Niall Toland of Hays lists the top seven reasons you should consider living and working in Galway.
This month on Siliconrepublic.com, we’re zoning in on the opportunities available in the west of Ireland, which has become a hub for tech and innovation.
If you’re considering a move to somewhere like Galway but aren’t sure what it has to offer, Hays’ Niall Toland has provided us with some tips on why choosing to live in Galway could be a great decision for you and your career. Check them out below.
Reasonable and varied accommodation
While rental costs in Dublin are rising, property in Galway remains much more affordable. Rent prices can be almost half that of the capital, making it more comparable to the likes of Cork and Limerick. The cost of buying property in Galway is also much more favourable than in Dublin.
The city of Galway has expanded in recent years to commuter towns further afield like Oranmore and Barna, where populations have increased. These towns are much more part of the city now but prices still vary depending on proximity to the centre.
Strong education options
Across primary schools, secondary schools and universities, Galway has strong offerings when it comes to education.
The number of primary schools has increased in recent years to meet population demands and parents can choose between a variety of English or Irish-speaking schools and multi-denominational options. The secondary schools in Galway also have a strong reputation, three of which recently made it into the top 25 schools in Ireland.
The two third-level institutes in Galway, NUI Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), have a combined student population of 22,000, making for a diverse demographic within the city. NUI Galway is also a world leader in biomedical engineering, drawing in multinational talent from the life sciences sector.
The cultural heart of Ireland
The bohemian cultural scene of the city is perhaps its biggest selling point. Galway is often referred to as the ‘cultural heart’ of Ireland and is a worthy winner of the European Capital of Culture for 2020.
Whether it’s the International Arts Festival, the food festival, the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children or the International Oyster Festival, there’s something for everyone on the extensive festival scene in Galway.
For equine enthusiasts, the Galway Races at Ballybrit is a must-see, starting on the last Monday of July every year. And if you’re looking for something in the centre of the city, the Macnas performance company puts on impressive parades and shows all throughout the year.
Award-winning food scene
The region is also renowned for its food offerings and in 2018 made history as the first region in Ireland to be awarded the status of European Region of Gastronomy.
Over the last 10 years, the food scene has developed to span the county and islands in addition to the city centre itself. The city has two Michelin-starred restaurants and a whole host of traditional eateries in more rural locations. Make sure to also visit the weekly Galway farmer’s market to get your fresh food fix.
Reminders of a historical past
Galway city’s history goes back around 800 years and examples of its past are still dotted around today. The old walls of Galway can be seen around the city and hark back to its Anglo-Norman conquerors. Look out for the Spanish Arch, one of two remaining arches on the front wall that protected the city’s quays.
As well as being one of the most beautiful spots in the country, Connemara also offers a glimpse of Galway’s past, including the history of the 19th century famine.
Regular methods of transport like buses and trains make for a well-connected city, and walking can often be a viable option considering its size. New buildings for the increasing number of medical technology companies in the region sometimes cause congestion on the roads so alternative methods of transport are often worth considering around rush hour.
Motorways connect the city to Limerick and Dublin, and the Shannon and Knock airports are within an hour’s drive away. Further afield is Dublin airport, which is closer to two and a half hours from Galway.
Sport for all to enjoy
Galway is a hit with rugby fans who come and see the Connacht rugby team, but soccer is also popular in the city. There’s also hurling and Gaelic football, both of which Galway has a successful track record in.
As mentioned above, horse racing is a huge sporting attraction in Galway throughout summer, but the city also holds greyhound racing on a weekly basis.
By Niall Toland
Niall Toland is a senior business director at Hays in Galway.
Updated, 12.20pm, 10 October 2019: This article was updated to clarify that it was authored by Niall Toland.