(IRISH INDEPENDENT, April 17th, 2015)
Ever met the person who grew tired of living in Malahide, with its long coastal walks, imposing 12th century castle and leafy grounds, fine marina, excellent pubs and restaurants, kitschy hanging basket shopfronts and trendy boutiques for the well-heeled? Neither have we.
Yes, you’ll get the usual – anonymous – begrudgers on websites going on about over-priced houses and the influence of affluence in the north Dublin seaside town with the village feel, but really, if you can afford it, there’s no denying it’s a great place to live.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to a mansion along the the coast, on the old Malahide golf course, or in Abington, estate of the stars and, yes, one of former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm’s pied-a-terres, but move out from the town diamond to the likes of the Seabury development, 15 minutes walk from the centre of the town, and the money gets a bit less silly.
Here the mythical three or bed semi will set you back over €400,000. For less than that, it’s apartments, of which there are many.
Only half an hour from Dublin city, and 15 minutes (traffic permitting!) from Dublin Airport, Malahide is a bustling, seaside gem. It’s nautical but nice, with 350 fully serviced berths in the marina, offering everything the weekend mariner could want, from cradle hire, hull wash, to diesel and petrol supplies.
Malahide has 2km long stretch of beach, which following an attractive coastal walk leads into the neighbouring Portmarnock beach. On the way you will take in Lambay Island, Howth and Ireland’s Eye (depending on how far you walk, that is). Walking from the village along the beach you’ll come to the wide velvet strand along the mouth of the estuary, from here the beach leads to Low Rock, a popular swimming section of the beach.
From Malahide Beach you can also take the coastal walk on the footpath all the way to Portmarnock (but beware, it is 5km away, so it’s a great walk but no stroll).
Just outside the town is the imposing Malahide Castle, set on 260 acres of parkland with numerous walks, play areas, picnic sites, cricket and soccer pitches, a nine-hole golf course, and 18-hole pitch and putt course and a 22-acre garden, with 5000 species and varieties of plants, a Victorian Greenhouse and wonderful old rose garden. The whole estate was granted by Henry 11 (as a reward for his “war like services” in the conquest of Ireland) to one Richard Talbot, and remained in that family for almost 800 years (1185 to 1975, when it was bequeathed to the State).
Commuting to work in town is made easy for Malahide residents by the regular train and bus services.
The name Malahide (Mullach h-Ide) probably derives from the time of the arrival of the Normans, meaning the sandhills of the Hydes, a Norman family from the Donabate area. l
From the 12th. century onwards, Malahide developed around the castle and at the turn of the 19th. century a small village had developed; coal, slate, and timber were imported; Yellow Walls cotton mill and Killeen Terrace ribbon factory were in operation; the local Talbot Bank issued 25,000 bank notes and Malahide was justly proud of its coal yard, sawyers factory, steam bakery and saltworks. Fishing and harvesting of salt and oysters contributed to the local economy.
Facilitated by the construction of the Dublin to Drogheda railway line in 1844, Malahide became popular with tourists but the greatest change of all came in the 1960s when Malahide became attractive to speculative builders and Malahide’s first housing estate, Ard-Na-Mara, came into being in 1964.
Since then, even though the population has mushroomed in a major way, Malahide village has still managed to retain an old-world feel, even with a heavy flow of traffic, which the town was never designed to take comfortably.
If you want to know more about Malhide and all it has to offer there are a few excellent websites: enjoymalahide.com and malahide.ie, for example. If you look past the usual guff about the heritage village and sandy beaches, charming cobbled streets and so forth, there is lots of practical info to hand.
The Malahide Community Forum is the umbrella group for over 20 residents associations, and their website offers up to date notes on all local issues and the Malahide Guardian newsletter, usually published three times a year, is just a click away.
The local Chamber of Commerce has also compiled a useful list of local businesses and enterprises, under clearly defined categories.
Malahide.ie is a joint project of the Malahide Chamber of Commerce, Malahide Forum, Malahide Historical Society, Malahide Tidy Town Group and Fingal County Council and it even has a list of local services and numbers, including for Fingal Council, the local Garda station, Beaumont hospital, Citizens advice, Credit Union, recycling centre. All those numbers and websites you mean to put together but never do, are all here.
There’s a lot of restaurants and eateries to chose from, ranging from Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Asian Fusion to French, Italian and Greek; Thai, Asian Fusion Italian; Chinese, Japanese. The Avoca outlet and restaurant in the grounds of Malahide castle has also been packing them in and rumour has it, Donnybrook Fair will be opening a branch in the town soon.
Naturally, maritime pursuits feature strongly in Malahide and are well catered for, but there are also the usual soccer, rugby, GAA, tennis and golf clubs dotted around. There are also an active tidy towns, historical society, and camera club, among others.
Good news for local residents is the Fry Model Railway, all 2,500 sq ft. of it, and put into mothballs after it was taken out of its home in the Malahide Castle demesne in 2010, when the castle was being redeveloped, is to be reopened in the town’s historic Casino building later this year.
This working miniature rail display, built in the 1920s-1930s, was developed and modernised to become the largest model railway collection in Europe. The railway includes models of stations, landmarks, locations and Irish landscapes from throughout the 20th century.
This laudable rescue job is the result of a long campaign fought by concerned locals, including local council and government representatives
Malahide hosts two annual festivals, the “Malahide Has It” Summer festival takes place every July and in December Santa visits the village for the annual Christmas festival.
The Toot’s Malahide Road Train for kiddies (of all ages) is a great hit during the tourist season; the service commences from Malahide Dart station and terminates at the Castle grounds.
There are many pubs to sink a pint or G and T locally, popular venues being Gibneys, on New Street, with its seven separate bars; Gilbert and Wrights on the same street; and Duffys on Main Street.
Commuting is made easy by the regular train and Dublin Bus services, while the morning and evening 142 serves University College Dublin in Belfield.
All the usual supermarkets and food outlets and the many now trademark fashion boutiques, hair and beauty salons.
St Sylvester’s Infant school, Yellow Walls Road; Pope John Paul 11 National School on Sea Road; St Oliver Plunkett NS, Grove Road; St Andrew’s National School on Church Road; for secondary school age children there is Malahide Community School in Broomfield, and there is the Irish College of English on Church Road
Starting at €400,000 plus, according to John Brophy of Brophy Estates, right in the village. After that it’s onwards and upwards, average apartment going for €300,000. Top end properties on, for example, the development on the old Malahide Golf Club, such as a 4 five bed detached properties will go for up to €1,500,000 and more.
You will pay over €560,000 for a four-bed place in Seapark, near the landmark Grand Hotel. New to the market is 34 Seabury Park, a 112 sq metres three-bed semi on offer for €460,000; Guy Doherty of Noel Kelly Auctioneers.
The apartments and duplexes on the Malahide Marina are popular, and would set you back €300,000 or so for a two-bedroom. Sherry Fitzgerald is handling the 74-home Coill Dubh development of three, four and five bedroom houses at Broomfield.
Some 40 were reserved even before the official launch and viewings for the remainder are on Saturday and Sunday. They’re not cheap, mind, with the three-bed starting at €450,000.
- Proximity to Dublin and Dublin Airport; easily accessed via M50
- Malahide Marina
- Malahide Castle
- Good pubs, eateries, and shopping
- Well kept, and always featuring in Tidy Towns
- Excellent sports and water sports facilities
- Traffic congestion – bad for local business
- Boutiques and eateries can attract the airs and graces set
- Parking can be a problem on busy days