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Your guide to Drimnagh: Thriving community on the Luas once inhabited by wild wolves

Plus its own Norman castle dating back to 1215.

Looking down the Grand Canal from Drimnagh Luas stop.
Looking down the Grand Canal from Drimnagh Luas stop.
Image: Flickr/William Murphy

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

IF YOU FIND the twists and turns of Drimnagh’s many small streets confusing, chalk it down to art. It’s said the road layout was inspired by a swirling Celtic brooch, with names taken from Irish mountain ranges – Mourne, Galtymore and Errigal.

Drimnagh literally grew from Dublin’s hills – much of the sand and gravel for the houses was taken from a large mound of earth along what is now the Long Mile Road.

Most of the terraced homes you see today were built in in the 1930s as a response to the increasing housing crisis in Dublin’s inner city. Long before that though, Drimnagh was the site of a Norman castle, built by a knight named Hugo de Bernivale who arrived to Ireland with Strongbow around 1215.

What had previously been a Neolithic hunting and burial site filled with wolves and wild boar became de Bernivale’s new pad – and the castle still stands today.

These days, it’s a busy and established community, bordered by the Luas tracks and the Grand Canal on its northern end.

Take me there! OK, here you are outside Our Lady Of Good Counsel church, just down the road from Drimnagh Luas stop.

So what’s the big draw? With a population of around 12,000, Drimnagh is a massive community with plenty of young families, along with long-time residents. The arrival of the Luas has made the link with the city centre simple, but Drimnagh still holds its own as a close-knit Dublin suburb.

What do people love about it? It’s the established community feel that has kept Peter Burke in Drimnagh since the 1970s. He’s the current chairman of Drimnagh Residents Association.

We have great community facilities. A youth centre, a community centre, a daycare centre for the elderly, a GAA club, boxing club, soccer teams and a rugby club. I’m sure I’m leaving something out…

Proud Drimnagh local Pauline Sargent has lived in the area for 22 years, and agrees:

Drimnagh people have a great sense of humour, are very family oriented and do lots of volunteering.

You can’t fault the location either, which Pauline says is “dead handy” for access to the city centre.

And… what do people NOT love about it? The canal is a popular place with dog walkers and groups of teens, which Peter notes can lead to rubbish and dog fouling in the area along the Luas line.

Pauline notes that Drimnagh has been “overlooked” in terms of social and economic development. “We need a lot more investment here and modernisation of our facilities,” she adds.

Drimnagh is definitely lacking one key community facility, says Peter:

We badly need a state-of-the-art library, we’ve been seeking one for 50 years.

What’s the story with house prices? Taking the rest of Dublin 12 into consideration, Drimnagh’s prices are relatively low. The average price of a home in Drimnagh is now just over €285,000 according to the latest figures from Daft.ie. In nearby Kimmage and Walkinstown, you’ll pay upwards of €350,000.

Drimnagh’s closest Dublin 12 neighbour in terms of price is Crumlin, where you’ll pay an average of €298,834.

How long will it take me into Dublin? By car, you’ll be in town in around 15 minutes. You can hop on the Red Line Luas at one of Drimnagh’s four (!) stops, Suir Road, Goldenbridge, Drimnagh or Blackhorse, getting you into the city centre in about 20 minutes on a good day.

Bus-wise, there’s the 122, the 151, the 123 and more.

Where should I get lunch? It looks pretty unassuming from the outside, but the Farmhouse Cafe on the Long Mile Road has a seasonal menu featuring fruit and veg grown on the owners’ farm in Kildare. The slow-cooked gammon sandwich is a winner, served with apple chutney. Plus there’s an Aga to cosy up at on rainy days.

Alternatives: Take a stroll over to The Green Kitchen in Walkinstown for all-day breakfast or lunch. It’s a social enterprise cafe, partnering with WALK to give training opportunities to adults with disabilities.

And what’s my new local? Though purists would call it Walkinstown, the Halfway House is considered a local by many Drimnagh residents. There’s a full food menu, an upstairs and downstairs bar and regular live music. You’ll find plenty of local atmosphere in Eleanora’s, too.

Schools and supermarkets? Drimnagh is well stocked with supermarkets nearby. There’s a SuperValu and a Lidl in Walkinstown just beyond Our Lady’s Hospital, plus an Aldi on the Long Mile Road. You’ll also find a Tesco Express in Dolphin’s Barn, plus Spars on Errigal Rd and Galtymore Rd.

Schools-wise, there are five primary schools in the area: Drimnagh Castle NS (Catholic, boys), Our Lady Of Good Counsel NS (Catholic, mixed), Mourne Rd Infants School (Catholic, mixed), Assumption Junior and Senior Primary School (Catholic, Junior mixed, Senior girls), Loreto Primary School (Catholic, mixed).

There are four secondary schools nearby: Our Lady Of Mercy Secondary School (Catholic, mixed), Drimnagh Castle Secondary School (Catholic, boys), Assumption Secondary School (Catholic, girls) and CBS James’s St (Catholic, mixed).

Anything else I should check out? Drimnagh’s famous St John Bosco Youth Centre, locally known as ‘The Bosco,’ is still a core part of the community 70 years on. It’s now run by a voluntary board. If you’re interested in tae kwon do, drama, yoga, football, meditation or even krav maga, you’ll find classes here.

Give me one piece of Drimnagh trivia to impress a local. At the top of Mourne Road, near Our Lady Of Good Counsel National School, sits a patch of land once known as ‘Hungry Hill’. Superstition decreed that anyone who walked on the white grass without food in their possession would immediately be overcome by a great hunger, and eventually death. So… bring snacks.

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

More: Your guide to Crumlin – Great spirit on the streets that made Phil Lynott and Conor McGregor>

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