Things to do in Dublin when you’re retired: luxury living late in life

Upmarket rental schemes for retirees are coming to leafy suburbs of the capital

Hot tubs on the roof, yoga classes, virtual golf, fitness classes: could this be the future of retirement living?

Yes, while Ireland is already home to nursing homes, retirement villages and sheltered housing, now developers are hoping to bring a bit of luxury to late-in-life living.

It’s a trend that has already gained pace across the US (think more Grace and Frankie than Golden Girls) and urban areas of the UK.

A report last month from real estate group JLL found that the new developments are “a far cry from some of the older ‘retirement housing’ models”, with retirees looking for top-of-the-range facilities and amenities. They are also happy to rent, rather than buy what will likely be their last home, with the report pointing to a “boom” in this rental market, which is expected to grow by a further £2.65 billion (€3.1 billion) over the next five years.


Now the trend looks ready to set up home in Ireland, targeting a gap in the market that has long existed — where do people who want to downsize move to?

Building apartment schemes aimed at an older cohort in traditional family areas can keep people in areas they are familiar with, and reduce concerns about potential noisy neighbours. It may also encourage such people to move on from larger homes they find difficult to maintain.

Last month, developer Tetrarch, who also has similar plans for Howth, submitted plans for a 108 build-to-rent senior living scheme on lands overlooking Blackrock Rugby Club in south Dublin. Nearby, Richard Barrett’s property group Bartra has plans for a 39-unit apartment scheme, complete with two roof-top hot tubs. As the developer noted in its application, the aim is to provide “age-appropriate housing for older people close to their existing communities”.

Facilities are expected to include a cinema, meeting room/family dining room, library/reading area, gym, kitchen, hydrotherapy room, hairdressing room, massage facilities and private member’s club room with espresso bar.

Oh and a Trackman golf simulator room for those looking to improve their handicaps.

They’re not the only ones looking to target the purses of the older generations in upmarket areas of the capital. In Killiney, south Dublin, Vico Later Living, a joint venture between Hibernia Senior Living and Turkington Rock, a collaboration between Helen Turkington and Red Rock Developments, is looking to build an “independent yet secure living community that fuses luxury residences with unmatched wellness and a lifestyle-first approach”.

As well as expected facilities — such as a cinema room, private dining room etc — the group’s plans for Auburn House include a focus on wellness, with group physio sessions, a day spa, pet therapy, a memory care programme and fitness classes.

High costs

Given the level of facilities on offer, as well as the community aspect in established neighbourhoods, the new developments may appeal. The rental nature may also suit retirees who are looking to pass on inheritances while still living, by selling up the family home and thus avoiding any nasty disagreements after their demise.

As long as they hold on to enough cash for themselves to pay their rent.

One thing for certain is that these developers will be targeting the grey euro.

Indeed rents are already about €2,500 a month for a typical two-bed in Blackrock for example, but will likely be higher again for this targeted product. According to the JLL report, rents in Greater London are about €3,500 for a typical retirement buy-to-let unit. If you opt to buy, rather than rent, you can also expect a steep management fee; at Riverstone Living in Fulham, London, for example, the membership fee is a hefty £1,335 a month (€1,568).

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times