What’s so good about Kilmainham?
Dublin 8 has seen seismic change in the last decade, changing from a traditional inner-city spot to a hyper-gentrified hipster enclave (with house price hikes to match). Amid it all, Kilmainham has remained unchanged in many ways, and has a particularly settled population and relaxed vibe. The neighbourhood has much to offer visitors, including IMMA, the gardens of the Royal Hospital and Kilmainham Gaol, as well as proximity to the Phoenix Park, Heuston Station, War Memorial Gardens, St James's Hospital and all that Thomas Street and the Liberties has to offer. The Old Chocolate Factory development throws up a few surprises, including the Dublin Food Co-op. Yet for its residents, there are several cosy pockets with a great sense of community spirit: among them Ceannt Fort, Kilmainham Lane and the western end of the South Circular Road.
What’s not so good?
Heuston South Quarter – long touted as a thriving hub on par with the IFSC during the Celtic Tiger years – suffered something of a failure to launch at the tail end of the recession. It has come on in recent years; despite a cluster of modern and stylish apartments (as well as a supermarket, pharmacy, two coffee shops and gym), there's a sense that more retail outlets and "buzz" would be welcome. Without a central street, Kilmainham is also crying out for a focal point where various community members convene.
Where and what to buy?
Brookfield Road is a quiet part of Old Kilmainham, and this two-bed end-of terrace is small but in perfect condition (€420,000, via Felicity Fox). Down the Inchicore end of Kilmainham, this two-bed terraced house at 25 Inchicore Road is packed with quirky features (€350,000, via Brock Delappe). The Bow Bridge Place complex, opposite Imma, is a quiet and cosy block, and this airy two-bed apartment benefits from direct access to the complex's own green space (€290,000, via Allen & Jacobs). Property prices for Kilmainham in 2018 were well below the city average, according to research.
Where and what to rent?
At the moment, houses rarely come on the market, although apartments are plentiful in the area (64 per cent of housing stock in Kilmainham is made up of apartments); expect to pay about €1,900-€2,200 for a two-bedroom apartment in the area, and €2,400-€2,600 for a three-bedroom apartment. One-bedroom properties are few and far between, but expect to pay €1,100-€1,400.
Where to eat and drink?
Kilmainhamites wax rhapsodical about their two locals: the Royal Oak (11 Kilmainham Lane) and the Patriot Inn (760 South Circular Road) are longstanding establishments with a loyal clientele to match (the latter is home to Colm O'Regan's popular Inn Jokes Comedy Club, as well as its own Italian restaurant, La Dolce Vita). Storyboard, although technically in Islandbridge, is hugely popular and specialises in brunches, coffee and sandwiches (expect a long wait at the weekends, mind). Union 8 (740 South Circular Road) is another welcome addition to the area and serves up great bistro fare, as is the Lime Tree Café (Inchicore Road). The Kemp Sisters Cafe is also located in the basement of Imma (Military Road).
Who lives there?
A wonderful mix of nationalities and professions. A third of residents are lone dwellers, while 28 per cent are couples without children. Some 12 per cent of Kilmainham locals are couples with children. A staggering 44 per cent are between 16 and 34 – well over the national average of 28 per cent in that age bracket.
Good for families?
Kilmainham certainly punches over its weight on the green spaces front (and kids love the Royal Hospital's maze garden), although a dedicated playground could certainly come in useful. There are three primary schools nearby: Gaelscoil Inse Chor (Catholic, mixed) is a five-minute walk away, while St James's (Catholic, mixed), Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Primary School (Catholic, mixed) and Canal Way Educated Together (multidenominational, mixed) are also accessible on foot. It's also a handy spot for young sports enthusiasts: There's a GAA club (Liffey Gaels), a golf society, a boat club and a basketball club in the area.
Getting there and getting around
The Luas Red line stops at Heuston and James’s, which are perfect for Kilmainham, while Dublin bus serves the area well with its 13, 68, 68A, 79, and 79A routes. The sightseeing buses have several stops in the area, while Heuston is the great gateway to the west (and south).
What do locals say?
"Living in Kilmainham combines the convenience of walking distance to the city, with easy access to world-class city parks and cultural amenities. While piecemeal city planning and the lack of a definable commercial hub mean that Kilmainham is no Williamsburg, the relocation of the Dublin City Co-op, new restaurants, and coffee shops to the area, as well a nearby microbrewery and climbing wall housed in retrofitted industrial units, mark the steady residential shift from salt-of-the-earth blue collar retirees to metro-hipster urbanites. Ongoing construction projects at Clancy Barracks and at the new National Children's Hospital will provide a massive shot in the arm for service industries, eateries , and to the local property market in the years to come." – Ronan Mullan, consultant rheumatologist