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Gerard Ahern
neighbourhood guide

Your guide to Carrigaline: Fast-growing town that kept its village feel (and saved the jelly star biscuit)

Between the country and the city.

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

CARRIGALINE IS A town that has grown at an explosive pace. Today, the population of almost 16,000 – making the town the largest in Cork – is more than 16 times what it was just a few decades ago.

Carrigaline started out in the 17th century, a small village built around the last bridge over the Owenabue River before it widens to the sea. It stayed more or less that way for 300 years or so; growing slowly, fed by farming and a couple of notable local industries including Carrigaline Pottery.

Everything changed at the start of the 1970s, when Carrigaline was earmarked by the county council as a future satellite town for the growing city 12km to the north. Estate after estate sprang up over the following decades as new residents and city commuters poured in. (Roughly speaking, the further from the town centre, the newer the estate.)

But Carrigaline prides itself on having kept some of its ‘small village’ feel – a town with a strong identity and sense of belonging. 

Take me there! Alrighty then. Here you are on Main Street looking down the hill towards the river.

So what’s the big draw? Carrigaline is a growing town with a lot of young families, but one that still has the core of a long-standing community. It’s a handy commute from Cork, and also close to the striking coastline to the south and east. 

What do people love about it? It’s well placed between country and city, says Cormac Hughes. 

One of the draws to Carrigaline is how close it is to the sea – you’re really near Myrtleville, Kinsale, Rocky Bay and Crosshaven. You’re also not too far from Cork city and the countryside. So if you want country living with most of the amenities of a city, it’s a good place to live.

And there’s a lot going on, says Liam O’Connor of the local Tidy Towns group. 

Carrigaline has fantastic community spirit with very friendly people which can be seen in the various associations, clubs and committees. There are beautiful park walks, a heritage trail, and a very scenic walkway connecting Carrigaline to the beautiful harbour town of Crosshaven.

And… what do people NOT love about it? As with many fast-growing towns, amenities can be slow to catch up, says Cormac.

Carrigaline is expanding hugely – and the amenities aren’t always keeping up. The village needs to expand to keep up with the new estates, and at the moment I don’t think that’s happening fast enough. Traffic congestion is a huge issue. The town wasn’t built for the levels it now has to cater for and this has dissuaded locals coming into the village to shop, causing closures.

(A new relief road is currently under way.)

Liam agrees that thoughtful planning is needed.

The town itself lacks a true town centre, mainly because the town has grown over many years spanning outwards.  This is an issue that can, and hopefully will, be addressed, as there is huge potential for development. I would love to see a one-way traffic system in the town centre so that the footpaths could be widened

What’s the story with house prices? Somewhere in the middle. The average asking price for a property in Carrigaline is €280,999. That’s a fair bit above the Cork county average of roughly €244k, but if you look at the city and its satellites alone the average jumps to €274k.

The average price in Carrigaline is a bit lower than central areas like Douglas, Rochestown and Blackrock which are all north of €300k. It’s roughly on a par with Crosshaven and Glanmire. 

How long will it take me into Cork? On a good day, at a good time, it’s about 20 minutes in the car. At rush hour it will take longer.

Meanwhile, the 220 or 220X buses will get you into the city in just over half an hour. There are noises about a possible Park and Ride service from the town too.

Where should I get lunch? Hassett’s Bakery is an old-school favourite with a strong line in coffee, cakes and breakfasts. (They also hit the headlines some years ago for bringing back the jelly star after Jacob’s dropped it from the Afternoon Tea box). 

Alternatives: Ramen is the local outpost of a Cork mini-chain serving noodles and stir fries, or Spice is a local favourite Indian restaurant. 

And what’s my new local? Look into the Gaelic, a big place by the river that’s popular with young and old. 

Alternatives: Other popular spots are Rosie’s, a local of long standing on the main street, and the Corner House.

Schools and supermarkets? There’s a Lidl, a Dunnes and a SuperValu right in the middle of town. (The SuperValu is one of the biggest in the country.)

There are five primary schools: an Educate Together (multidenominational, mixed, 465 pupils); Scoil Mhuire Lourdes (Catholic, boys, 379 pupils); St John’s GNS (Catholic, girls, 427 pupils); St Mary’s (Church of Ireland, mixed, 214 pupils); and Gaelscoil Charraig ui Leighin (Catholic, mixed, 667 pupils). 

There are three secondary schools: Carrigaline Community School (interdenominational, mixed, 1078 pupils); Edmund Rice College (Catholic, mixed, 238 pupils); and Gaelcholáiste Charraig ui Leighin (multidenominational, mixed, 96 pupils). 

OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Carrigaline trivia to impress a local. Like many small towns, Carrigaline had its own cinema in the mid 20th century. Called the Oakwood, it was opened in 1958 by local car dealer and film fan Bobby Cogan and looked like… a giant shed.

But it played host to a number of formative life experiences. One Facebook user remembers: “our first date! I forgot to put the chair seat down and fell off the step!”

Do you live in Carrigaline? Share your opinion in the comments!

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