Priced out of Dalkey? Try Dún Laoghaire

Look beyond the posh parts and there is a good range of more affordable properties

George’s Street is Dún Laoghaire’s  main street and business centre. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

George’s Street is Dún Laoghaire’s main street and business centre. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Between the posh coastal neighbourhoods of Monkstown and Dalkey/Killiney lies Dún Laoghaire – a sizeable town in its own right with good transport links, a lively seafront and a range of properties to suit trader-uppers, downsizers and even first-time buyers – notably those with cash to put down.

Dún Laoghaire first became popular in the 1840s as a holiday village for well-to-do Dubliners, who owned homes in the capital’s centre and then purchased second residences in Dún Laoghaire. The village was connected to Dublin city by the country’s first train line, built in 1834, which ran from Pearse Street to Dún Laoghaire’s harbour. From the rail connection to the city, the town grew rapidly with the construction of the beautiful period homes that still form large sections.

In the intervening years Dún Laoghaire has ebbed and flowed both in terms of construction and popularity. By the 1990s, the town was booming as a residential area, but also as a commercial centre, with its shopping centre a focus of south Dublin’s spending masses. Marks & Spencer had a store on the main street, George’s Street, and the Bloomfield shopping centre was fully occupied and doing brisk business. The opening of Dundrum Town Centre drew customers away, while pedestrianisation of the densest section of George’s Street and expensive parking charges in the immediate area contributed to a downturn in business, at the same time as millions were being poured into seafront development.

During the recession, Dún Laoghaire became a town of two parts, with a dramatically improved seafront boasting a renovated park, public plazas, the lavishly refurbished Royal Marine Hotel and the landmark dlr LexIcon library development. Meanwhile, the main street suffered, as businesses closed and shops were shuttered.

Things are changing again on the main street. New shops are opening, apartments are being built and with it a new vigour has returned that is retaining visitors, rather than seeing them take their business elsewhere.

What’s the setup in the town?

Dún Laoghaire has two main hubs: the promenade with its seafront walk that leads from the harbour right down to Sandycove at its southern end. On a Sunday this little jaunt is thronged with locals and visitors, who get an ice-cream in Teddy’s onboard and take in of one of Dublin’s most picturesque scenes, which can include seeing seals basking on the rocks in Scotsman’s Bay.

The other main thoroughfare, running parallel to the seafront, is George’s Street. It’s the main street and business centre.

What’s transport like?

Located 11km from Dublin, Dún Laoghaire’s transport links are good with Dart and mainline rail service from the seafront, while those at either end of the town can catch the Dart either at Sandycove or Salthill/Monkstown.The 46A bus route connects with Stillorgan and Belfield on its way to the city centre. There’s also an Aircoach stop at the Marine hotel. Drivers can reach the M50 in about 10 minutes at Loughlinstown/Cherrywood.

The town hall and the Forty Foot bar in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The town hall and the Forty Foot bar in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

What’s the food and drink scene like?

Plenty of cafes with the likes of Poppies and Harry’s Bar serving traditional fare while new additions such as Curious Monkey offer top-notch coffee. Starbucks and Costa dominate Marine Road, which runs from the sea up to the main street. Hartley’s beside the railway station is the place to go for a decent meal and very good cocktails; Weatherspoon’s Forty Foot bar on the seafront has the best views and cheap drinks; Oliveto is the best for pizzas, while Fallon & Byrne operates from the beautifully refurbished restaurant at the People’s Park. T

The Miami Cafe on George’s Street is a much-praised, no-nonsense chipper where you can eat in from a traditional menu of fish, burgers, chips and banana split.

What about green space?

There’s plenty. The coastal walk between the harbour and Sandycove is lined with a grassy stretch mostly occupied by dogs fetching balls but also featuring the odd Tai Chi class. The People’s Park has a great children’s area and a very popular farmer’s market on Sundays that occasionally spills over into a small plaza over the railway line where there are tables and benches for people to sit and have a Teddy’s ice-cream. Dún Laoghaire’s two piers that embrace its harbour are hugely popular for walkers all day long.

Boats moored in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Boats moored in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

As well as green space, there’s lots of blue space: the Irish Sea, with swimming spots at Seapoint, Sandycove and the Forty Foot regarded as three of the best in Co Dublin. “The town is also a sailing centre, with three yacht clubs, while Gaelic games is catered for nearby in Dalkey, through Cuala, one of the best GAA clubs in the country,” says John O’Sullivan, a director of Lisney which has been operating in Dún Laoghaire for decades. “You also find tennis, hockey, rugby and soccer all catered for nearby in an area of exceptional sporting opportunity. It really is an outdoor area.”

The redevelopment of the Dún Laoghaire baths has been approved and when finished it will have swimming pools, cafes, and a slipway for kayaks along a walkway that will connect with Dún Laoghaire pier.

Who is buying?

Name it: Families trading up. Downsizers moving to small seaside cottages and apartments. First-time buyers investing in the town’s smaller streets of artisan style cottages and two-up two-downs. Developers looking to turn those run-down Victorian houses into desirable family homes.

O’Sullivan sees more young househunters trying to get a foothold in the area. “Traditionally it [buyers] would be seen as an older demographic of the Dún Laoghaire borough, but now there is a lot of younger folk moving in. There are new buyers from all sectors of society, but there also remains a lot of notable figures living in the area, for a reason: we have great facilities and good transport links, so that does drive up values for properties.”

Many transactions are among those who already live in Dún Laoghaire, says Ed Dempsey, an auctioneer with his own agency in the town Ed Dempsey & Associates.

“There aren’t many new people moving into the area, it’s mostly people downsizing in the area that are buying. There’s not suddenly a new class of Brexiteers coming in, or anything like that. There are wealthy first-time buyers that are buying and getting assistance from their parents, with a big chunk of a deposit, to help them on their way. Most of these buyers are Irish.”

What new developments are coming to the market?

The new cultural centre, named the dlr LexIcon, has added an extra bump in terms of value to the market. There are also plans afoot to turn the old ferry terminal into a digital hub for a tech company; the benefits to the business potential of town are massive should this happen.

Housing-wise, there is plenty of movement. Five mock period homes at Royal Terrace North are coming to the market shortly; 19 apartments at Adelphi Manor on George’s Street have sold out; 22 apartments are for sale at Brook House, Corrig Avenue; 11 houses at St Paul’s Square on Adelaide Road are coming to the market; three houses are in development on Crosthwaite Park; four houses are in development on Glenageary Avenue; and Marine Walk has a new apartment development under way.

A four-bed, terraced home on Bentley Villas in Dún Laoghaire is available for €415,000. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
A four-bed, terraced home on Bentley Villas in Dún Laoghaire is available for €415,000. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

What’s for sale?

At the entry to the market, one-bed apartments start at just under €200,000. A two-bed terraced house on Northcote Terrace is priced at €279,000. A four-bed terraced home on Bentley Villas starts at €415,000. For a little bit less at €375,000, one can secure a three-bed terraced house at Rory O’Connor Park.

At the upper end of the market, seafront apartments are generally priced from €500,000 upwards. Large Victorian houses in the neighbourhood can be had from €1 million upwards, the price very much depending on condition. A fully refurbished three- or four-storey Victorian house can be priced up to €2.5 million.

What’s for rent?

One-bed, one-bath apartment at Mulgrave Terrace for €1,450 a month. Agent: Private ad.

Three-bed, semi-detached house at Grange Crescent, Kill O’ the Grange, for €2,100 a month. Agent: Mullen Kelly.

Three-bed apartment at Neptune Apartments, Honeypark, for €2,795 a month. Agent: Hooke and McDonald.

Two-bed, two-bath apartment at Harbour View, Crofton Road, for €795 a week on a short-let basis. Agent: Haines.

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