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Settling down in Ireland can be one of the most fulfilling decisions you can make. There’s a little something for everyone on the Emerald Isle, with a world-famous pub scene, rich historical experiences, and thrilling, gorgeous landscapes that anyone can enjoy. From coastal villages to lively city settings, Ireland is a pure delight for people from all walks of life.
Ireland is a safe country, though some areas feature higher crime rates. If you plan on calling the country home or are simply planning a holiday, here are the 25 safest places to live and visit in Ireland.
The 21 Safest Places to Live in Ireland in 2022
Galway is the county town and cultural epicenter of County Galway on Ireland’s west coast. The city is the sixth most populous in Ireland and is known for its array of festivals and events throughout the year.
In general, Galway is a safe city, with most concerns dealing with drug-related offenses. Theft and disorderly conduct were the most common crimes in 2019, both of which increased since the year prior. On the whole, crime did go down 17% from 2018 to 2019 per the CSO.
The heritage town of Westport in County Mayo up the coast from Galway is a quaint setting to settle down. Although it’s small, the coastal views and charming landscape attract visitors from around the globe.
Safety is a selling point for the small village of just over 6,000 people. Though crime has always been low, the crime rate in Westport dropped over 20% in 2019 from the prior year. The most significant worries for residents pertain to drug-related crimes, vandalism, and theft, though those are only moderately concerning.
Kinsale is a thriving tourist destination in County Cork. The town is the setting-off point for the Wild Atlantic Way, a scenic 1,500 mile-long coastal trek. With colorful streets, history dating back to the 6th century, and famed eateries, Kinsale has much to behold in its small area.
Like much of County Cork, crime is low in Kinsale. According to the CSO, there was a notable 45% jump in crime from 2015 to 2019. That was mainly due to increases in drug-related and public order offenses, though.
Kenmare in County Kerry on the southwest corner of Ireland has a tiny population but plenty of unique history to enjoy. It features Ireland’s first suspension bridge, a Carnegie library, and a stone circle dating back to the Bronze Age. The peaceful town is ideal for anyone looking for fantastic food and a tranquil lifestyle.
There is hardly any crime in the small, sleepy town. Outside of a relatively high-profile vandalism case involving a peppering of baked beans in 2021, Kenmare has had few noteworthy incidents of serious crime. In 2019, there were only 86 reported offenses, down from 107 the previous year.
Known for its cleanliness, Killarney is a bright spot in the middle of County Kerry. Full of history and a never-ending expanse of gorgeous mountains and lakes, the popular tourist destination certainly plays its part in helping the Emerald Isle’s reputation.
Killarney receives top marks for safety, as most locals rate low crime risks across the board. The greatest threats in the area appear to be vandalism and petty theft, but even those are minor concerns among the population.
As one of the wealthiest Dublin suburbs, there’s no surprise that Malahide ranks among the safest places to live in Ireland. The coastal town boasts numerous amenities for its affluent residents, including a relaxing beach, a marina, sports clubs, and a little history in Malahide Castle.
There was a significant uptick in crime, particularly burglary and robbery, from 2017 to 2018 in Malahide, though the new numbers hardly paint the suburb as dangerous. For most residents, the main concerns are drug-related offenses.
Bray is a coastal resort town in County Wicklow on the island’s east coast just south of Dublin. Dubbed the “Gateway to the Garden of Ireland”, Bray was named one of the Top 20 Best Places to live in Ireland in the Irish Times’s annual roundup.
There is some crime in Bray, but traditionally, most has been vice-related. While there are occasional incidents involving theft, as expected in a city of its size, the primary concerns are drug-related crimes.
Sitting along the River Liffey in County Kildare on the west side of Dublin, Celbridge is rife with charm and tranquility. The area is steeped in history, with attractions including Celbridge Abbey and artifacts from Arthur Guinness, the famed brewer and county resident.
Crime in Celbridge is light, though residents have shown worry over changes in crime patterns. Still, Celbridge receives top marks for low crime in most categories, with drug-related offenses and vandalism being the only notable concerns.
The county seat of County Clare, Ennis sits at the halfway point between Limerick and Galway on Ireland’s west coast. The city lies next to the River Fergus, acting as a hub on the Wild Atlantic Way. While many regard it as one of Ireland’s cleanest towns, the real magic of Ennis belongs to its incredible food scene.
Crime rates are generally low in Ennis, though there have been incidents of vandalism and assault raising safety concerns in recent months. Overall, the city is widely regarded as one of the safest and nicest areas to live in Ireland.
Tullamore is the county town of County Offaly, right in the center of Ireland. Although it’s far from the coast, there’s plenty for water sports enthusiasts thanks to the Grand Canal. An ideal destination for amazing hikes without the crowd and the home of the famous Tullamore Dew distillery, Tullamore is an engaging blend of outdoor activities and essential Irish heritage.
Tourists enjoy Tullamore, and it’s well known as one of the tidiest places to live. Crime is relatively low, with the primary concerns being drug-related offenses and corruption.
The seaside county town of County Wicklow dates back to 795 AD, while the Black Castle serves as a stark reminder of the area’s violence through the Middle Ages. The town now offers modern-day amenities, but there’s still plenty of preserved monastic history and sweeping lake-dotted landscape to enjoy.
Wicklow was one of several towns that saw a substantial increase in crime in 2019, but overall, incidents remain low. Drug-related crimes, petty theft, and vandalism are the central issues residents face, but even those are moderate threats at best.
Cork sits on the southern edge of Ireland, acting as the vibrant heart of the region. There are tons of sites and activities to enjoy here, including the Cork Butter Museum, the Crawford art gallery, and several old churches and cathedrals. It’s also home to the most popular covered market between Ireland and the UK, the English Market, in operation since the late 1700s.
Cork is the second-largest city in Ireland, but unlike its larger counterpart in Dublin, it has an exceptional reputation for safety. It boasts the lowest crime levels of the major cities. Like Dublin, there are areas to avoid, such as Knocknaheeny or Mayfield. But overall, residents feel safe throughout the city, with the overarching concerns involving drug use and vandalism.
The northernmost entry on this list, Donegal is a small town directly west of Northern Ireland. Nearby villages and surrounding areas offer relaxing beaches and wilderness exploration opportunities. Meanwhile, Donegal itself is known for its friendly residents and historic structures, such as Donegal Castle and the Parish Church.
While some close towns have earned a bad rep for crime (such as Letterkenny), Donegal is a haven of safety. Crime is rare, with assault and weapons-related offenses being some of the lowest in the nation.
A notable tourist area between Dublin and Cork, Kilkenny is full of history and charm, featuring centuries-old cathedrals and abbeys and the famous Kilkenny Castle. The city hosts numerous arts, comedy, and music festivals throughout the year, making it one of the more exciting areas to live in Ireland.
Kilkenny is safer than many heavily populated areas in Ireland. The Kilkenny Garda division identifies the city as having one of the lowest incidences of burglaries across the country (193 incidents per 100,000 people). Drug-related crime, like most areas, is the main problem in the area, but even those are low to moderate threats.
Mullingar is the county town of County Westmeath, located in the Midlands region west of Dublin. Surrounded by lakes, canals, and rivers, Mullingar is a desirable destination for fishing and water sports enthusiasts. For residents, it offers some of the most idyllic landscape and exhilarating vistas in all of Ireland.
Crime has always been low in Mullingar, but the pandemic pushed rates lower. Burglary rates, for example, plummeted 57% from 2019 to 2020, while vehicle thefts fell 67% to only 24 incidents, leading to an overall trend of decreasing property crime in the nation.
Limerick is a nexus of medieval and modern Irish history, featuring King John’s castle, the Frank McCourt Museum, and an endless array of cathedrals to explore. The landscape and waterways are as rich as the heritage in Limerick, with numerous parks and the River Shannon offering picturesque settings for residents and tourists alike.
Limerick had an awful reputation in the early 2000s for its high murder rate, earning it the disreputable nickname “Stab City”. In recent years, however, the city has turned its image around and it is now a much safer area to live in. Certain places still need to be avoided, though, and many residents find drug-related crimes a persistent issue in the city.
Only 35 km from Dublin, Naas is a perfect escape for residents seeking a slower pace of life while still being near lively events and activities. It features beautiful golf courses, a farmer’s market with a rural feel, and fantastic views around Blessington Lakes, the region’s active water supply.
The small-town vibe in Naas might be one reason that crime is generally low. There have been recent isolated cases of gang-related activity, but the town by no means has a consistent problem with violence.
Tralee is the county town of County Kerry, home to several places on this list. The area is known for its pretty landscape and singular points of interest, such as the massive, awe-inspiring Blennerville Windmill. Among the many churches, Irish folk assets, wetlands, and beaches, there are plenty of ways to relax and take in the area’s culture.
Compared to many other areas in County Kerry, Tralee is a more dangerous area to live in. Relative to the rest of the country, however, Tralee is safe, with most residents showing minor concern over violent or property crimes. New initiatives are also helping to quell crime. A text alert system introduced in 2018, for example, has been instrumental in cutting crime by over 20%.
About 50 km southwest of Tralee is Dingle, the sole town you can find on the Dingle Peninsula. Surrounded on three sides by water and boasting an impressive mountain range, the Slieve Mish, many view Dingle as the most beautiful place in not only Ireland but the entire world.
With only a handful of residents, there are few opportunities for crime in Dingle. The Garda in Kerry may also have something to do with deterring crime. The county’s force is the most successful of any division in Ireland at solving crimes, detecting around 66% of total offenses in the area.
Cobh is a seaside town in County Cork, a famous port that notably accommodated the Titanic before it took off across the Atlantic. Cruise liners arrive at Cobh throughout the year, making it a common tourist area.
Like much of County Cork, Cobh has relatively low crime for its size. Among towns its size in the county, it had the fewest thefts, burglaries, and public order offenses in 2019.
Skerries is a small fishing and resort town due north of the city of Dublin. The town consistently earns recognition for its cleanliness, culture, and overall sense of community. It’s a fun area featuring quaint local shops in town and an endless array of on-the-water activities along its expansive coastline.
Skerries is one of the safest places in County Dublin. Crime rates are low, and those reported generally involve drug-related offenses. It was even named the safest place to work from home in 2021 by Switcher.ie.
Staying Safe in Ireland
Like many popular tourist destinations, opportunistic thieves and other criminals can be found in certain pockets of the country, so you need to apply common sense no matter where you go.
Avoid demonstrations and sketchy areas at night. Do not carry or flaunt valuables in public, and try to avoid keeping your money, IDs, and passport in one place, as a single theft can leave you stranded. If you’re uncertain about navigating any particular area, seek the help of a local guide to show you how to stay safe and have fun on the Emerald Isle.
Related Read: 10 Safest Cities in Europe
Ireland is one of the safest countries to visit and one of the most beautiful places to live. There’s no shortage of incredible scenery to brighten your days, and the locals are some of the friendliest people around. Check out any of these safe places to live in Ireland, and you’ll be sure to have a truly remarkable experience.
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