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A List of Most Affordable Cities in Ireland for International Students

Updated on 21 November, 2023

Neha Uppal

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Wondering about the most affordable cities in Ireland for international students? Ireland is one of the most popular global educational destinations, drawing numerous students annually. The country is highly regarded for its robust infrastructure, the conviviality of the locals, cultural heritage,  historical cities, and reputed educational institutions. Universities in Ireland are among the top 1% of research institutions in global research impact. Education in Ireland is quite affordable for international students. With over 2000 study programs, the country has a lot to offer students from other nations. In this article, we will cover the most affordable cities in Ireland to help students seeking education.


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Top 5 most affordable cities in Ireland for international students


Waterford lies in southeastern Ireland and is also the oldest city in the country. Students will appreciate the beautiful landscapes throughout the city, including stunning marinas and awe-inspiring beaches. The population is also low since the city is smaller than many other counterparts. Waterford offers a relaxed lifestyle with great views and decent recreational and nightlife options. Residents also pay considerably lower housing rentals here. 

Popular Universities: 

SETU Waterford (earlier the Waterford Institute of Technology)

Cost of Living: 

Approximately €1,050-1,600 per month. 

Accommodation- Approximately €817 per month. 

Food- €165 per month. 

Transportation- €2.50 for a one-way ticket with monthly passes costing €66.  

2. Limerick- 

Limerick lies within the Munster province, dating back to 922 AD, and was founded by Vikings, as per historical reports. It offers higher living standards at comparatively lower costs. It is the only Irish city except for Dublin, where citizens’ disposable incomes surpass the national average figures. This is mainly due to its housing affordability and accessibility, along with its educational institutions, transportation, and leisure options. Limerick offers a strategic location in the country with great connectivity options. 

Popular Universities: 

Cost of Living: 

€1,100-1,750 per month. 

Accommodation- €1008 per month (average). 

Food- €150-200 per month. 

Transportation- €72.02 for a monthly pass, with single-fare tickets at €2.02 per person. 

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3. Galway- 

Galway is a highly affordable and charming city for international students facing the western coast. It is also one of the friendliest cities across the globe. The location of this city is the strategic point where the Atlantic Ocean flows into the River Corrib. The harbor city is famous for its global cuisine, including Michelin-starred eateries and the iconic Galway Farmer’s Market. It also has a flourishing cultural circuit, several annual festivals, and the picturesque Latin Quarter. This contains several restaurants, pubs, shops, and galleries. 

Popular Universities: 

  • NUI Galway
  • Galway Business School 
  • University of Galway

Cost of Living: 

Approximately €1,200-1,850 per month. 

Accommodation- €1,179 (average) per month. 

Food- €150-200 per month. 

Transportation- €2.50 for a single ticket and monthly passes cost around €60. 

4. Cork                                                                                                                      

Cork is a leading Irish city that offers lifestyles akin to significant cities but at an affordable price point. It is the second highest-populated city in Ireland, with a large population of international students. The entire ambiance is cosmopolitan and diverse. Cork is also called Rebel County and lies in the Munster province, offering friendly locals and great nightlife destinations. It also has a booming live music circuit and affordable meal options for residents. 

Popular Universities: 

Cost of Living: 

Approximately €1,250-1,900 per month. 

Accommodation: €1,000-1,400. 

Food: €150-200 per month. 

Transportation: €1.90-2.20 (single-fare) for one person and €34-68 for monthly passes. 

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5. Maynooth 

Maynooth offers green and pristine forests along with top-class restaurants. It is also known for its nightclubs that remain open round the clock. Maynooth City is just minutes away from the city center of Dublin, and students have access to numerous transportation options. The Royal Canal Walk to Leixlip from the city is worth experiencing by all means. The chocolate cafes in the city are also un-missable experiences for visitors. 

Popular Universities: 

Maynooth University 

Cost of Living: 

Approximately €1,000-2000 per month. 

Accommodation: €1,578 per month. 

Food: €150-200 per month. 

Transportation: €2-2.65 per person (single-fare). 
These are, thus, the five most affordable Irish cities for international students. They offer comparatively affordable lifestyles with great amenities and high living standards. 

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Which is the cheapest university in Ireland for international students?

There are several affordable universities for international students in Ireland, including the Maynooth University, National College of Ireland, University College Cork, and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Other options include the Dundalk Institute of Technology, the University of Limerick, and the Cork Institute of Technology.

Is Ireland affordable for international students?

Ireland is affordable for international students compared to several other global educational hubs. The accommodation and tuition costs are relatively lower and affordable for students.

Is Ireland a good option for international students?

Ireland is an excellent choice for international students, with its reputed universities and academic standards, its reasonable cost of living, and good employment/job prospects.

How much does it cost to study in Ireland for international students?

International students should budget for €10-25,000 per year. Education, humanities, and other arts programs are comparatively affordable, while engineering, business, and medicine are costlier.

Is it cheaper to study in Ireland or the UK?

Ireland is a cheaper option than the United Kingdom (UK) in terms of tuition fees and living costs. This makes it a preferred choice for several international students.

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.

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