Sunday 23 October 2016

Top reasons why you should consider a move to Glasnevin

Largely a middle-class suburb where the living meet the dead, Glasnevin has much to offer

Enda Sheppard

Published 13/11/2015 | 02:30

Leafy and largely middle-class residential Glasnevin. Photo: Bryan Meade.
Leafy and largely middle-class residential Glasnevin. Photo: Bryan Meade.
The National Botanic Gardens. Photo: Bryan Meade.
Tour guide at Glasnevin Cemetery.
Glasnevin is a largely middle-class residential area.
Typical red-bricked houses on a Glasnevin street scene
The pyramid shaped Met Eireann office.
For sale - 62 Iona Road has five bedrooms - €925,000
114 Sycamore Road is a five-bedroomed semi - €575,000.
For sale - 47 Tolka Estate is a two-bedroomed terrace - €325,000.

Glasnevin, just north of the Liffey in Dublin city, is where the living acres of the National Botanic Gardens meet the "dead" fields of Prospect Cemetery, better known as Glasnevin Cemetery.

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With the recent reopening of the gate between the two on the Prospect Square side of the necropolis, one can pass once again from the land of a million living plants into the cultivated avenues and tombs which contain the one million-plus deceased of Dublin … from the feted and the ill-fated to the great uncelebrated.

And one can also learn about many of them in the fascinating museum near the main entrance on Finglas Road or on one of the cemetery's celebrated guided tours.

They are recruiting tour guides right now, as preparations gather pace for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Many of the famous people associated with 1916 and many of the great events in modern Irish history, are buried here, including Patrick Pearse, Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, Countess Constance Markievicz, and the graveyard's founder, Daniel O'Connell.

Leafy and largely middle-class residential, with fine parklands, good schools and also the seat of Dublin City University (DCU), Glasnevin has a long and interesting history.

The name comes from the Irish Glas Naedhe, Glas meaning river, in this case the Tolka River which runs through the village, and O'Naeidhe, a chieftain who established ownership of the area some time before the arrival of the Normans.

With its origins in the sixth century around the monastery of St Mobhi on the northern bank of the Tolka, Glasnevin was the property of Christ Church Cathedral under Laurence O'Toole and was later divided and parcelled out by the Normans before enduring the confiscations and deprivations of the 16th and 17th century Plantations.

By the 18th century it had become a fashionable area for the prosperous and the literary set. The 19th century brought the establishment of the Botanic Gardens and Ireland's largest and most famous cemetery. For the remainder of the century, Glasnevin retained its "pastoral nature" and it was spared the extensive housing that took place over Dublin's southside.

In 1901, Glasnevin became incorporated in Dublin City and developed into the modern red-brick suburb of today.

The best known roads would be Griffith Avenue, which runs through to Drumcondra and Marino and is reputed to be the longest tree-lined avenue in the Northern Hemisphere with no retail outlets, and Iona Road, with its beautiful bay-windowed red-brick Alexander Strain-built houses.

Glasnevin is bordered to the north by Finglas, to the northeast by Ballymun and Santry; with Whitehall to the east, Phibsboro and Drumcondra to the south and Cabra to the west.

One might point out there is no such place as Glasnevin North. This fictitious address is of relatively recent provenance, as parts that were once in Finglas, Ballygall and even Whitehall, have been shifted across to Glasnevin by residents eager to go upmarket without actually moving.

Social/Amenities: Glasnevin residents are lucky to have the gorgeous 7.5-acre Griffith Park, off Millmount Avenue. This gem is divided by the Tolka, where usually there are hungry ducks to feed, and toddlers eager to feed them. .

Another Glasnevin landmark is the distinctive flattened pyramid-shaped Met Eireann office, built in 1975. The pyramid theme is continued in the nearby Our Lady of Dolores Catholic Church.

Glasnevin also has some really nice eateries and pubs.

Andersons Food Hall & Cafe, on The Rise, off Griffith Avenue, is a popular continental-style cafe/wine bar, encompassing a gourmet food store and wine shop. The coffee is great and it is a good place to meet over a plate of charcuterie or homemade desserts and pastries. They also host regular gigs, usually jazz.

The Washerwoman, on Glasnevin Hill, where local women would congregate with their mangles and tubs to wash their clothes in the Tolka, is the suburban sister of restaurateur Elaine Murphy's Winding Stair and Woollen Mills restaurants. Here you will get real, proper, aged steak (from Pat McLoughlin's, the craft butchers).

The Dall'Italiano, on Hart's Corner, does a mean beef cannelloni and great coffee.

One of Dublin city's most famous pubs is John Kavanagh's, known to all as the Gravediggers, beside the old Glasnevin Cemetery entrance on Prospect Square, which has been run by eight generations of the Kavanagh family. The 19th-century charm of this pub has been maintained by the banning of televisions, radio and piped music.

The pub's nickname derives from the gravediggers in the cemetery next door tapping on the side wall of the bar for a pint of plain on a break from their labours.

McMahons, on Botanic Avenue does decent sandwiches, and daily specials might include things like beef short-rib with homemade horseradish creme.

The Tolka House, on Glasnevin Hill, is another institution and the Tolka Sunday Sessions are always popular.

The Brian Boru, on Prospect Road, is a great spot for a quiet drink or a bit of food, while Matt Weldon's, aka The Slipper, on Ballymun Road, is always busy during the week with a mix of DCU students and locals.

On the sporting plane, most notable are those powerhouses of Dublin GAA football, Na Fianna, on Mobhi Road, and the Dublin soccer institution that is Home Farm, who play their matches at Albert College and St Mobhi Road.

Botanic Hockey Club is a women-only hockey club, which uses the fine astro pitch belonging to the St Mary's Holy Faith school, on Clare Road.

Schools/colleges: DCU is expanding rapidly. By 2016 it will have three campuses on the northside of Dublin and student life is vibrant. DCU is also home to the Helix theatre, which hosts a variety of music and theatre events, along with The Voice of Ireland.

Primary schools serving Glasnevin include the all-girls Catholic St Brigid's, on the Old Finglas Road; Glasnevin Educate Together, on Church Avenue; and the Church of Ireland mixed Glasnevin National School, on Botanic Avenue, which Bono attended.

Scoil Mobhí, on Mobhi Road is a gael scoil, and it feeds the adjoining Scoil Chaitriona secondary school.

Other notable secondary school include St Mary's Holy Faith, on the Old Finglas Road, and St Vincent's, also on the Finglas Road.

Property: According to Fiona McGowan, of Mason Estates, the market has slowed around Glasnevin, as a result of the Central Bank caps, especially in the mid-range €300,000 to €500,000 bracket and she predicts a 2% fall in house prices from this time last year.

At the higher end, large properties on Iona Road would fetch over €800,000, while on the newer but still solid Cremore Road, or Cremore Drive, it would not be unusual to go over the million euro mark. Closer to Finglas, and areas bordering Glasnevin to the north, prices fall dramatically, and in the likes of Addison Park, a three-bed semi would go for around €300,000, depending. There is not much available below that, McGowan says.

Lisney is looking for €325,000 for the two-bedroomed terraced 47 Tolka Estate; has the five-bedroomed semi detached 114 Sycamore Road at €575,000; and Mason Estates has priced the five-bedroomed property at 62 Iona Road at €925,000

Glasnevin area cv


Proximity to city centre

Good chools, parks and amenities

Attractive leafy roads


House prices, buying or renting

Glasnevin North wannabes

Heavy traffic can slow movement at peak times

Indo Property

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