Let's move to... Clonee - a well-connected village
A commuter town with good transport links, Clonee could soon be a global social media hub too
Clonee is a split village - while located mostly in County Meath, the majority of its populace today actually lives over the border, in Dublin 15.
To the population at large, Clonee would be seen as a satellite town of Dublin city, 14km away. One would not say that too loudly walking the Meath streets of the village itself, but those city slickers in Littlepace, Huntstown or Castaheany would be focused eastwards, on Castleknock, Blanchardstown, Phoenix Park and the capital itself where many of them would work and commute to regularly.
The Meath set is more likely to socialise in the Grasshopper Inn on Main Street - "the last pub in the village", according to Martin Regan of the family firm that has run it for generations.
Or to hang out in Dunboyne Tennis Club, which is actually in Clonee.
On the other hand, the Dubs might drink in The Paddocks in Littlepace, and GAA heads there would more likely support St Brigid's in Castleknock, while the rugby folk might hang out at Coolmine RFC.
Whatever their side of the divide, residents, or prospective inhabitants, would agree that Clonee offers good value for your property buck, particularly for first-time buyers, with a decent three-bedroom semi available for just over €250,000 in the likes of Hunters Run, Beechfield, Pheasant Run, Rosedale, Linnetsfield, Swallowbrook or Bramblefield.
Located just off the N3 Dublin to Cavan road, and near to the M50 motorway, with a decent train and bus service to the capital to boot , Clonee's attraction for house buyers is obvious.
Further benefits accrue when the Broombridge Road stop on the €370 million Luas Cross City project is completed, as anticipated, in 2017.
When it is finished, there will be a cross-platform interchange with the Maynooth rail line, which serves Clonee via Clonsilla (making it easier to get offspring to Maynooth University) and commuters will be able to hop on the linked-up red and green Luas lines.
Clonee has seen enormous changes over the last 20 years, especially with the rapid spread of developments surrounding the old villages of Littlepace, Ongar and Williamstown, once all well-known stud farms.
As well as sending workers into the city, Clonee, from the Irish Cluain Aodha, meaning 'Aodh's pasture', has strong employment locally, especially from the likes of the multi-national Kepak food group, which has its headquarters in the village and employs over 2,000 people, with an annual turnover of €850 million.
There was also good news when social network giants Facebook announced plans for a €200m new data centre in Clonee. The investment would bring Facebook's Irish staff numbers to over 1,000, with hundreds of other jobs also being created during the construction phase.
"Similar investments by Facebook have typically led to an economic impact in the order of hundreds of millions of euros, with thousands of jobs supported," said a spokesman for Facebook.
But Facebook chief, Mark Zuckerberg, and friends must have spluttered into their macrobiotic muesli last week when they read reports in the Meath Chronicle that an appeal had been lodged against Meath County Council's planning approval for the massive development, on behalf of John and Julie Creagh of Kilbride Road, Clonee. While in favour of the project, the couple feel their concerns about traffic volume and hazards brought about by heavy goods vehicles during the construction phase, have not been properly addressed. The case is due to be decided by December 22.
Social/amenities: The Grasshopper Inn is less a pub than an unofficial community centre. As well as offering good bar food - steak on the stone the house specialty, and their thai green curry is also popular - and function rooms for the usual wedding and christening parties, it also hosts everything from pub quizzes to the occasional trad session.
Dunboyne Tennis Club, just off the N3 on the Old Kilbride Road in Clonee village, has over 300 members using its four outdoor, all-weather floodlit courts, practice wall and clubhouse. It offers an extensive coaching programme for juniors and seniors, as well as quizzes, barbecues, fun tennis competitions and fundraisers.
Erin Go Bragh GAA club, operating in Littlepace/Castaheany, fields men's and women's senior teams, and has underage teams, plus a nursery for children aged 4-7.
Clonee United soccer team is also strong.
The Royal Meath Pitch and Putt club, right in the village, has hosted the National Gents' Strokeplay championship, the Inter-County championships, the 1995 renewal of the Ireland v Australia international series, and the first Irish International Open in 2009.
Clonee residents also have easy access to well known golf courses including Royal Tara and the Dunboyne R and R public course, while Castleknock GC is also easily reached. Fairyhouse racecourse is not far away either.
Clonee Music Tuition Centre, in the Coláiste Pobail Setanta secondary school in Hazlebury Park, provides lessons for children and adults living in Clonee, Dunboyne, Ongar, Clonsilla and the greater Blanchardstown area.
Shoppers are well catered for too - Aldi and Lidl both have branches in the village, but Blanchardstown shopping centre, with its huge range of shops, cinema and the Draiocht arts & entertainment centre, is only a short drive away, as is Phoenix Park and the National Aquatic Centre.
Transport: Served by Hansfield Station in nearby Ongar, Dunboyne station and Clonsilla, trains can be taken to the Dublin Docklands, via Dublin city, and to Dunboyne and MS Parkway in the opposite direction.
Clonee village is accessible by Dublin Bus routes 70 (Baggot St-Dunboyne) and 270 (Blanchardstown Shopping Centre-Dunboyne). Bus Eireann routes 109 (to/from Cavan) and 105 (to/from Fairyhouse racecourse) also serve Clonee.
Schools: Clonee is well set up for primary schools, including Educate Together branches in both Hansfield (Barnwell Road) and Castaheany (Ongar village), as well as the Mary Mother of Hope Primary school in the St Charles Houben building in Littlepace, and St Peter's in Dunboyne.
At secondary level, besides Pobal Scoil Setanta, there is an Educate Together Secondary School in Hansfield, while St David's College in Dunboyne is also popular.
Property: Average three-bed semis vary in price from about €240,000 to €290k in Clonee, while a decent four-bed semi would fetch between €290k and €320k.
With little high end activity, this is where most of the market is at. The market has remained steady, even as the Central Bank cap has impacted, with prices about the same as last year.
Satis Property has 24 Bramblefield Walk, a three-bed semi, for €220k; Wilson Moore has opened 6 The Glade, Hunters Run, a three-bed semi, at €259k; while the four-bed semi 2 Hazlebury Green is priced at €295k by Duffy Auctioneers".
Next week: Let's Move To Smithfield