West is Best: Our ultimate Family Guide to Moving West: childcare, rent, jobs, getting around, what to do first
Making a move on your own or with all the family in tow is daunting – but there will be plenty of excitement and adventure to follow. In our guide to moving to the West of Ireland, here’s a few things to bear in mind for a smooth transition.
- Great childcare – and it’s cheaper too
You’ll find hundreds of great creches with excellent facilities to choose from in the West and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the more affordable costs. Leitrim at a cost of €148 a week for fulltime childcare is the cheapest in the country and Donegal which has the most expensive childcare in the West is just €167 per week compared to the national average of €184 – or even €246 in parts of Dublin. You’ll find a detailed list of pre-schools available by county on tusla.ie.
- Rent without the extortionate costs
The average cost of renting in the West in 2019 was €757, with Leitrim the cheapest in the country at €607. When you compare this to the national average of €1,402, or Dublin at over €2,000 you’ll soon be saving a nice little fortune. Rentals in the West also tend to come with a lot more space and value for money, so you can choose a house that suits you and your growing family. A recent search on Daft.ie shows that Leitrim currently has a number of three bedroom houses for rent at just €550 a month!
- Looking for work
The West is home to hundreds of successful global and indigenous companies, all of which offer competitive salaries and benefits. Westernjobs.ie will link you with lots of open roles in the region.
- Buying a house – without breaking the bank
With so much on offer across the West, choosing your location will be a tough decision, but factoring in distance from work, schools, childcare facilities and major roads should help you narrow down your list. Co Leitrim offers the best value with average house prices of €175,296. But if you’ve seen Cheap Irish Homes on RTE, you’ll know there are even better bargains out there, if you’re willing to do some work.
- Getting around
We may be biased, but we think that all parts of the West make desirable places to settle down, but depending on your preferences some locations may be better than others. If you’re a frequent flyer you might want to set up in Ennis, which is just 22k from Shannon airport, or Swinford in Co Mayo which is just 11k from Ireland West Airport. But no matter what part of the West you end up in, you’ll find yourself within a short drive -some parts of Roscommon are less than 90 minutes to Dublin airport. With frequent trains and buses, as well as local airports throughout the West, you’ll be able to get to where you need to go.
- A great education
With an average pupil-teacher ratio of just 17:1 in primary schools in the West, students can get more one on one attention with teachers. A larger percentage of young people from the West attend third level education than anywhere else in the country. Sligo (72%) and Galway (68%) have the highest admission rates to third-level in the entire country, compared to the national average of 56%. (Source: Lookwest) IT Sligo is also on course to become a Technological University with GMIT and LYIT.
- Make a bucket list
In the weeks before you move, keep yourselves or your family excited by making a bucket list of all the things you want to do first in your new town or village. The West has lots to offer from exploring the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, visiting Galway’s Aran Islands or surfing along the Atlantic Ocean coastline. On dry land, there’s also lots of forest trails such as Lough Key in Co Roscommon or Union Wood in Co Sligo and cycle greenways including one in Westport, Co Mayo. There’s something for all the family.