CONFIRMING what all Waterford residents have already known, ‘The Irish Times Best Places to Live in Ireland 2021 Competition’, has resulted in our city emerging as the best place to live.
Judges praised the beauty of the city’s buildings, its liveability, its affordability and its vibrancy, saying: “What Waterford has achieved over the past two decades is simply outstanding.”
The city, which was the unanimous choice of the judging panel, beat off stiff competition from the four other shortlisted locations: Clonakilty, Co Cork; Galway city; Glaslough, Co Monaghan; and Killarney Co Kerry.
The Irish Times Best Place to Live in Ireland contest, which is supported by Randox Health, began in June. Over the summer, 2,400 people nominated 470 places across all 32 counties for the title.
an unassuming city, with a sense of its own independence
While the number of nominations was a factor in the selection of the top locations — Waterford received 47 — the quality of the place itself was the chief consideration.
Each one of the nominated places — whether a city, town, village or suburb — was assessed on a range of criteria including: affordability; natural amenities; buildings; housing; community initiatives and spirit; presence of clubs, societies and activities; good local services; diversity; a welcome for outsiders; transport links; employment opportunities; digital links for distance working; and safety and security.
The panel of judges included Zainab Boladale, presenter of RTÉ’s Nationwide; Rosita Boland, Irish Times journalist; Dr Illona Duffy, GP and public-health commentator; Simon Wall, Mayo county architect and Irish Times journalist Conor Goodman, who chaired the group.
Architect Simon Wall described the city’s Viking Triangle as a wonderful friendly public realm with walkable, liveable and happy communities.
“Waterford is an unassuming city, with a sense of its own independence. It appears not to compare itself with other Irish cities. What it has achieved over the past two decades is simply outstanding,” he said.
Rosita Boland said the city centre’s wonderful period buildings were complemented by thoughtfully designed new museums that have brought a new civic energy.
for most of 2020 Waterford had the lowest infection rate
Dr Duffy said the city’s response to the pandemic was another plus — for most of 2020 Waterford had the lowest infection rate.
The Chair of the judging panel, Conor Goodman said that while Waterford has to confront problems that afflict any city, these are not as pronounced here as in other Irish urban centres.
“Its high unemployment is a negative, but this is somewhat offset by other factors – notably its growing tech and pharma sectors, its remote working facilities, and its access to other jobs markets such as Dublin and Cork – and was ultimately outweighed by the city’s numerous positive attributes.”