Waterford has made it into the last five in the Irish Times Best Place to Live in Ireland 2021 competition. Ireland’s oldest city joins Galway City, Killarney, Clonakilty and the village of Glaslough in County Monaghan as they vie for the coveted title.
Waterford was one of the 470 locations nominated by more than 2,400 people from across the 32 counties. The campaign began in June, when members of the public were invited to nominate their favourite place to live in Ireland.
Earlier this month, Waterford was one of three cities that had made the top 20. Derry and Galway were the other two.
Each location was then looked at by a panel of judges on specific criteria. These included community spirit, local services, diversity, transport links, vibrancy of the local economy, cost of living, safety and the unique ‘X factor’. The judges have visited each location over the past few weeks.
Waterford was put forward as a city which “hits the sweet spot for size: not too small, not too big. Most amenities, from shopping to cliff walks, are within 15 minutes of the city. Tramore and Dunmore East are hubs for surfing, sailing and all things in between, and the Waterford Greenway has opened up the region.
“There’s a booming IT and pharma sector, and the local housing market provides many reasonable options for all types of housing.”
Nobody here was surprised to hear Waterford was being considered
The Irish Times was also full of praise for the city, saying: “Nobody here was surprised to hear Waterford was being considered as one of the best places to live in Ireland. It isn’t perfect, and suffers from the same problems as other cities, though perhaps on a smaller scale.
It continued: “But what it lacks in those attributes, it makes up for with its rich history, walkability, liveability and the ease of access to outdoor amenities.”
Affordability was also a deciding factor in the panel’s choice, and Waterford performed well. Property prices are just one of several measures judges applied in choosing the Best Place to Live, but in the midst of a housing crisis they are an important consideration. They visited villages where houses are quite cheap, and city suburbs where property is out of most people’s reach.
In Waterford, the average current asking price is above the Government definition of an affordable home in the city, the judges said. Nevertheless, there are 51 houses at or below the affordable level of €250,000, and 44 of these are €200,000 or less. Affordability and variety of supply are good in Waterford city, they said.
The winner will be revealed on Saturday, September 25th.