Waterford has been crowned as the best place to live in Ireland
They loves their county.
In news that will be sure to please county legend John Mullane amongst others, Waterford city has been crowned as the best place to live in Ireland by the Irish Times.
The paper's Best Place to Live in Ireland competition began in June when members of the public were invited to nominate their favourite place to live for the award.
Over the course of the summer, more than 2,400 members of the public nominated 470 locations in every county in Ireland for the title.
Last week, the final shortlist of five was published. However, Waterford City was the unanimous choice of the judging panel - beating off stiff competition from Clonakilty in Cork, Galway city, Glaslough in Monaghan and Killarney in Kerry.
Each one of the nominated places, whether a city, town, village or suburb, was assessed on a range of criteria.
These included affordability, natural amenities, buildings, housing, community initiatives and spirit, presence of clubs, societies and activities, good local services, diversity, a welcome for outsiders, transport links, employment opportunities, digital links for distance working and safety and security.
While the number of nominations was a factor in the selection of the top locations, with Waterford receiving 47, the quality of the place itself was the chief consideration.
According to the Irish Times, what impressed the judges about Waterford was its beautiful buildings, its liveability, its pedestrian-friendly public space, its weather and its easy access to the Comeragh Mountains and the Copper Coast.
The panel of judges included RTÉ’s Nationwide TV presenter Zainab Boladale, Irish Times journalist Rosita Boland, GP and public-health commentator Dr Illona Duffy, Mayo county architect Simon Wall and Irish Times journalist Conor Goodman, who chaired the group.
In terms of what the individual judges said, Wall described the city’s Viking Triangle as a wonderful friendly public realm with walkable, liveable and happy communities.
Boland said the city centre’s wonderful period buildings were complemented by thoughtfully designed new museums that have brought a new civic energy.
Boladale highlighted its vibrant youthful scene, while Duffy cited the city’s response to the pandemic as another plus as for most of 2020, Waterford had the lowest infection rate on a county-by-county basis.
With Ireland in the midst of a housing crisis, the Irish Times also said affordable accommodation was a key consideration.
Waterford has an average house price of around €200,000 and a stock of competitively priced homes for sale, meaning housing there is relatively accessible to people on a variety of incomes.
“Its high unemployment is a negative, but this is somewhat offset by other factors – notably its growing tech and pharma sectors, its remote working facilities, and its access to other jobs markets such as Dublin and Cork – and was ultimately outweighed by the city’s numerous positive attributes," the paper said.
This is the second Irish Times Best Place to Live in Ireland contest after the first in 2012 which saw Westport in Mayo take home the title.