How Dublin, Galway and Cork rank as ‘Tech Cities of the Future’

14 Jul 2020

City Quay in Dublin. Image: © spectrumblue/

Dublin has been ranked as the third top city in Europe for tech and innovation investment, behind London and Paris.

Dublin was recently ranked as one of the top cities in Europe for tech investment, according to a report from technology and start-up news publication The Next Web and FDI Intelligence, which is part of the Financial Times.

In the report, entitled Tech Cities of the Future 2020/21, London was ranked as the top city in Europe overall for start-ups, tech and innovation, followed by Paris and Dublin.

The report highlighted that the Irish capital presents a “compelling proposition” for innovators and start-ups. But Cork and Galway also stood out in the European rankings.

How Irish cities fared in the report

The report looked at different aspects of cities that might attract start-up leaders and innovative businesses, ranking cities in a number of categories. While Dublin was rated third overall, it ranked second in terms of economic potential and foreign direct investment performance.

Dublin did not make the top 10 when it came to start-up environment, cost-effectiveness or innovation and attractiveness – however Galway was named as the ninth best tech city for innovation and attractiveness in Europe.

Cork was ranked in fifth place in the category of economic potential, with the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, commenting: “This confidence in our collective futures for Cork to thrive is clear in the sustained growth evident with the large numbers of people from overseas choosing Cork city as a place to live and work.”

With a population of around 1.3m, Dublin is considerably smaller than London (8.98m people) and also Paris (2.1m). While the city appears to be punching above its weight in some categories, it may be failing in others such as cost-effectiveness due to the increasing cost of living. According to a 2019 global ranking, the Irish capital is more expensive to live in than both London and Vienna.

It may be no surprise that Galway, which has a population of around 80,000, was included in the innovation category, given the city’s reputation as a start-up and collaboration hub with links to a variety of academic institutions. NUI Galway has also described the cost of living in the city as “significantly lower” than in Dublin.

Dublin’s ‘thriving’ tech community

The report said that Ireland has been “excelling” in various country-level data points, including the 2020 Index of Economic Freedom.

“Dublin also shone in the FDI performance category, with the highest level of capital investment in software R&D out of all locations analysed,” it said.

The Tech Cities of the Future Report included a comment from Canada-based Traction Guest, a developer of enterprise visitor management systems that established operations in Dublin in December 2019.

The company said: “Dublin is renowned for its thriving tech community, supportive business ecosystem and a talent-rich pool of technology professionals from all over Europe and beyond.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic