Make a move to Rathfarnham for the good life

There’s plenty of green space to enjoy in this city village with a friendly feel

Padraig Pearse Museum in St Enda’s Park. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

What’s so good about it?

In a word? Park life. This Dublin 14-16 neighbourhood has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to lovely green expanses and views, from the grounds of Rathfarnham Castle and the Dublin mountains to St Enda's Park and Marlay Park's lush vistas (see also, Nutgrove Park, Stonepark Abbey and Broadford). Rathfarnham is a mainly residential and quiet spot, bordered by Dundrum, Terenure, Tallaght and Knocklyon.

Swans in Marlay Park at the site of the pontoon bridge. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

It's a neighbourhood from which it's easy to escape to the countryside and mountains, but also close enough to the city centre. With two shopping centres serving the area (Rathfarnham and Nutgrove), a Lidl and two Aldis, the weekly grocery shop is rarely a problem.

"The location is fabulous, with basic shopping needs not even a minute's walk away and everything else within striking distance," says resident Sara Parsons. "The village is a really friendly place, people say hello to each other and there is some beautiful architecture if you look. It would be great to see some of the empty shops opening again and hopefully that will come in time.

A weir on the Dodder. Photograph: Dave Meehan

“We have no shortage of takeaways and charity shops. But the butcher, dry cleaners, cobblers and pharmacy are all independent, family-run businesses that recognise you by your third visit.”


The community itself is involved and active: Rathfarnham Athletics has a strong presence in the area, as does Ballyroan Library and Community Centre.

What’s not so good?

As villages go, Rathfarnham's main drag is lovely, albeit lacking in the atmosphere that brings buzz to Terenure and Rathgar.

The Anne Devlin statue in Rathfarnham village. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The area, locals say, would benefit from a wider selection of amenities, hotels or guesthouse accommodation and sit-down restaurants. Others lament the comparative lack of transport links for the local population (three bus routes, described as “torturously slow”, but no Luas). Litter can also be a problem as people flock to Rathfarnham’s many parks.

Where and what to buy?

With a sizeable corner site, 184 Butterfield Avenue (€495,000, via Ray Cooke) is a charming semi-detached three-bed, one-bath cottage on a well-regarded street.

At €725,000, it's on the pricier end of the spectrum, but 20 Anne Devlin Park (via Hunter's) is a modernised five-bed, three-bath semi-detached close to the heart of the village.

A first-time buyer looking to get a foothold on the property ladder might find the airy and spacious two-bed apartment at 17 Grange House (€300,000, via Mason Estates) appealing.

Buyers with deep pockets might like 263 sq m of living space on offer at 7A Butterfield Grove, a five-bed, eight-bath detached house (€1.2 million, via Sherry FitzGerald Templeogue).

Where and what to rent?

Plenty of apartments are on offer in the area (expect to pay about €1,500 or so for a one-bed, or €1,800-€1,900 for a two-bed), while a four-bedroom family house can cost about €2,300-€2,700 monthly. A five-bedroom house on Harold’s Grange Road was recently available at €3,500 a month.

Where to eat and drink?

(Please note that these premises are closed for the foreseeable future, due to coronavirus regulations, although some offer takeaway services currently.)

The Yellow House (1 Willbrook Road) is a famous local whose reputation is well known even outside Rathfarnham’s parameters. Local legend has it that the building was a meeting point for leaders of the 1798 rebellion. Its upstairs bistro, Morilles, is worth a visit.

The well-known Yellow House Pub. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Alternatively, the Blue Haven (1 Ballyroan Road) edging towards Templeogue, is popular with locals, while Eden House (16 Grange Road) is an award-winning bar-restaurant. The Old Orchard is a dyed-in-the-wool local run by well-known publican Charlie Chawke and his daughter Ali. They recently converted their off-licence site to a wine and tapas spot. Enigma (Main Street) also comes up time and time again in local mentions.

For more casual dining, try Studio Café (54 Main Street), Indian takeaway Delhi lounge (15 Main Street) and the Wicklow Way Café, at the back of Marlay Park.

Who lives there?

Some 47 per cent of those living in Rathfarnham are couples with children. puts the age breakdown of the area as follows: 20 per cent of residents are under 16; 29 per cent fall into the 16-34 age bracket; 20 per cent are aged between 35 and 49; 22 per cent are in the 50-64 category, and 9 per cent are over 65.

Woodview cottages, Rathfarnham. Photograph: Dave Meehan

"The younger generation is starting to come back in," observes publican Ali Chawke. "It's already a really well-built community, but lots of people are moving out of town and returning to their roots."

Good for families?

Most certainly – it's one of the big draws of the area. In addition to a wealth of green spaces, there are schools aplenty. Choose from Edmondstown National School (Catholic, mixed); Scoil Mhuire (Catholic, mixed); Whitechurch (Church of Ireland, mixed); Divine Word (Catholic, mixed); Good Shepherd (Catholic, mixed); Rathfarnham (multidenominational, mixed); Rathfarnham Parish (Church of Ireland, mixed); Ballyroan (Catholic, boys); Scoil Naomh Pádraig (Catholic, mixed); and St Mary's (Catholic, boys).

Kids of post-primary school age usually go to four schools in the area: Loreto (Catholic, girls); Sancta Maria College (Catholic, girls); Gaelcholáiste an Phiarsaigh (multidenominational, mixed); and Coláiste Éanna (Catholic, boys). The latter is described by local resident Rosaleen O'Dowd as having "a strong academic and educational record stretching back over 50 years".

Getting there and getting around

The 15b, 16 and 75 Dublin bus routes go through Rathfarnham. Dundrum is the nearest Luas stop if you want to get into the city centre within about 20 minutes; otherwise, the bus can be a good hour in peak traffic. The M50 is also nearby.

What do locals say?

"The biggest plus for me is being close to Bushy Park. When the boys were younger, having a great choice of activities and clubs for them to enjoy.

"Public transport is quite restrictive for some areas and limited to bus routes. During normal times, the bus journey can be over an hour to the city centre and if you work outside of the city centre, you may need two buses. All in all, you are still close to town and the M50. On a personal note, my neighbours are the best, with people really looking out for each other. The mix of family stages in our area is great to see, " says Laurena Ward, who works in finance.