AnalysisRegional focus: Galway City Council

Galway City: The beating heart of the west

Galway is the only city and the principal growth centre in the Northern and Western Regional Assembly. The city is a key driver of economic development and competitiveness on the Atlantic Economic Corridor, making a significant contribution to the region’s GDP.

The city is also a major economic force in the Irish economy, leading in foreign and indigenous commercial investment, higher educational institutional achievement, workforce skills, and enjoying a rich cultural and heritage environment.

In recent decades, due to the high quality of life found here, the city has also become one of the most popular locations in Ireland in which to live, work, invest, or visit. This is a city of communities that are well connected, integrated, and inclusive.

Galway has been Ireland’s most rapidly developing urban area for half a century. Galway City will grow its population by 40,000 by 2040. This journey has begun. It will be achieved through a combination of organic population growth, retention of graduates, and attraction of new citizens.

It will require significant investment in infrastructure across the entire spectrum. To make this growth sustainable and carbon neutral is a priority. It will need comparable employment growth during this period to make it viable. The skillset of the city’s labour force will also need to evolve over this period.

The city relishes this opportunity. It has successfully embraced such growth rates in the recent past while retaining the features that make this place in the world so attractive and unique. It is a centre of learning, a Capital of Culture, an innovation hub, and an affordable and safe community. This placemaking to date has been successfully facilitated by the various stakeholders in the city through collaborative relationships and this continued collaboration will be essential to ensure that our vision for growth is achieved.

The city is located at a pivotal point on the Atlantic Economic Corridor. This is a multilingual city with a diverse but integrated society that is open and welcoming. It has a successful innovation ecosystem that is recognised as a sought-after location for international businesses and start-up enterprises. This is supported by a creative culture that permeates all business sectors.

Galway is located in one of the most scenic parts of the world, at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way and contiguous to a UNESCO Geopark site. The city’s surrounding hinterland is diverse, engaging, entrancing, and healthy.

The next phases of Galway city’s growth must be more sustainable. The city will decarbonise its future growth. International trends and national policy are directing that the future growth of the city is biased towards the urban core. Galway city is already witnessing that direction of private and public investment towards the development of commercial and residential property at the city’s core to cater for the changing demands.

The city’s transport policy is also facilitating a behavioural change from private vehicles to public transport and non-vehicular transport. Investment is being channelled to projects to accelerate this modal shift. Public transport corridors through the core of the city are being developed to link residential, learning, and employment hubs in the city in tandem with the development of city greenways and blueways.

Galway city will increase its population by at least 50 per cent by 2040. This will involve:

  • creating 16,500 residential units;
  • creating an additional 18,500 jobs for citizens of the city;
  • providing an additional 7,000 third level student places;
  • creating the capacity to handle an additional 2.7 million visitors per annum;
  • providing commercial office space of 150,000 sq metres; and
  • Increasing commercial retail space.


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