If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

Canadian family moving to Ireland 2023 - Best town for young outdoorsy family (2+2 small kids)?

  • 01-03-2022 9:30pm
    Registered Users Posts: 17

    Hi folks,

    We are a family from BC, Canada and have an opportunity to move to Ireland in 2023/24 with the potential to make it a permanent home. We have 2 small kids and we are moving because the housing in Ireland is much cheaper than BC. and much of our family is located in Europe.

    We have a few ideas on where might be a fit but would love to get some local peoples thoughts on where might work for us.

    Our priorities are:

    1) Good community spirit with very low crime-rates.

    2) The ability to buy a quality, 4-bed, detached house for under 500K euro

    3) Excellent primary and secondary schools

    4) Infrastructure for kids, park, indoor/outdoor playgrounds etc.

    5) Good proximity to Shannon or Dublin airport (under 90mins preferable)

    6) A population that is neither too small nor too big (5000-100,000)

    Super grateful for your ideas with this, we are very excited at the potential of calling Ireland home!



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,344 ✭✭✭HBC08

    You have a lot of options with that budget.

    As long as you are outside of Dublin crime rates are very low by most European standards and would be similar to Canada.

    Numbers 1 to 6 are all very achievable in your situation.On your point 6 not sure if it's a typo or not but 5k to 100k would cover the vast majority of towns and cities in ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,703 ✭✭✭Deagol

    If being within 90mins of Dublin or Shannon airport is criteria then you have a massive choice. Obviously west coast probably you'll get more bang for your buck house wise (I live 30mins from Shannon airport and I paid <€320k for a 3500sqft house in west clare for instance).

    Prices in any town over 5000 will be that little bit higher than leaving in a rural village.

    The population number you give means you're only ruling out Dublin and Cork cities!

    Larger towns with lots of amenities within your 90 mins to Shannon would be Galway, Limerick and Ennis. But between 5-20k population that meets your other criteria there must 10's of towns if not 100+.

    I'd recommend you come up with some other criteria you'd like to try and narrow that list down a bit!

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 Daney

    Thankyou very much for the quick replies, youve made us realise that we need to refine the requirements, here is an attempt at that (we've removed the population requirement). Also if you could raise your children anywhere in the country where would it be?

    1) Good community spirit with very low crime-rates. No rough areas nearby. Community is well-educated (large percentage with university education).

    2) The ability to buy a quality, 4-bed, detached house for under 500K euro. Communities that are beautiful and well maintained by their local councils.

    3) Both the town center and fantastic nature within walking distance. Forest, hiking, biking and kayaking are things that we enjoy, but also we enjoy town-life, beers in a lively bar or coffee in a snug somewhere.

    4) Excellent primary and secondary schools (schools with state of the art facilities for kids), high percentage of kids going to university/third level education.

    5) Excellent Infrastructure for kids, large parks with indoor/outdoor playgrounds, swimming pools, sports clubs etc.

    6) Good proximity to Shannon or Dublin airport (under 90mins preferable)

    7) A train-station to major towns/cities (driving everywhere gets old fast).

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,043 ✭✭✭✭Caranica

    I don't think there's anywhere in Ireland that will meet those requirements. Like in any country, you're never very far from a "rough area". Even the very good and expensive areas have "rough areas" fairly close.

    I've lived in Ireland almost all of my life and can't say I know whether my neighbours went to university or not.

    State of the art schools, do you expect to pay or not?

    Your infrastructure asks are tough too.

    Have you ever been to Ireland? I'd suggest you come and rent/Airbnb for a couple of months before you buy so you can check out some areas properly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,421 ✭✭✭Finty Lemon

    Wexford town is a fantastic place to live.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,344 ✭✭✭HBC08

    Are you talking about Dublin?

    There's no real rough areas within a 100kms of me.

    OP,it's pricier than most places in the West but Westport fits your criteria (your airport would be Knock instead of shannon)

    Galway would be another although more expensive again and a biggish city by Irish standards.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Ireland is not stratified very much outside the larger urban area. Towns will have a generally representative cross section of the regions population. Don’t believe I have ever heard of someone picking their place to live in Ireland because of the percentage of the population with university education.

    Compared to Canada, Ireland is a tiny country, and population fairly dispersed outside of Dublin. The general experience in raising kids will be broadly similar irrespective of where you are. They will go to the local primary school of which there is a mix of good, average and poor, and unless interested in private secondary (high) school will also attend one of a small choice of local schools. Some brilliant, some average and some poor.

    TLDR: Wexford, Kilkenny, Westport

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,076 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain

    I think Wicklow town vicinity is lovely.

    *East coast- better temperatures usually.

    *Under an hour from Dublin Airport/City/3rd level institutions.

    *Beautiful town with picturesque beaches on the outskirts (Brittas Bay especially).

    *Within half an hour, you can be in the Wicklow Mountains which are simply stunning and perfect for hiking, cycling, lake activities.

    *The town has a good vibe about it, very clean, well maintained and artsy.

    *Really friendly people, even just going into the shops, the staff are very welcoming.

    I'm not from there but did a lockdown mini break last year and absolutely loved it.

    I'm definitely going back.

    To thine own self be true

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,280 ✭✭✭✭fits

    Killarney or Tralee. Great outdoors options and nice towns. Wexford and waterford are nice too.

    actually check out Dungarvan Co Waterford I think that would tick most boxes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 260 ✭✭BingCrosbee

    Mullingar is a lovely town to live in. An hour from Dublin, surrounded by lakes, quiet, great schools and lovely pubs. Canal walks and cycle ways. You won’t get much better.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 17 Daney

    Thankyou very much for the responses, it is really very appreciated!

    Your responses fill us with confidence as following our own research we were attracted to Kilkenny and Westport initially. I know the requirements here seem 'uber-specific' but since so much of Ireland is great for families we wanted to include specific things like our love for the outdoors (which is not everybody's cup of tea).

    We hadnt considered Wexford or Wicklow towns so thankyou for this we will research this a little more. Wicklow does seem like a hikers paradise but it does seem quite a bit more expensive to buy property in, but maybe Im wrong on this? We are visiting in June for a scouting trip and one of the towns we had considered looking at was Ennis, do you feel this is equal to the likes of Westport and Kilkenny?

    Thankyou everyone for your help with our hunt.

  • Posts: 18,749 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Just a little thing OP, the weather in Ireland varies greatly.

    The East coast is a lot drier then the west. If you choose to live anywhere west, North West, South West, it rains a lot. A lot.

    The east of the country is much better for outside activity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,091 ✭✭✭stargazer 68

    OP maybe I've missed it but have you got jobs here? Are you going to be looking for work when you get here. That will play a huge part in where to locate to surely.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,246 ✭✭✭naughtysmurf

    Killaloe, pronounced Killalu, Co Clare would tick a lot of boxes

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 Daney

    This is a great point. We will be in a position to work remotely which has opened the country to us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 Daney

    This is definitely something we have been looking at. The climate here in BC is also very wet but you are right, hiking in rain vs no rain is a no-brainer....hmmm something to consider for sure!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,604 ✭✭✭Amadan Dubh

    I think Greystones provides as many of those things as anywhere can. Especially the thriving, friendly, international community with a high standard of living and city culture to go with it in terms of being able to meet different and interesting people, while at the same time having nature on your doorstep. It won, for the second time in the last 15 years, an award for the world's most liveable community

    It also has a fairly well maintained local community publication, with an Instagram page to show you what typically goes on in the town

    It is quite a wealthy town and this is reflected on the house prices which unfortunately would limit you and your €500k budget, especially for a detached house. But how could you say no to that town from looking at this picture form above (no waves for surfing but there is a blue flag sandy beach just out of shot below the photo and kayaking and paddle boarding are very popular in the sea there - to the top of the photo is a cliff walk and hike up Bray head that begins after walking 15 minutes from the centre of the town. Dublin is the other side of that hill and the train goes direct to Dublin city centre from Greystones through that hill);

  • Posts: 18,749 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Yeah, I'm from the North West originally and have been on the East coast since 93, the difference in the weather is amazing actually for a small country. I thought about going back West myself about 15 years ago and it was the weather that put me off. I couldn't deal with the amount of rain that there is there.

    Even if you don't live right beside the coast or mountains, you can be there in 30 mins. And the weather will always be better then the west coast.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,043 ✭✭✭✭Caranica

    I would say Ennis has more antisocial issues with residents. Westport and Kilkenny import them in the form of hen and stag parties.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,555 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    We moved from Dublin to kerry a few years ago.

    Middle of the city to the countryside with 5 acres of land and 30 minutes drive to 7 beaches. Numerous mountains and forests and great neighbours.

    I'm 7 minutes drive to the main town and under 90 to Shannon. I can almost see it from my house. A hill gets in the way. 3 hours to Dublin

    Cork Airport about 2hours away maximum

    Post edited by SouthWesterly on

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 189 ✭✭FreshCoffee

    Kerry / West Cork without a doubt. The Kingdom of Kerry especially if you like mountains in your backyard.

    Type either into YouTube and have a look at the videos. And be sure to visit the southwest corner of Ireland when you come over. You won't be disappointed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,394 ✭✭✭NSAman

    A few things and places come to mind.

    kerry … fantastic beaches out door life, friendly people, who look after one another. Scenery is world class especially on the coast. Shannon 1.5 hours, Farranfore max 40 minutes from anywhere. Great pubs. Educationally same as most schools in ireland, less anti social behaviour outside Killarney and Especially Tralee.

    kildare… clane/Newbridge/Naas…more anti social behaviour more shopping options lots for kids to do. Clongowes or Newbridge college and many other state schools. Curragh for walking/ hiking. Dublin airport max 45 minutes, Dublin not too far and available through train also in Naas and Newbridge. House prices higher though.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Hi op, one thing to keep in mind is access to transport. You mention "driving everywhere gets old real fast" so allow me to share what I did.

    Wife and I (no kids) got rid of the car when saving for a place. We set one of our main criteria as needing to live without a car forever more so we moved to Athlone, which has a town bus service, is on the main train lines, on the motorway network that we could also easily walk and cycle around. We also still have the option of renting a car or van (GoCar) within 10 mins walk of where we live should we ever find the need arising. We're also within 90 mins of the main airport and have the option of buses close by that go direct to the airport.

    Just something to consider aside from the other criteria you mentioned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,646 ✭✭✭greenpilot

    Depending on your career choices, Westport. Without a shadow of a doubt. Moved the 30 years ago and I'll never live on the East Coast again. A most wonderful place to raise kids.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,646 ✭✭✭greenpilot

    One thing you will notice is the fear of everything that most North Americans/ Canadians carry with them, mostly due to gun violence/gun availability, will completely disappear. There are few guns in Ireland ( which is incredible if you consider our history), and our police are not armed. Ireland is one of the safest countries in the world.

    A great move, you will be most welcome here. Again, Westport is the place. Such a strong community spirit in the town. The surrounding scenery and countryside is breathtaking. A direct rail link to Dublin and an international airport just 40mins drive away. Local public transport between the major Mayo towns is excellent.

    If you ever end up there, give me a shout. I'm well known in Mayo and have plenty of useful connections.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,555 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    The problem with mayo is understanding the native Inhabitants 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 344 ✭✭flended12

    Lots of interesting insights to our lovely little country. Please factor in healthcare costs. Ours are high and the service is unfortunately crap on the whole. In fact everything is high and by and large cost v service delivery of a lot of services is poor compared to other modern countries.

    All locations discussed are valid and if you can ease off on the 90min journey from Shannon or Dublin Airports then Westport is a great shout. Have been down a few times on holidays. Great town, plenty of social options. A short drive out towards louisburgh and your on the wild Atlantic way with some amazing beaches and activities.

    Downfall? Wind and rain, but hey its Ireland.

    Other options within 90mins of Shannon and some already mentioned

    West Coast Clare


    Most of Cork County

    Galway (property prices crazy) also an option with the new motorway from Limerick.

    Trains are generally good but Dublin airport is not served by one. In saying that all railway lines between Dublin and the rest of the towns already mentioned are served well.

    After all of that knowing the country well and taking into all the facts I'd look at Killaloe

    (its population is quite small). 40mins from Shannon, 1hr from Atlantic Ocean, on the shores of Lough Derg (outdoors, river shannon, kayaking, mountain bike trails etc), Limerick university/city 20mins and if your willing just under 2hrs to dublin on a clear day.

    You will definitely need a car as I dont think its served by a train. Closest train station is 25mins away.

    The very best of luck with the search, I'd do a bit more research on the actual cost of living too. Ireland reminds me of a lot like new Zealand when I was there in mid 2000's. Two great countries but left with the feeling of 'squeezing people for every penny".

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    Mullingar is a nice quiet town, Good schools, plenty of shops , cafes shopping centres, nice park, look on daft ie Westmeath, Mullingar, houses 200k plus 3bed, make sure it's a non council estate, private estate, less than 45 minutes from Dublin City . Good place to live, safe, low crime rate I lived there for 12 years you don't want to live in a small town like 3000 population. Mullingar is a medium sized town but not a city , good range of schools, and shops cable TV and fast broadband avaidable eg 50 Meg plus or fibre installed see google broadband Mullingar eir or virgin media providers

    Nice friendly people, good place to bring up a family

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,296 ✭✭✭✭lawred2

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 359 ✭✭Paul_Hacket

    Hi OP, I live in the US but am looking to move back with my American born wife at some point over the next couple of years. My situation is a little different from yours but a few things come to mind from looking at your criteria and from thinking about my wife’s situation and what it will be like for in making the jump over to Ireland.

    ireland is a great place to raise kids and the schools are great in my opinion but at the same time understand that virtually everyone in Ireland goes to public schools and given that, a lot of the kids in school will not be on track to go to university. These days most go to some form of third level but a lot won’t and in my opinion that’s one of the things that make the schools great. You meet all kinds of people from all different backgrounds at school in Ireland and that experience gives children a lot of life skills. It’s a different set up to the US and Canada though where a lot of the “good” schools seem to have kids from very homogenous backgrounds.

    similarly you’ll have a hard time finding a town where most people are college educated and professional. That’s not a bad thing from my point of view but be aware that there are no Portlands or Vancouvers in Ireland. Dublin would be the closest thing but I wouldn’t recommend it for reasons that would take to long to explain and you’re clearly looking for a smaller city/town and different environment anyway.

    i reckon you’ll have a hard time finding somewhere that meets all of your criteria. For instance public transport and trains are fairly shite in Ireland, especially compared to most of the rest of Europe. You’ll end up using a car a lot just for regular day to day stuff unless you’re right in the middle of town in somewhere like Galway or Cork. Even though it’s larger than your criteria Cork might be a good bet for you in terms of social life, access to transport, cultural and sporting amenities etc. but getting a nice detached house there, even in the suburbs might be outside of your price range.

    I have to say I’m curious if you’ve spent much time in Ireland? Have you ever done a winter there? Are you aware most of the schools are Catholic and the homes are FREEZING compared to north American standards? I’m not trying to put you off for a second, but the culture is very different to the US and Canada. For instance you mentioned you are looking for somewhere that is close knit. You need have no worries about that - pretty much everywhere in Ireland outside of the big cities is close knit but the flip side of that is that it can be a bit insular. Having kids will definitely help you make connections with other parents etc though.

    Again, not trying to put you off for a second, you can have an amazing life in places like Kerry or West Cork, amazing scenery but long wet winters. Somewhere like Wicklow also has amazing scenery nearby and access to Dublin’s amenities but will be pricier and you might get less house than you’re hoping for as it’s basically within the commuter belt these days.