Hotspots: Stepaside, a rural escape on the edge of Dublin
At the foot of the mountains but with good links to the city centre, the village of Stepaside combines rural charm with artisan shops and gourmet restaurants
Stepaside village. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Denise Cribben at the Paddocks Riding Centre in Stepaside. Photograph: Dave Meehan
In the past five years, Stepaside has been completely regenerated, says Gary Marshall, a negotiator with selling agent Vincent Finnegan and a local resident. “The surrounding developments – Aikens Village and Belarmine – have seen the local population numbers spike. As a result the village has had a make-over and is blooming.”
While at the foot of the mountains it is quite sheltered, Marshall says. “But when it snows the snowfall in Stepaside is heavier.”
What residents say
Michael Fleming is a second-generation butcher who opened Fleming’s Butchers, in 2009 to diversify his wholesale meat business. Inside its navy blue awning, the award-winning shop is packed with customers.
Fleming has seen a transformation in the village in the four years since he opened his doors. There is a real buzz to the village on a Saturday afternoon, says the father of two young daughters. “The village is very friendly, very safe and very quiet. Everybody says hello and knows everybody else, especially since the community came together to voice their protest at the recent shuttering of the Garda station.”
When Denise Cribbin, who runs the Paddocks Riding Centre, was growing up in Stepaside it felt very rural. Eight green fields separated her family’s stables and the village. Now there are none, she says, adding that the population growth is bringing people into the area.
Stepaside’s greatest natural amenity is the Dublin Mountains where you can go hiking or cycling, or horse-riding into the forest through plantations of Sitka spruce, Japanese larch, Scots pine, Monterey pine and Lodgepole pine. Stepaside is rural yet on the edge of Dublin, says Cribbin. “It overlooks the city. At night the lights of the city offers one of the Dublin’s best-kept secrets.”
Stepaside public golf course is a proper nine-hole golf course and Stepaside Golf Centre incorporates a 30-bay floodlit driving range and an 18-hole par-three pay-and-play golf course. The Burrow is a par-three 18-hole pitch-and-putt golf course on the Enniskerry Road.
Mountain bikes are available for hire in the car park of Three Rock, and Marley Park is a six-minute drive away.St Enda’s GAA in Ballyboden are the current Dublin Senior Football and Hurling Champions. Wayside FC, De La Salle Palmerston FC and Old Wesley rugby clubs are all situated in nearby Kilternan.
Dunnes Stores on the Ballyogan Road is the nearest supermarket and The Park in Carrickmines the nearest retail park. Aside from Fleming’s butcher-cum-artisan shop, at Get Fresh you can get all your fruit and vegetables. There is no Garda station.
Where can you go out?
Steak on the stone, supplied by Fleming’s, is served at the Step Inn, both in the lounge and in the Stone Grill. The Wild Boar pub offers casual dining and craft beers. The Box Tree has been awarded Michelin Bib Gourmand status in 2012 and 2013. The Blue Orchid serves authentic Thai food. The famous Blue Light pub is less than half a kilometre outside the village and Johnny Fox’s is a 10-minute drive away.
The Ballyogan Wood Luas stop is a five-minute drive from Stepaside village. The number 47 bus connects Fleet Street with Belarmine via Stepaside Village and runs roughly hourly. The number 44 runs from Enniskerry, in Co Wicklow, and travels via Stepaside village and the city centre before terminating at Collins Avenue in Larkhill, Dublin 9. Dundrum Town Centre is a 10-minute drive away and the M50 is adjacent to the village.
“There were issues previously with the lack of schools in the area,” says Caitriona Dalton, manager of Sherry FitzGerald in Dundrum. Gaelscoil Shliabh Rua will open in September at a green site in Aikens Village. Thaobh na Coille gaelscoil opened in Belarmine in 1995. The Stepaside Educate Together national school opened in September 2012 at Palmerston Rugby Club and is moving to a new location, near Aikens Village, in September. Other nearby schools include St Mary’s National School, Lamb’s Cross; St Patrick’s in Glencullen; and Our Lady of the Wayside in Kilternan.
Rosemount, a fee-paying Opus Dei secondary school for girls, opened last September. The Irish Times 2012 School League Tables reported that 61 per cent of students at St Raphaela’s, a non fee-paying girls’ school in Stillorgan, went on to third level. Rockbrook Park School, in Rathfarnham, a fee-paying school for boys, had 100 per cent of their pupils attend third- level education, according to the league tables. The same report showed that 95 per cent of the students attending St Benildus College on Kilmacud Road Upper, a boys’ school, went on to third level. The league tables saw 89 per cent of the students of the co-educational Wesley College, in Ballinteer, attend third level.
Where to buy?
Stepaside Park and Cairnfort are family-friendly estates. Belarmine and Aikens Village suits a younger buyer, with lots of apartments and duplexes to choose from. The area also has one-off houses set on as much as half an acre of land.
Joe Elliott of rock band Def Leppard describes his house in Stepaside as having “spectacular views”.
THREE TO BUY IN STEPASIDE
45 The Ash, Parkview, Belarmine
A two-bed apartment on the second floor with southwest-facing balcony. Master bedroom is en suite. Comes with underground parking space.
161 Stepaside Park
Vincent Finnegan, €630,000
Five-bed detached house measuring 194sq m (2,088sq ft),with an additional 42sq m (452sq ft) attic space. The estate has big green areas and speed bumps.
Lynham Estates, €375,000
Four-bed terraced townhouse measuring 126sq m (1,360sq ft), with west-facing rear. The front of the house faces on to a green.