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Dublin: 0 °C Wednesday 21 March, 2018

Your guide to Rathfarnham: Park-packed neighbourhood with an iconic Irish movie role

And a history of being extremely grand.

Laurelmere, a cottage in Marlay Park
Laurelmere, a cottage in Marlay Park
Image: Rob Hurson

Your Neighbourhood is a new series of local area guides from, presented by KBC. We’re bringing you the best of city neighbourhoods combined with the latest property data. 

RATHFARNHAM HAS GRAND origins. Its modern history began in the early 17th century as an ‘estate village’, serving the denizens of Rathfarnham Castle and its grounds. The area continued to be popular with gentry, with many more large residences built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Industry also grew during this time – a number of mills used water power to make paper.

By the early 20th century, photos show, the village had turned into a solid commercial hub. But it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that population levels started to really grow as new homes were built and young families settled in the area. New parishes sprang up in neighbouring Churchtown, Ballyroan, Ballyboden and Templeogue to manage the influx.

Today, the heart of the neighbourhood has moved away from the old main street, with more traffic (both foot and car) heading to Rathfarnham and Nutgrove shopping centres.

Rathfarnham runs south from the Dodder river to Marlay Park. It’s bordered to the east by Dundrum, to the north by Terenure and to the west by Knocklyon and Tallaght.

Take me there! OK, here you are facing the landmark Yellow House pub.

So what’s the big draw? Rathfarnham is leafy south Dublin at its literal leafiest. It may not have the grand Victorian avenues of Rathmines and Rathgar, but it makes up for that with expansive green spaces and the mountains minutes away. If it’s leaves you’re looking for, you will not be disappointed.

It’s a largely quiet, suburban residential area where many of the original homeowners from the housing boom of the 1960s and 1970s are still living. Local amenities are good as are transport links – it is neatly positioned between the city and the M50.

What do people love about it? The location, says Simon Maguire.

While you’re very much part of the city – you’re also right on the edge of it. With Marlay Park, St Enda’s Park and the Dublin Mountains right on your doorstep, it’s easy to escape from the concrete jungle whenever you want.

The community spirit is also a big draw, says Karen from the Butterfield District Residents Association.

A strong sense of community was established by the older population and is being carried on by the younger generation. It says a lot when you meet new families moving in – where one parent grew up in the area and now want to move back and bring up their own children here.

And… what do people NOT love about it? The old village itself needs some love, says Karen.

Rathfarnham village has such great potential and is underdeveloped. The variety of shops is poor, the choice of restaurants and cafes is poor. There is no enticement for people to go to the village – the Rathfarnham shopping centre is a better serviced facility for the community.

What’s the story with house prices? The average asking price of a property in the area is now €469,500, according to This is significantly over the Dublin average of €395,000.

How long will it take me to the city centre? In happy times, it’s a 20-minute drive to Stephen’s Green. Rush hour is a different story.

The bus (15 or 16) takes roughly half an hour outside peak times. But if you can make it to the Luas in Dundrum, it’s just 15 minutes into the city.

Where should I get lunch? The Studio Cafe on Main Street is a friendly, low-key local place serving breakfasts, sandwiches and more substantial meals for anyone who wants one.

Alternatives: The Delhi Lounge is a highly regarded family-run Indian restaurant serving the usual standards. Over in Marlay Park, the Wicklow Way Cafe has great views.

And what’s my new local? The Yellow House is a local institution dating back to the early eighteenth century. Local legend has it that the building was a meeting point for leaders of the 1798 rebellion.

A post shared by avsh (@avsh_ireland) on

Alternatives: The Eden House is a big pub near Marlay Park, handy for the summer concerts there. The Blue Haven is at the other end of Rathfarnham, towards Templeogue.

Schools and supermarkets? There is a Tesco in both Rathfarnham and Nutgrove shopping centres. There’s also a Lidl on Nutgrove Avenue, and another one to the south on Grange Road.

There are ten primary schools in the area: Marley Grange (Catholic, mixed); Scoil Mhuire (Catholic, mixed); Whitechurch (Church of Ireland, mixed); Ballyroan (Catholic, boys); Scoil Naomh Padraig (Catholic, mixed); Rathfarnham Parish (Church of Ireland, mixed); St Mary’s BNS (Catholic, boys); Loreto (Catholic, girls); Rathfarnham Educate Together (multi denominational, mixed); and Good Shepherd (Catholic, mixed).

There are four post-primary schools: Gaelcholaiste an Phiarsaigh (multidenominational, mixed); Colaiste Eanna (Catholic, boys); Sancta Maria College (Catholic, girls); and Loreto High School (Catholic, girls).

Anything else I should check out? The basement of St Enda’s School in St Enda’s Park was used as a bomb factory in the lead up to the 1916 Easter Rising. Pádraig Pearse ran the school and it was from here that Pearse began his fateful march into the city centre. Today, the school building is the Pearse Museum.

OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Rathfarnham trivia to impress a local. The famous, violent opening scene in Intermission was filmed in Rathfarnham Shopping Centre. You just never know what’s going to happen…

Source: Scenes to be Seen/YouTube

Do you live in Rathfarnham? Let us know your opinion in the comments!

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