Search icon


31st Mar 2024

Dublin ranked one of the best cities in the world for air quality

Simon Kelly

Dublin air quality

Breath it in.

Dublin has been ranked as one of the best cities in the world for air quality.

The Irish capital comes in at number 9 in the world according to a new report by IQ Air, which ranks 120 major cities across the globe according to their air quality index.

Dublin ranked higher than other major European cities like London, Lisbon and Munich, with the least polluted city in the world being Salt Lake City in Utah, USA.

Kaboul in Afghanistan ranked second, while Auckland and Paris ranked third and fourth, respectively. Also in the top 10 were San Francisco, Vancouver and Montreal.

On the other end of the scale, the top three most polluted cities in the world were Hanoi in Vietnam, Chiang Mai in Thailand and Phnom Penh in Cambodia – all situated in South East Asia.

Dublin ranked one of the best cities in the world for air quality

Speaking to Newstalk, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at UCC John Sodeau said the report is “definitely good news” for Ireland. 

“Having a relatively good air quality, compared to many other capital cities does make it more approachable and liveable,” he said, adding that the city’s high ranking is mainly down to it’s small population size.

“It’s mainly because it’s small, of course,” he said. “About 1.5 million population, compared to 9 million in London and 25 million in Shanghai.” 


Looking at Ireland overall, the best air quality in the country last year was Tullamore in county Offaly.

The worst air quality in Ireland went to the town of Cahirgillmore, Co Limerick, which exceeded twice the level of clean air recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The main sources of pollutants in Ireland are emissions vehicles and emissions from factories and other related industrial areas, with many of them also utilizing fossil fuels such as coal to provide their needed energy, and diesel for their heavy machinery.

Read more:

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge