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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019
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Your guide to Stillorgan: Southside burb with a vintage shopping centre and Father Ted

A pioneering sort of place.

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. 

STILLORGAN IS A place of many firsts. It was home to Ireland’s very first bowling alley in 1963. Just three years later, the country’s first shopping centre opened across the road, with Dickie Rock on ribbon-cutting duties.

Before its momentous passage through the 1960s, though, Stillorgan was a historic village. (Some of which was demolished to make way for the shopping centre.) Its name is widely believed to come from Teach Lorcan, the house of Lorcan, and there has been a settlement here for centuries.

It was only in the twentieth century that the village was absorbed into the sprawl of south Dublin. Housing estates began to be built from the 1930s onwards, and Stillorgan’s location made it a natural transport artery. Happily the village itself was bypassed in the 1970s, meaning that some of the historic fabric has been left intact.

Construction has continued in recent years – especially to the south of Stillorgan towards Sandyford – and more is on the way. A 550-bed student accommodation block was approved last year, with another application proposing more than 200 apartments on the site of the aforementioned bowling alley.

Alongside Sandyford to the south, Stillorgan is bordered to the north and west by Mount Merrion and Goatstown, and to the east by Blackrock and Deansgrange.

Take me there! OK, here you are in front of Boland’s pub opposite the shopping centre.

So what’s the big draw? Stillorgan is a historic area of south Dublin that has never had quite the marquee brand of its neighbours in Blackrock and Deansgrange – and is more accessible for it. It’s also seen a lot of construction over the last few decades, which means that some housing is affordable… ish. (There’s no getting away from the south Dublin premium.)

It’s always been a major intersection for routes in and out of the city, and that means it has transport links (and amenities) matched by pretty much nowhere else. Today the count includes a major bus corridor, a Luas line, and direct services to the airport as well as the N11 to Wicklow and the south east, and the M50 minutes away.

Plus a shopping centre and cinema. And it’s the birthplace of the Late Late Toy Show - here’s the shop where it all started

What do people love about it? The old shopping centre is now a local gem with a fresh lease of life, says resident Dara O’Daly.

It is a safe, comfortable place to bring the kids. It was the first shopping centre in the country and the architecture and layout has developed a strong retro/vintage character in recent years. It turned 50 years old last year. It has transitioned from being an out of date facility which nearly closed during the recession in around 2010, to now, a thriving,  quirky/retro shopping centre.

And… what do people NOT love about it? Its status as a transport hub has a downside too, says Dara: the traffic can be… problematic.

I would say that it is generally a safe, middle class place but it is overwhelmingly dominated by cars. Unfortunately, it has developed into one large surface carpark, from the shopping centre all the way up the Kilmacud Road passed the overflow carparks to the Millhouse, church and DID. There are glimpses of the old village along the hill and at the Credit Union.

Plus some of the older developments could use a facelift, he added.

There is a lot of dereliction in the public realm, footpaths etc. The Leisureplex, Blakes and Stillorgan Tech buildings are in dire need of being redeveloped – which seems to be coming down the line.

What’s the story with house prices? Daft.ie tracks average asking prices for properties in Stillorgan and Deansgrange. In the first three months of 2018, the average was €570,530. That figure has increased by an average of 7 per cent a year for the last two years.

How long will it take me to the city centre? It’s a 15-minute drive into town when traffic is clear – but any resident will tell you that at peak times the N11 becomes a car park.

The buses are a bit faster at peak times thanks to the Quality Bus Corridor lane system, but it’s still half an hour or so. The Luas meanwhile will speed you to Stephen’s Green in 25 minutes.

Where should I get lunch? Gotham South is a Stillorgan branch of the South Anne Street stalwart, serving good pizzas, burgers and brunches for the avocado set.

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Alternatives: For something a little more formal, Riba is a neighbourhood Italian, or try O’Dwyer’s for pub grub.

And what’s my new local? The Millhouse is an old-style suburban local. After a brief turn as a Celtic Tiger hangout, it’s returned to doing what it does best: serving pints and carvery to a crowd of regulars.

Alternatives: Boland’s is a local landmark, transformed in recent years into a raucous bar with dancefloor at weekends. Or head a few minutes south to the Leopardstown Inn - universally known as the Lep – which is fancier.

Schools and supermarkets? Stillorgan is pretty much the supermarket capital of south Dublin. There’s a Tesco Superstore in the shopping centre, a Lidl just across the road, and a Donnybrook Fair next door for your fancy bits. Down towards the Stillorgan Industrial Park there is an Aldi, a Dunnes and a SuperValu too.

There are six primary schools nearby: Cnoc Ainbhil (Catholic Gaelscoil, girls, 477 pupils); Lorcan Kilmacud (Catholic Gaelscoil, boys, 450 pupils); Oatlands (Catholic, mixed, 443 pupils); St Brigid’s (Church of Ireland, mixed, 100 pupils); St Raphaela’s (Catholic, girls, 456 pupils); and Scoil San Treasa (Catholic, mixed, 452 pupils).

There are three post-primary schools: Oatlands College (Catholic, boys, 536 pupils); St Raphaela’s (Catholic, girls, 563 pupils); and St Benildus (Catholic, boys, 783 pupils).

Anything else I should check out? The small Victorian cottages on Arkle Square, which now go for impressive prices, were originally built as almshouses for the “poor and deserving” thanks to a bequest from wealthy merchant Charles Sheils. Today, the square is a highly unusual residential development with gargoyles, decorative arches and a working original clock tower. Read all about it here.

OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Stillorgan trivia to impress a local. Father Ted, aka Dermot Morgan, spent much of his younger years here. He went to school at Oatlands and later taught at Stillorgan Tech (now the College of Further Education). There’s a plaque dedicated to him on the Deerpark Road in nearby Mount Merrion.

Do you live in Stillorgan? Share your opinion in the comments. 

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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