(IRISH INDEPENDENT, May 1st, 2015)
“It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else
– From ‘Halfway Down’ by AA Milne
To the uninitiated, Knocklyon signifies two things: suburbia and Superquinn … sorry SuperValu. This urban village in south west Dublin is one of those places that is often defined more by where it’s not than where it is: it isn’t really Ballyboden, or Firhouse, or Tallaght or Rathfarnham, or Dundrum, it’s somewhere else instead ….
Of course the Inbetweeners of Knocklyon don’t see it like this at all. They’re not in between anything; Knocklyon is very much its own place, and it’s their place.
For them, the SuperValu shopping centre on Knocklyon Road, the nearby St Colmcille’s Catholic Church and primary and secondary schools of the same name, and the youth and community centre are the centre of the known universe; a safe, solid and settled universe mom and dad moved to in the 1970s when a sleepy rural village (nine houses and 46 people living there in 1901, according to the census for that year) was transformed utterly as umpteen brave new estates were cut from fields and foothills beneath the Dublin mountains.
They built it and the rest followed bit by bit, shopping centre, schools, infrastructure generally. And now the children of the first settlers and their young families live there themselves, if they can afford it, or trade up into it as soon as they can.
Knocklyon is both young and old. Old in that as the local Irish Countrywomen’s Association guild’s fascinating history of the area, Knocklyon Past And Present, notes, Richard de Clare, or Strongbow, known for his leading role in the Norman Invasion of Ireland. granted Walter de Ridelford the lands of Knocklyon and adjoining lands in the 12th century. It is also overlooked by the ruins of the infamous Hells Fire Club, where a bunch of degenerate 18th century toffs drank and debauched and followed the strange Satanic rituals popular in such circles at the time and inspired bedtime tales to terrify the locals for years thereafter.
Knocklyon is an Anglicised version of any of the following: Cnoclaighen – Hill of Leinster, Cnocluin – O’Liun’s Hill or OTlynn’s Hill, or Cnocliomhna – Hill of the Pool, believed to be a hill and pool behind Knocklyon Castle, originally built in the 15th century, and still there on Castlefield Avenue, off the Ballycullen Road.
But the Knocklyon we know today is young in that the parish was only established in October of 1974. It occupies a narrow valley south of Templeogue and south east of Tallaght, between the Dodder and Owendoher rivers. The valley is comprised of the townlands of Ballycullen, Knocklyon, Scholarstown and Woodstown.
St Colmcille’s National School first opened its doors in 1976, and such has been the rise in population since, the recently rebuilt complex now houses reportedly the largest primary school in the country., with over 1,500 pupils in a complex housing 58 mainstream classrooms, 20 resource teaching rooms, four halls and four libraries,
During the 1970s and 80s more estates sprang up – including Templeroan, Orlagh, Woodstock, Castlefield and Westboume Lodge. The year 1980 brought Superquinn to Knocklyon – their very supermarket at last! Then, in 1989, there was the opening of the Youth and Community Centre. The centre has proved to be a great asset to all the people of Knocklyon, young and old. As well as the usual sports clubs it caters for such groups as K.A.I.E.S. (Adult Education), speech and drama Classes, The Lyon’s Den, providing after school childcare, the Active Retirement Group, and many more social activities.
The first Dublin Bus double decker route from Scholarstown Road to the City centre arrived in 1990, the Post Office a year later and 1993 heralded the opening of Knocklyon’s own Credit Union.
The pastoral centre, known as the Iona Centre and which is also a main hub of activity in the parish opened in in 2000. The same year St Colmcille’s Community School opened and it now has over 700 secondary students. A measure of both the success of the primary and secondary schools in Knocklyon and how much the area has grown, is the waiting list for both. Indeed waiting lists are a feature of clubs and activities in the village in general, with the popular 112th Scout troop and successful Ballyboden St. Enda’s GAA club both attracting the masses.
The construction of the M50 motorway through the heart of Knocklyon in the late 1980s changed the landscape forever. It divides Knocklyon, with most of the suburb lying on the east of the motorway. Housing estates to the east include Idrone, Beverly, Dargle Wood, Delaford, Knockaire, Orlagh, Templeroan, and Woodfield. To the west of the M50 are estates such as Castlefield Manor, Glenlyon, Glenvara Park, and Woodstown. These are linked to the rest of Knocklyon by a footbridge and by Junction 12 of the motorway.
Local residents had feared the worst when the motorway was being built, in terms of how it might divide the area both literally and metaphorically but, if anything, the community spirit and vigour that define Knocklyon for many local people, west or east of the motorway, have if anything, strengthened and they have retained more than just the same Dublin 16 postal code.
Living in this solid middle-class area, bordered by Ballycullen Road to the west and Ballyroan Road, Ballyroan to the east, also means solid middle-class house prices. The average three-bed semi ranges from €350,000 to €380,000; a four bed semi will go for over €400,000, while detached houses around Beverley, Idrone and Lansdowne can go for €900,000, or more.
The Central Bank’s limits on mortgage lending have had an affect on the Irish property market in general, and estate agents operating in Knocklyon report a dramatic shortening of the queues attending viewings for new houses. According to Damien Dillon, of property consultants Dillon Marshall, “This time last year you would have 30-40 for a viewing, now you’d have maybe three or four. The bottom has dropped out of the first time buyer’s market; talking to guys in the bank, they confirm it’s at a standstill”.
The thing is, though, those three or four people rend to be committed and Sinead Beggan, of McGuirk Beggan, sees it as rather an indication of a more measured market, which she says is no bad thing.”Prices have pulled back from last year,” she confirms, “people tend to be quite specific in what they are after. For example, you have people who bought in Ballycullen in 2007/08 and now want to trade up to Knocklyon, where their parents and families live.”
Because of the level of activity in the housing market locally last year, Beggan reports housing stock levels have increased, with the last phase of the Dalriada development coming on the market shortly.
With the Dublin mountains nearby and many woods, parks and forest walks to chose from, the area is wonderful for children and adults alike and all who love the great outdoors. On your doorstep are are the extensive and well-used Marlay Park in Rathfarnham, and nearby St Enda’s Park, which also contains the Patrick Pearse Museum, on the site of his famous school of the same name.
There is also Bushy Park in Terenure, or Tymon Park, which again is not far by car. The sporting life is well catered for locally, too, with Ballyboden St Enda’s GAA _ over 1,000 children attended the club’s six-week Summer Camp programme last year – and the busy Knocklyon United soccer club, which has 35 schoolboy teams and two Leinster Senior League teams, catering for large numbers, young and old.
The 112th Dublin (Knocklyon) Scout Unit is the second largest scout group in the country, with just under 300 youth members and 70 adult members. And a waiting list!
The best known pubs are Delaneys, or the Knocklyon Inn, on the Knocklyon Road, and Morton’s, on the Ballycullen Road, on the border of Firhouse and Knocklyon. There are no restaurants of note locally.
Served by Dublin Bus 15, 15F, 15E, 49, 49A, 74, 75 and drivers, of course enter and leave from unction 12 of the M50
As well as the aforementioned Knocklyon Shopping centre, there are any amount of shopping centres minutes away, with two in Rathfarnham alone. Dundrum Shopping centre is close enough as is The Square in Tallaght.
As indicated, prices for a three-bed semi start at around €350,000, and such a house, 211 Glenvara Park is looking for €360,000. But the demand is there and 5 Templeroan Drive (REA Ed Dempsey), also a three-bed semi, is asking for €440,000. Number 78 Glenvara Park (McGuirk Beggan), a four-bed semi, is starting at €450,000. Number 15 Dalriada Avenue (McGuirk Beggan), a four-bed townhouse, is quoting €365,000
- The Dublin Mountains nearby and lots of parks and outdoor amenities
- Sporting facilities
- Strong community spirit
- Like all suburban areas, too much traffic and parking not always easy at peak periods
- Waiting lists for schools and social clubs
— Enda Sheppard