractive destination for businesses, which in turn creates more job opportunities and more competitive salaries.

Healthcare in Galway vs Dublin

Healthcare in Galway vs Dublin
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In terms of overall healthcare quality, both Galway and Dublin provide excellent services.

However, according to Numbeo statistics on each city’s health indexes, Galway falls short in certain areas like speed of examinations and reports, as well as satisfaction with costs.

When it comes to accessibility, Dublin takes the lead, with fourteen public hospitals located throughout the city compared to Galway’s three.

This is mainly due to Dublin’s larger population, which requires more hospitals and medical facilities to meet demand.

Nevertheless, Galway still has many skilled medical practitioners available, including doctors, dentists, opticians, and so on.

Galway vs. Dublin: Which One Takes the Crown?

Galway vs. Dublin Which One Takes the Crown
Image source: Sandra_M_H on Pixabay

To summarize all the information we have discussed, we have prepared a table outlining our recommendations on which city excels in each factor.

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
SafetyGalwayThe crime index in Galway is lower than in Dublin.
Cost of LivingGalwayThe cost of living in Galway is 24.79% cheaper than Dublin’s.
Salary LevelsDublinDublin leaves you with more money to spare after covering your living expenses compared to Galway.
HealthcareDublinAlthough both Dublin and Galway provide excellent healthcare services, Dublin outperforms Galway in terms of the speed of examinations and reports, as well as satisfaction with costs.

When it comes to access to healthcare, Dublin offers a greater variety of hospitals compared to Galway.

Ultimately, the final decision rests in your hands. You are the one who knows your own standards and lifestyle best, which will help you determine which city is the better fit for you and which aspects you are willing to compromise on.