Best Places to Live in Ireland

Best Cities for International Students in Ireland

Students looking for a beautiful location brimming with history, culture, nature, and, of course, a thriving nightlife will find Ireland on their list of options. The country is home to a wide variety of attractions, day trips, and world-famous sites. In other words, students will have no trouble keeping busy between the rigorous coursework that put the country on the map academically and the beautiful environments and cultures that have made it a top travel destination for decades.

With dozens of top-notch universities, institutions, and colleges for students to choose from, it can be a daunting task to decide between some of the top academic opportunities in the world. If you don’t have a particular school or program in mind from the beginning, maybe the best thing to do is learn about the top student destinations in Ireland.

Here are the top 5:

  1. Dublin

It’s no surprise that Dublin finds its place at the top of this list. The historic capital of the country is located on its central eastern coast, bordering the Irish Sea and cut into northern and souther sections by the River Liffey. With a population just shy of 530,000, Dublin is ideal for city-dwellers, history lovers, or keen travelers, who can travel from the Dublin easily using its buses, trains, and international airport – RyanAir, a budget airline founded in Ireland, is a popular means of travel around Europe.

Dublin is Ireland’s economic epicenter, making it prime for both high-quality universities and post-graduate career opportunities. More quaint than other European capitals, the city is not shy in culture and is overflowing with fun activities. Students enjoy Temple Bar, a cultural quarter just south of the river full of authentic pubs and bars, as well as the Guinness Factory, historic Trinity College, and Grafton Street for shopping.

  1. Limerick

For the art student who desires a small city setting surrounded by nature, Limerick is the perfect destination. Set in Ireland’s mid-west region along the beautiful River Shannon, Limerick is Ireland’s fourth largest city by population, with 192,000 calling it home. Modern Limerick is known as a haven for art – in fact, the city was named the country’s first national City of Culture in 2014.

Limerick is riddled with attractions: in addition to the famous King John’s Castle, an authentic 13th-century castle with gorgeous river views, top sites in Limerick include St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Hunt Museum, and Lough Gur, a scenic lake. It is also near Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Ring of Kerry, making it an ideal town for those looking for day trips to see the rest of Ireland’s scenic beauty and historic culture.

  1. Galway

If you really want to dive into Irish culture in a smaller setting than Dublin, Galway is the city for you. With only 75,000 people, Galway has often been referred to as the most Irish town in Ireland. Complete with circuitous medieval lanes made of cobblestone, quaint colorful homes, and lively streets lined with pubs, the harbor city on Ireland’s west coast brings many of Ireland’s iconic images to life.

Galway also the city where you’ll be most likely to hear Gaelic, an ancient Celtic language that is still an official language in Ireland. Most of the restaurants, pubs, and cafes are located on Quay Street, which comes to vibrant life at night with the sounds of traditional live music and plenty of opportunities to dance. Kirwan’s Lane is also a popular location, offering a glimpse into the medieval world with twisting streets and buildings dating back to the 1500s.

  1. Athlone

Athlone is a small city located almost exactly in the middle of Ireland on the River Shannon in the Midlands Region, which is known for its natural beauty, green hills, and many lakes and waterways. Athlone has a rich history as a central point of trade along the Shannon for those heading east and west along the river.

For the student who loves the outdoors – hiking, biking, running, and exploring outside the city – Athlone is for you. The city, itself, is compact, with bridges crossing the river frequently, making it simple to explore on foot and see a new part of town with ease. The city is also famous for being home to some of the most famous eateries and restaurant Ireland has to offer.

  1. Tralee

Just slightly bigger than Athlone, Tralee is ideal if you’re looking to experience a traditional Irish country village while still having all the modern conveniences you desire. The small city is located in southwest Ireland on the Dingle Peninsula, which, like many places in the country, is known for its stunning landscapes. It overlooks Tralee Bay, which was once a major port of trade and is what originally put the city on the map.

Today, Tralee is renowned across Ireland for having maintained traditional Irish culture much more effectively in comparison to other cities on the island. While having all modern conveniences that make living there in modern times easy, it still retains the feel of a traditional Irish country village.