Top reasons why you should consider a move to Knocklyon Co. Dublin
Dublin's most 'suburban suburb' is home to Ireland's biggest primary school and one of Europe's biggest clubs
TO the outsider Knocklyon means two things: suburbia and Superquinn, sorry, SuperValu. And perhaps to someone looking in, it might even be Dublin's most suburban suburb. This urban village in south west Dublin is so 'new' it's sometimes defined more by where it's not than where it is: it isn't really Ballyboden, Firhouse, Tallaght Rathfarnham or Dundrum.
Of course the Inbetweeners of Knocklyon don't see it like this. As they see it, they're at the centre of a solid, settled suburb.
For them, the shopping centre on Knocklyon Road, the nearby St Colmcille's Catholic Church and primary and secondary schools of the same name, and the youth and community centre are the centre of the universe mom and dad moved to in the 1970s or 1980s when a sleepy rural village exploded. There were just nine houses and 46 people in 1901, says the census for that year. But Knocklyon was transformed as umpteen new estates were cut from fields and foothills beneath the Dublin Mountains.
They built the houses and the rest followed - shopping centre, schools and infrastructure. Testimony to its virtues is that the adult children of the first settlers and their young families compete to live there, if they can afford it, or trade up into it.
For these reasons Knocklyon is young and old at the same time. The local Irish Countrywomen's Association Guild's fascinating history of the area, Knocklyon Past And Present, notes that Strongbow - known for his leading role in the Norman Invasion of Ireland - granted Walter de Ridelford the lands of Knocklyon and adjoining lands in the 12th century. Before Strongbow was Colmcille - whose 'holy well' off Ballyboden Road, which was apparently sacred in pagan times too, is creepy to behold with coins cast in and offerings like ribbons, jewellery and hair extensions hanging from trees.
It is also overlooked by the ruins of the infamous hilltop Hellfire Club - where 18th century toffs drank and debauched and followed the strange Satanic rituals popular in such circles at the time, inspiring bedtime tales of terror for local children for generations thereafter.
Knocklyon is the Anglicised version of any of the following: Cnoclaighen - Hill of Leinster, Cnocluin - O'Liun's Hill or O'Tlynn's Hill, or Cnocliomhna - Hill of the Pool, believed to be a hill and pool behind 15th century Knocklyon Castle, still there on Castlefield Avenue.
But Knocklyon is young insofar as the parish was only established in 1974. It occupies a narrow valley south of Templeogue and south east of Tallaght, between the Owendoher and Dodder rivers. The townlands are Ballycullen, Knocklyon, Scholarstown and Woodstown.
St Colmcille's National School opened in 1976 and has expanded to be reportedly the largest primary school in the country with over 1,500 pupils.
In the 1970s and 80s more estates sprang up - including Templeroan, Orlagh, Woodstock, Castlefield and Westboume Lodge. 1980 brought Superquinn. In 1989 came the opening of the Youth and Community Centre, a lynchpin of social and community life. As well as sports clubs it caters for such groups as K.A.I.E.S. (Adult Education), speech and drama classes, The Lyon's Den after-school childcare, the Active Retirement Group, and many more social activities.
The first Dublin Bus double decker from Scholarstown Road to the city centre didn't arrive until 1990, the Post Office a year later and 1993 saw the opening of the first local Credit Union.
The Iona pastoral centre opened in in 2000, the year St Colmcille's Community School opened and it now has over 700 secondary students. A measure of the success of the schools and how much the area has grown, is the waiting lists for both. Indeed waiting lists are a big feature of clubs and activities in the village in general, with the popular 112th Scout troop and biggest of all, the Ballyboden St Enda's GAA. Fielding 70 teams, some estimate that St Enda's is one of Europe's largest sports clubs.
The construction of the M50 motorway through the heart of Knocklyon in the late 1980s changed the landscape forever. Most of the suburb is on the east of the motorway. Housing estates to the east include Idrone, Beverly, Dargle Wood, Delaford, Knockaire, Orlagh, Templeroan, and Woodfield. To the west of the M50 are estates such as Castlefield Manor, Glenlyon, Glenvara Park, and Woodstown. These are linked to the rest of Knocklyon by a footbridge and by Junction 12 of the motorway.
Residents feared the worst when the M50 was being built, in terms of how it might divide the area both literally and metaphorically but, if anything, the community spirit and vigour that defines Knocklyon strengthened and they have retained more than just the same Dublin 16 postal code.
A solidly middle-class area means solid middle-class house prices. The average three-bed semi ranges from €350,000 to €380,000, almost bang on the Dublin average; a four bed semi will go for over €400,000, while detached houses around Beverley, Idrone and Lansdowne can go for €900,000, or more
The Central Bank's limits on mortgage lending have had an affect on the Irish property market in general, and estate agents in Knocklyon report a dramatic shortening of at least some queues in the area - those attending viewings for new houses. According to Damien Dillon, of property consultants Dillon Marshall, "This time last year you would have 30-40 for a viewing, now you'd have maybe three or four. The bottom has dropped out of the first-time buyer's market; talking to guys in the bank, they confirm it's at a standstill".
The thing is, those three or four people tend to be committed and Sinead Beggan, of McGuirk Beggan, sees it as an indication of a more measured market, which she says is no bad thing. "Prices have pulled back from last year," she confirms, "people tend to be quite specific in what they are after. For example, you have people who bought in Ballycullen in 2007/08 and now want to trade up to Knocklyon, where their parents and families live."
Because of the level of activity in the housing market locally last year, Beggan reports housing stock levels have increased, with the last phase of the Dalriada development coming on the market shortly.
Social/amenities: With the Dublin mountains nearby and many woods, parks and forest walks to chose from, the area is wonderful for all who love the great outdoors. On your doorstep are are the extensive and well-used Marlay Park in Rathfarnham, and St Enda's Park, home to the Patrick Pearse Museum, on the site of his famous school of the same name. Bushy Park in Terenure, or Tymon Park, again is not far by car. The sporting life is well catered for, with Ballyboden St Enda's GAA - over 1,000 children attended the club's six-week Summer Camp last year - and Knocklyon United soccer club, which has 35 schoolboy teams and two Leinster Senior League teams, catering for large numbers, young and old.
The 112th Dublin (Knocklyon) Scout Unit is the second largest in Ireland, with almost 300 youth members and 70 adult ones. And a waiting list!
The best known pubs are Delaneys, or the Knocklyon Inn, on the Knocklyon Road, and Morton's, on the Ballycullen Road, on the border of Firhouse and Knocklyon. Restaurants however are sparse in the area.
Transport: Served by Dublin Bus 15, 15F, 15E, 49, 49A, 74, 75 and drivers, of course enter and leave from M50 junction 12.
Shopping: As well as the aforementioned Knocklyon shopping centre, there are any amount of shopping centres minutes away, with two in Rathfarnham alone. Dundrum Shopping centre is close enough, as is The Square in Tallaght.
Property: 211 Glenvara Park is looking for €360,000. But demand is there and 5 Templeroan Drive (REA Ed Dempsey), also a three-bed semi, is asking for €440,000. Number 78 Glenvara Park (McGuirk Beggan), a four-bed semi, starts at €450,000. Number 15 Dalriada Avenue (McGuirk Beggan), a four-bed townhouse, quotes €365,000.
The Dublin Mountains
Top parks everywhere you look
A great community spirit
A big sports area
Too much traffic and parking's not easy
Big waiting lists for schools and social clubs
Amenities straining to keep up with growth