Drumcondra has long been hugely sought after because it offers property prices that – at the lower end of the scale – allow buyers to enter an area that regularly features houses at the top end of the market.
Those lower prices tend to attach to terraced homes starting from €295,000, thus making the area attractive to many of “those who have been priced out of areas on the southside of the city”, says Ronan Crinion, managing director of MoveHome estate agents.
“We’ve got buyers from Ranelagh, Stillorgan, Blackrock and south county Dublin in general; Glasnevin is also attracting the same buyers,” he adds.
The modern origins of Drumcondra started in the 1880s around the River Tolka, where there was a cluster of cottages for farmworkers, before Dublin began to expand past the border of the Royal Canal in the 1890s, and redbrick construction began along Drumcondra Road.
At the turn of the century expansion escalated, and construction started on a row of Victorian houses opposite the archbishop’s palace. Development then moved in four directions, west along what is now Whitworth Road and east towards what is now Croke Park.
Similarly, it began to expand further north past the Tolka on both east and west sides. Prior to this construction surge, the land was largely owned by the churches: with the Catholics owning most of the land to the east of Drumcondra Road and the Protestants owning lands further to the west towards the Glasnevin area. Around the middle section of Drumcondra Road, past the Tolka, was farmland owned by a wealthy family.
“A lot of younger couples are buying two-up, two-down houses. The big houses on Hollybank Road, Griffith Avenue and Home Farm Road are generally bought by older, trader-uppers,” says Martin Doyle, director of Sherry FitzGerald Drumcondra. “The buyers are mostly Irish, but Brazilians, Chinese and eastern Europeans have also settled here.”
Today, the area is very much a contained part of Dublin city, with Broadstone and Dublin 1 to the south; North Strand, Fairview and Marino to the east; Whitehall and Santry to the north; and Glasnevin to the west.
What’s the housing stock like?
There’s a decent variety available in Drumcondra, with prices ranging from affordable to very expensive. The entry-level price is €275,000 for a two-bed, one-bath apartment at 10 Hogan View, Richmond Road.
For €10,000 more, a bid could be placed on a two-bed, terraced home at 7 and also 12 St Brendan’s Road, or a two-bed apartment at 304 The Distillery.
A detached, two-bed at 117 Richmond Road is seeking €324,950, while a two-bed, two-bath, terraced house at O’Neachtain Road, which is enclosed in an estate of houses that was the second-built Dublin City Council housing scheme after Marino, is asking €325,000.
A three-bed, semi-detached property at 1 Windele Road, close to Home Farm Road, is €384,950, or an end-of-terrace redbrick at 15 Richmond Road is on for €395,000.
At €420,000, there’s a three-bed, redbrick on Botanic Avenue or, for €425,000, a two-bed, two-bath apartment in the Celtic Tiger-era The Waterfront apartment block on Drumcondra Road.
At €500,000, the range moves to a three-bed terraced house at 9 St Patrick’s Road and at €599,000 there is a four-bed on Lower Drumcondra Road itself.
If you fancy living in the former home of TV architect Dermot Bannon, his three-bed, two-bath terraced home on Bantry Road is seeking €649,000. Bannon loves the area so much he’s trading up around the corner.
There are two four-beds seeking €895,000 on Home Farm Road at numbers 36 and 41.
A four-bed, semi-detached house on Griffith Avenue is seeking €750,000, while a five-bed detached at 60 Walnut Rise is asking €825,000. The market peaks at €995,000, the asking price for a classic redbrick five-bed, two-bath semi-detached home at 92 Iona Road.
Any new developments coming on stream?
Five new developments are in the works for Drumcondra and the surrounding areas. Sycamore Grove will bring 14 four-beds to the market in nearby Glasnevin: they launch in May.
Hampton on Grace Park Road is a former convent with period listed buildings on nine acres. There are 21 homes in phase one. All gardens are south facing. Grace Park Wood’s second phase brings a limited number of five-bed properties to the market, designed by architects O’Mahony Pike.
In nearby Santry, Northwood Green launched in February and comprises 22 three- and four-bed houses. Also in Santry, Cedarview launches in July and brings 40 four- and five-bed homes to the market.
Space is generally at a premium in this area, although there are land pockets dotted around Dublin 9 that could see development in the future. One such space is the Eustace Estate, a working farm tucked in behind Albert College Park in Whitehall. Invisible to the outside world, a number of narrow turns and roads lead into this agricultural gem right in the heart of Dublin: a true rarity.
Green space and recreation
Its central green lung is Griffith Park, located to the west of Drumcondra Road, wedged between Botanic Avenue, St Mobhi Road and Walsh Road. But there are lots of other open spaces in the area, including the National Botanic Gardens, Albert College Park and the archbishop’s palace grounds.
There are many sports clubs including Na Fianna GAA and Home Farm FC.
Schools and colleges
There are four primary schools and three secondary schools . Third level is also well catered for with three academic institutions. The most famous is DCU's Institute of Education – formerly St Patrick's teacher training college and Mater Dei Institute of Education; together they bring close to 4,000 students to the area.
Drumcondra Road is the main artery shuttling traffic to and from the city to north Dublin and Dublin Airport. It’s the third-busiest artery in the city and is clogged at rush hour. But the quality bus corridor is hugely effective, and served by a wide number of routes, making access to the city centre and out of Dublin very good. The planned Metro North route will run close to Drumcondra with a stop at Cross Guns Bridge in Phibsborough, before heading on towards Dublin Airport, as well as connecting to the city centre and further south to Sandyford.
A village to be proud of
Drumcondra has blossomed into one of Dublin’s loveliest villages. Drumcondra Road is teeming with eateries and coffee shops, with many referring to it as one of the better foodie stops on the northside of the Liffey.
Il Corvo Italian restaurant is the old prizefighter still fending off younger contenders, of which there are too many to mention. Three to get you started are Le Petit Breton creperie, San Sab Thai and Restaurant 104. Base Pizza will also be opening a branch in the heart of Drumcondra in the near future.
Fagan’s pub – which has a long association with former taoiseach Bertie Ahern – is a watering hole of particular note, along with neighbouring Kennedy’s. Other notable pubs include the Cat and Cage, the Ivy House, McGrath’s and Quinn’s.
For those who like to keep things simple: Fagan’s pint of Guinness is creamy and their carvery lunch is big enough to feed a giant.
Three-bed, two-bath terraced house at 6 Millmount Terrace for €435,000. Agent: MoveHome.
Three-bed, three-bath duplex apartment at 52 All Hallows Square for €445,000. Agent: MoveHome.
Four-bed, three-bath terraced house at 41 Home Farm Road for €695,000. Agent: Sherry FitzGerald.
Two-bed, two-bath apartment at 13 The Waterfront for €1,850 per month. Agent: MoveHome.
Three-bed, semi-detached at Charlemont for €2,100 per month. Agent: Home Locators.
Four-bed, four-bath apartment at Grace Park Manor for €2,950 per month. Agent: Borgman Earls Lettings.