A city with a long and at times troubled history, the Dublin of today is dynamic and distinctive, enjoying an upswell of local creative energy. With its suburbs gentrifying at a rapid pace, some of the city’s most exciting new restaurants, cafés and stores are opening outside the confines of the centre, in areas like the ones below.
The Irish Independent named Phibsborough Ireland’s top property hot spot in 2016, with the locale set to become even more desirable in the coming years, following completion of the cross-city Luas line (which will have a Phibsborough stop) and the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus in nearby Grangegorman. Young professionals will appreciate the area’s eclectic mix of Victorian pubs, antique and vintage shops, and modern eateries – a particular highlight is Two Boys Brew café, called ‘one of the most promising…to open in the city in the last year’ by the Irish Times.
The home of Croke Park GAA Stadium, Drumcondra attracts new residents thanks to its proximity to the city centre and its public transport networks, as well as an abundance of quality pubs. From famed institutions like Fagan’s, first licensed in 1907 – its clientele over the years has included everyone from Bill Clinton to Liam Neeson – to new gastropub The Cat and Cage, there’s no shortage of places to socialise in Drumcondra. Also nearby are tourist attractions like the National Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery.
In recent years, the once-rundown Northside neighbourhood of Stoneybatter has become one of the trendiest and most sought-after areas to live in Dublin and is now known as the city’s hipster ground zero. Its gentrification has seen fantastic restaurants, independent cafés and hip gastropubs sprout up around older businesses – such as one of Ireland’s smallest publishing houses, The Lilliput Press. Close to the expansive Phoenix Park, it’s also home to an urban community garden and a yoga and wellness studio, housed inside an old woollen mill.
Serviced by the Luas tram line, the historic southern suburb of Dundrum has much to recommend it. Having been the site of one of Ireland’s first purpose-built shopping centres during the 70s, it welcomed the country’s largest new shopping centre in 2005. Dundrum Town Centre is home to more than 160 stores – including House of Fraser, Zara and Hollister – as well as several restaurants and a multiplex cinema. These additions and rising rents closer to town have led more and more young professionals to move into the area – according to myhome.ie, nearly 40% of Dundrum residents are now between the ages of 16 and 34.
Ranelagh is an urban village on Dublin’s Southside, famous for former residents like the seventh President of Ireland Mary Robinson and New Yorker journalist and short story writer Maeve Brennan. Today, it’s known as a mecca for foodies, home to trendy new restaurants like The Butcher Grill steakhouse, watering holes like The Exchequer Wine Bar, and even a dessert parlour selling gelato, crêpes and artisan coffee – the endlessly photogenic Scoop. As well as great food, Ranelagh residents can take advantage of amenities like Dartmouth Square, which hosts open-air yoga on Saturdays.
Another village-turned-suburb in south Dublin, not far from Ranelagh, Rathgar is one of the city’s most highly coveted addresses, and for good reason. Much of the architecture is part of a conservation zone, with many of the red-brick residences dating back to Georgian and Victorian times. On the main street, long-established independent stores like The Rathgar Bookshop contribute to its small-town feel, while newer additions like Fia, a neighbourhood café, mean it’s not necessary to venture into town for a well-roasted coffee. In fact, the traffic often goes the other way on weekends, when city centre-dwellers are known to head here for the amazing brunch.
An inner suburb on the banks of Dublin’s River Liffey, Ringsend benefits from a position close to the area known as “Silicon Docks”, where several major tech firms such as Google have their offices. Another up-and-coming area, Ringsend is also home to a recording studio where bands like U2 and The Rolling Stones have recorded, as well as plenty of quality restaurants, shops, bars, a park and a local library.