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Rural distances at least three times greater for most services

Most of the everyday services covered by this publication were within 10km distance at State level (see Table 1.1). Primary schools had the shortest average distance to dwellings at 1.5km, while maternity hospitals were the furthest away at 22.1km. 

The average distance to most everyday services was at least three times longer for rural dwellings compared with urban dwellings. For a supermarket/convenience store, pharmacy and a GP, the average distance for rural residents was about seven times longer.

A supermarket/convenience store, bus stop, outdoor sports facility, pharmacy, primary school and GP location were all within an average distance of 1km for urban dwellings. The average distance in rural areas to a supermarket/convenience store, outdoor sports facility, primary school and a post office was under 5km.

The average distance in Ireland to the nearest HSE adult emergency department or hospital was more than 20km, and this rose to over 30km in rural areas.

Table 1.1 Average distance (km) of residential dwellings to everyday services, by State, urban and rural area

Supermarket/convenience store0.72.34.8
Outdoor sports facility0.81.73.1
Primary school0.91.52.4
Public bus stop0.92.75.6
Post office1.22.54.5
Secondary school1.43.87.6
Garda station1.83.25.3
Swimming pool2.76.312.1
Fire station2.95.59.5
Primary and secondary road network3.24.77.1
Garda station open 24/73.7814.9
Train station (including DART)7.515.728.5
HSE Adult Emergency Department hospital12.220.132.7
HSE Maternity hospital14.622.134.2

Average distances at county level

A breakdown of average distances by county shows that residents in Galway County, Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim and Roscommon had higher average distances to most everyday services when compared against other counties (Tables 1.2a and 1.2b).

The average distance to 24-hour Garda stations ranged between 1.5km in Dublin City to 19.3km in Donegal, and was more than 10km in ten counties.

The average distance to a GP was 3.1km, but was more than 5km in Cork County, Roscommon and Galway County.

People in Monaghan, Roscommon and Clare had an average travel distance of over 40km to an HSE maternity hospital or a HSE adult emergency department.

People living in Dublin City had a mean travel distance of less than 4km to all everyday facilities, and on average were living within 500 metres to their nearest public bus stop, pharmacy and supermarket/convenience store. 

Distances to services by county

  • Explore our map to discover the average distances to everyday services in each county.
  • Distances are provided for 31 local authority areas, for example 'Fingal', 'South Dublin', 'Galway City'.
  • Use the map zoom control to zoom in to the smaller areas such as Cork and Galway cities.
Table 1.2a Average distance (km) of residential dwellings to everyday services, by NUTS 3 Region, county and State

Table 1.2b Average distance (km) of residential dwellings to everyday services, by NUTS 3 Region, county and State

Population breakdown by distance to services

Table 1.3 provides a population breakdown by distance to the nearest everyday service. More than half of the population had a travel distance of less than 1km for a bus stop (56.5%), supermarket/convenience store (52.7%) and outdoor sports facility (52.1%).

Overall, three out of every four Irish persons were living less than 5km from one or more of the following: Garda station, pharmacy, GP, post office, grocery shop, bus stop, outdoor sports facility and a primary school, with the latter having the highest population catchment (98 per cent) within 5km range, (see Figure 1.3).

Table 1.3 Population by distance to selected everyday services

Table 1.3a Percentage of population by distance to everyday services

Within 1kmWithin 5km
Primary school46.707540007959197.8677891960398
Outdoor sports facility52.062605722757894.0127450064208
Public bus stop56.491437703504885.0199659167154
Supermarket/convenience store52.695782009779884.9126970210201
Post office32.037825515843184.6738620267479
Garda station18.009603380188278.8643525173435
Secondary school25.610196845143772.421897722846
Primary and secondary road network17.318487609371570.1303585884942
Swimming pool15.072455855006461.9947436561095
Fire station8.3599388054890359.6299559101318
Garda station open 24/710.023698697884155.0455126300305
Train station (including DART)7.295313915871247.4397111215879
HSE adult emergency hospital2.0344969880498527.7536217427416
HSE maternity hospital1.9335701453107119.1854661986428

HSE maternity hospitals were the least accessible service, with 2.2 million people, (45% of the population), living more than 20km away. This was followed by HSE adult emergency departments, with 1.8 million people, (38%), having a travel distance of at least 20km, (Figure 1.4).

Total Population
HSE maternity hospital2156978
HSE adult emergency hospital1829649/td>
Train station (including DART)920465
Garda station open 24/7347038
Swimming pool205050

Just 3,676 people, (0.1% of the population), lived within the short walking distance of 1km to all of the following amenities: bank, post office, supermarket/convenience store, 24-hour Garda station, public transport stop, primary and secondary school, library, swimming pool, outdoor sports facility, GP and HSE Emergency Department. However, there were 1.1 million people living within 5km proximity of all of these services.