(IRISH INDEPENDENT, October 2nd, 2015)
If Clonskeagh was a car it would be a BMW saloon: expensive and well made but discrete with it. Powerful but smooth-running old money rather than high-rev, noisy nouveau bling.
This Beamer is driven by people comfortable in their own leather upholstery. They mightn’t feel the need to shout about their well-sprung wallets, but they’re not embarrassed by them either.
The people in this well-heeled south Dublin suburb straddling the Dodder river are like that too: at ease with their affluence, they are the products of large houses with sprawling gardens, good schools, and most likely support the Leinster rugby team. Whether or not they like sport.
Funnily enough, not all of Clonskeagh is Dublin 6. Much of it is actually D14, including Roebuck Road at the southern end. Clonskeagh north of the Dodder, the D6 part going up towards Milltown and Ranelagh, is often called “Vergemount”, but most locals there would class themselves as Clonskeagh residents.
It’s all about the base in Clonskeagh: so near the city, with easy access to the M50 and the N11; any amount of A-list schools nearby, including Alexandra College in Milltown, Sandford Park, Gonzaga in Ranelagh, Mount Anville, and their own St Kilian’s German School, and the Eurocampus secondary campus it shares with the Lycée Francais d’Irlande on Roebuck Road.
Then there’s the educational and marvellously extensive recreational facilities at University College Dublin in Belfield, and also David Lloyd Riverview, with its tennis courts, indoor and out, swimming pool and extended gym area, and Milltown Golf Club.
Some shopping to do? Well there is the local pharmacy, butcher’s and Spar on Bird Avenue, but if you really want to splash the cash the shopping, restaurant and pub meccas of Ranelagh, Donnybrook, Stillorgan or Dundrum are all only a short drive away in the Beamer.
Or maybe you would prefer a drink locally or a tasty nibble in Ashton’s Gastropub on Clonskeagh Road, or a G and T in O’Shea’s Clonskeagh House?
Clonskeagh is primarily residential, and is principally defined by the Clonskeagh Road and its extension into Roebuck Road, which spans its length.
The northern end of the Clonskeagh Road at the junction with Eglinton Road/Milltown Road separates it from Ranelagh to the north, and the UCD campus to the east, while Goatstown and Dundrum lie to the south.
To the west is Windy Arbour, but there is no clear point at which the border might be defined.
In the mid-1970s Clonskeagh, from the Irish Cluain Sceach, or “meadow of the whitethorn”, largely consisted of low-density housing with large tracts of private open land, largely owned by the Catholic Church. The closure of the Masonic Boys’ School led to commercial redevelopment north of Clonskeagh Road and former church land adjacent to Bird Avenue and Roebuck Road. This intensified from 2000 onwards, with land use intensified further by building in larger gardens, replacing houses by apartments and adding storeys to existing properties.
Clonskeagh is also home to several business parks, including the Richview Office park, the Beech Hill Office Campus, Belfield Office Campus and Clonskeagh House Office Park. Occupiers in the area include Smurfit Kappa, Ericsson and Omnicom Media group.
There is multiculturalism afoot here too, and besides the enormous mid-20th century redbrick Immaculate Virgin Mary of the Miraculous Medal Catholic church on Bird Avenue, there is the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) with its mosque and primary school on Roebuck Road.
The ICCI’s services and events are open to the public, while providing a gathering place for Islamic peoples in Dublin and Ireland.
One can also get a mix of middle eastern and Asian food in a canteen style setup in their Olive Tree restaurant which, again, is open to the public.
The Dodder is a wonderful amenity and a walk along its banks here gives a real sense of countryside in the middle of the city.
Anglers can pick up Brown Trout and Sea Trout between March and September from specific locations. it’s a river rich in whitewater and wildlife, but rises quickly and floods during heavy rain so best avoid it at these times. That’s why the name comes from the Irish word “Dothra”, which means turbulent.
Its powerful torrents once provided energy for industrial mills all along its course. Now, unfortunately, they sweep junk and plastic into the banks and into the trees and vegetation.
The Dodder Action group have overseen an annual clean up of the river for the last three year. The short term goal of the group is to remove litter from the river and its surroundings, medium term to improve basic facilities, such as increasing the amount of litter bins and benches along the route, and long term to exploit its potential as a recreational area.
The Milltown to Rathfarnham section is very accessible with a linear park all the way along this stretch with footbridges at various points. Parking is mostly off road.
Walkers can see cormorants, herons, mallard and mandarin ducks, moorhens and the odd electric blue flash off a Kingfisher, if they are especially lucky.
The red fox is common along the riverbank and the badger and otter have also been seen. In recent years a small feral population of mandarin ducks has become established.
Harry’s Bikes, on Clonskeagh Road, is a real gem, offering bikes of every type, right up to the €6,850 Pinarello Prince Ultegra Di2 Road Bike , a serious race machine.
Clonskeagh has a few good eating places of its own. Tucked away in the rather unusual setting of Belfield Office park in Clonskeagh, the Bermann and Wallace bistro is very popular during office hours from Monday to Friday. We recommend the grilled chicken tikka sandwich.
The Bombay Pantry restaurant and takeaway branch on Clonskeagh Road is also an excellent spot. Head chef Umed’s Chicken Karahi, for example, has big juicy chunks of breast meat in a fresh ginger and garlic marinade. The superfood and paleo meal options have also been very well received. Try their delicious seasonal pumpkin curry.
Dublin Buses 11, 11A and 11B, and Green Line Luas stop at Windy Arbour. For drivers, N11 and M50 close by.
According to Joe Beirne, of Beirne and Wise auctioneers, the market is always strong in such a well-serviced area, with its excellent schools and of course, university nearby.
Prices are still solid, he says, with the demand always there for demand good family homes. Prices are down 5% on this time last year, he reckons, but offers: “My gut feeling is prices will hold, and we will even see a modest rise over the next year.”
At the higher end, you can play two to three million euro for a home on the much sought-after St James Terrace, at the beginning of Clonskeagh Road . Other in demand areas would be sizeable homes like the Crampton-built redbrick homes on the Whitebeam or Whitethorn Road, or in Ardilea. These would go for over the million mark
Mmid-range here ranges from €400,000 to €800,000, in the likes of Gledswood Park, at the top of Bird Avenue,or a three-or four-bed terrace on Roebuck Road. Homes on Leinster Lawn, Nutgrove Park, near entrance to UCD, would come within this broad range.
Blackdoor Property Ltd has the three-bed semi 187 Roebuck Castle on the market for €455,000; Savills is asking for €460,000 for the three-bed semi 17 The Maples; Bernie and Wise have priced the six-bedroom detached 5 Princeton, Ardilea, at €1,495,000
- Excellent location
- Terrific schools and UCD close
- Dodder river and amenities
- Accumulation of rubbish in said Dodder
- ICCI has come in for unwarranted criticism and abuse in its time
- Lack of real identifiable village centre