Sligo

The motto of the local chamber of commerce in the Yeats County is ‘Life Is Sligo’ – which makes it pretty unique in Ireland in placing the pursuit of a happy work/life balance as a number one priority.

 

25

Minutes is the average commute

50%

Less rental costs than Dublin

60k

Apartments in Sligo Town

149k

The average 3 bedroom house

That sets the tone in a county where people can land a challenging career in, for example, a tech or pharma company and match it with the kind of lifestyle that could easily grace the pages of any lifestyle or adventure magazine.

With average commuting times of less than 25 minutes, highly affordable childcare and even cheaper accommodation costs, Sligo is a place where incomes can happily stretch much further than in most Irish counties.

It all makes this North West jewel a highly desirable destination for families and individuals in search of that special X-factor.
“It’s kind of like how I imagined Ireland used to be,” says one recent arrival. “People are very chilled and relaxed but it’s actually incredibly dynamic.”

Sligo town is nestled less than 10 kilometres from the swimming and surf spots of the Atlantic ocean and is surrounded by the mountains of Knocknarea and Benbulben. It’s an aesthetically stunning backdrop by any yardstick.

It might be one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets but Google searches of Sligo rocketed in 2020 after the BBC premiere of ‘Normal People’ – the TV adaption of Sally Rooney’s novel which uses Sligo and its key location on the Wild Atlantic Way.

‘Normal People’ sits perfectly as an apt description for a county that has a well-skilled and increasingly international workforce – and one which, while undoubtedly hard-working, doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Sligo has harnessed a special energy in recent years, thanks partly to a welcome intake of people seeking viable alternatives to Dublin and the over-heating eastern region – and those seeking a little bit more from life.

It has a buzzing start-up scene, a burgeoning tech as well as life sciences cluster and a reputation for collaboration. Even with the challenges posed by Covid-19, Sligo is well-placed to offer opportunities for remote working with firms such as eBay, Shopify and others recruiting staff on an ongoing basis.

So, let’s take a look at the key Sligo stats:

Getting a great job has never been easier in Sligo and now you can use the WDC’s new Talent Tool to help you. Employers such as US tech firm Overstock, life sciences giants Abbott and Abbvie, and indigenous employers such as SL Controls, Ward Automation and LotusWorks are constantly on the hunt for talented people to come to Sligo to develop their careers. Overstock VP David Kenny says: “We set the bar pretty high for recruitment – we love being able to offer that cutting-edge tech work environment and Sligo’s natural charms which allows people to enjoy life inside and outside of work.“

Life at Overstock.com Co.Sligo
Life at Overstock.com Co.Sligo

It’s kind of like how I imagined Ireland used to be,” says one recent arrival. “People are very chilled and relaxed but it’s actually incredibly dynamic.

Housing

According to the latest Daft Property Report for Q1, 2020, the average Irish house price was €256,338, which falls to €149,966 in Co Sligo. And as viewers of RTE’s ‘Cheap Irish Houses’ TV show will atest, this figure can drop even lower – you can buy an apartment in town for less than €60,000. All of this means that housing is largely affordable for most people on reasonably average incomes which means more disposable income for everything else. Renting is also affordable – according to Daft’s Rental Q4 2019 rental report, Sligo residents can expect to fork out an average €772 in monthly rent which is among the least expensive in Ireland and which compares to a national average of €1,402. You can expect to pay more in Strandhill, around 20 minutes from town.

 

Sligo Aerial View
The Garavogue River, Sligo Town

Childcare

There’s no denying that Ireland is an expensive place for child-minding but Sligo residents pay considerably less in fees to have their children cared for. Data collected by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in November 2019 showed average weekly full-time childcare fees of €156.98 in Co Sligo, compared to €246.03 in Dublin Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and €200.49 in Co Kildare. Over a month or a year, that’s quite a difference!

 

Horse riding on the beach in Sligo

Going Out

If you don’t have children, and cash is even more plentiful, Sligo town is a very cool place for singles and couples with plenty of classic old-school pubs such as Thomas Connollys and Hargadons. You can mix it up alongside cocktail joints like the Bourbon Bar, enjoy a spot of wine and tapas in Knox or grab a delicious vegan meal in Sweet Beat. Rosses Point or Strandhill offer even more great choices and tastes as well as the chance to surf, walk, golf or enjoy a reinvigorating seaweed bath. A bonus, if you’re living in Sligo town, you get to stroll home along the banks of the Garavogue.

 

Commuting times

When it comes to getting to work or school in Sligo and collecting the kids at home time , it doesn’t take very long. The most recent Census figures – released in 2017 – show that commuters in Sligo had an average travel time of 22.1 minutes, compared to the 35 minutes it takes commuters in Meath and Wicklow to get to work. Sligo town to Strandhill is a 15 minute spin while Ballisodare and Rathcormac are about 10 minutes away. You will almost certainly need a car, as public transport links are more limited.

 

Surfing in Sligo
Surfing in Strandhill

Education

Sligo has a modern Institute of Technology (IT) which is on track to become a Technological University in the next two years. IT Sligo offers a lot of online learning and a number of Arts degrees including creative writing – which is a nice nod to Sligo’s celebrated links with Nobel-winning poet WB Yeats. It also has a great mix of primary and second-level schools with little of the enrollment pressure that counties such as Dublin experience.