Sea, Dart and good eats: make a move to Blackrock

Neighbourhood known for pricey schools and homes has fine dining on its doorstep

 

What’s so good about it?
Most people think of Blackrock as a village dense with posh private schools and Ross O’Carroll-Kelly types. The cliche exists for a reason, but there’s much more to this seaside town than that. Once a vogueish resort for the middle classes in the 18th century, Blackrock is a town with a great sea view, plenty of impressive properties and a small town centre of its own.

The area is about 20 minutes to the city centre, thanks to a rather scenic Dart journey. And, for a place with a vibrant enough nightlife, getting around after hours is still fairly safe. Local must-dos include the scenic Blackrock Park and the long-running Blackrock Market on the Main Street, which has over 30 stalls of art, crafts, food and interiors.

What’s not so good?
As in most busy parts of Dublin, the traffic can be a nightmare thanks to its two shopping centres (Frascati and Blackrock), which serve most of the neighbouring towns, too. The Dart is convenient, too, yet by the time it reaches Blackrock or Seapoint station during rush hour on its way into the city centre, you’ll be lucky to get a seat.

Mount Merrion Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Mount Merrion Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Where and what to buy?
Originally built by Charles Church, 48 Carysfort Downs (€895,000, via Lisney) is a truly impressive five-bed, five-bath in a nicely mature development close to the village.

Anyone looking for a starter family home could do worse than check out 3 Hawthorn Manor (€485,000, via Beirne & Wise), a three-bed, two-bath terraced house just off Newtown Park.

Closer to the Booterstown end of Blackrock, 15 Rosemount Court on Rosemount Terrace (€375,000 via Janet Carroll Estate Agents) is a compact two-bed house that would make a handy bolthole for anyone needing to be near Blackrock village.

With an asking price of €1.29 million, Sancta Maria at Stradbrook Road (via Sherry Fitzgerald) is an exceptional new build that extends to 200sq m of living space.

Where and what to rent?
It’s a movable feast, given the sheer array of different properties on offer in the area. Two-bedroom apartments tend to rent in the €2,100-€2,600 bracket, while a substantial three-bedroom property can cost around €2,500-€2,900 a month. A one-bedroom rental could set you back around €1,400 upwards.

Where to eat and drink?
The Michelin-starred Liath (19A Main Street), the successor the Heron & Grey, is arguably the jewel in Blackrock’s culinary crown. There are tons of great casual dining options, too; among them are Ciamei Café or Three Leaves, both at the Blackrock Market, and the coffee at Bear Market Coffee (19 Main Street).

Le Pastis at 9 George’s Avenue is also very much worth venturing out for. Jack O’Rourke’s (15 Main Street) is a classic Victorian-style boozer with a wonderfully cosy feel, while Kelly & Coopers (39 Main Street) boasts a younger crowd and a fine selection of gastropub fare and craft beers. Recently opened Volpe Nera (22 Newtown Park) is getting rave reviews for its cooking from ex-Etto chef Barry Sun.

Blackrock Park in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Blackrock Park in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Good for families?
Well, the area is famous for its schools. Locals can choose from a number of primary-level options, among them Benincasa (Catholic, mixed), St Augustine’s, (Catholic, mixed), All Saints on Carysfort Avenue (Church Of Ireland, mixed), Carysfort National School on Convent Road (Catholic, mixed), Booterstown National School (Church Of Ireland, mixed), Scoil Lorcáin (Catholic, mixed), Willow Park (Catholic, boys) and Guardian Angels (Catholic, mixed). Monkstown Park Junior School (Catholic, mixed) is a private primary school that’s also popular with locals.

In terms of post-primary schools, there are several on offer, including Dominican College Sion Hill (Catholic, girls), Rosemount Secondary School (Catholic, mixed), St Andrew’s College Booterstown (mixed, multidenominational) and Newpark (Church of Ireland, mixed). Blackrock College (Catholic, boys) is, of course, the best-known private school in the area.

Volpe Nera restaurant in Blackrock, Co Dublin
Volpe Nera restaurant in Blackrock, Co Dublin

Getting there and getting around
The Dart will get you into Tara Street in just over 15 minutes, while Dublin Bus services the area with the 4, 7/A/D, 17/C/D, 46E, 84/A, 114 and 7N routes. The Aircoach from Dalkey and Greystones also calls at the village on its way to Dublin Airport.

What do locals say?
“Everything I could want is here. It was always important for me to live somewhere with a nice village-y vibe and I can’t complain about what’s on offer in Blackrock. The Blackrock Cellar is a great wine shop, and pubs like the Breffni, the Wicked Wolf and Conways are my usual locals. You can always keep up with what’s going on in the community with the I Love Blackrock website, too (blackrock.ie). I’d find it hard to move anywhere else.” Ed Walsh, mature student

Do you live in Milltown, Dublin 6? If so, please tell us what it’s like to live there. Do you have a favourite place or a pet peeve in the neighbourhood? Email: homeanddesign@irishtimes.com

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