Just like any large city, Dublin has a network of smaller suburban towns that feed into the city center. Opting for the suburbs will give you more bang for your buck (or your euro), offering houses with gardens, nearby parks, family facilities such as playgrounds, swimming pools, and gyms, all with less traffic and costing less money. Of course, the trade-off is it takes longer to get to the city center, and you may not be a suburb sort of person.
About three kilometers (two miles) south of the city center lay the urban areas of Harold's Cross, Rathmines, and Rathgar. These middle-upper class suburbs feature tree-lined streets and detached and semidetached houses. Apartments are usually available, but more common are shared accommodations. The most popular areas are Blackrock and Dalkey to the south of Dublin along the coast, and Clontarf, Howth, and Malahide to the north.
On the Southside of Dublin is Donnybrook, one of Dublin's most exclusive suburbs. The suburb of Donnybrook in the Dublin 4 district is a highly sought after area to live. The area is about 3.5 kilometers (two miles) from the city center near the ferries, the Royal Dublin Society (RDS), and to University College Dublin, and is the home to RTÉ, the national broad- casting center. It is characterized by the various embassies that dominate the area. Expensive properties ring the tree-lined streets, including pretty brick-faced terraced houses, charming cottages, and expensive houses. This stylish Dublin suburb is the home to Donnybrook Stadium, numerous ten- nis clubs, a football club, a cricket club, and various retail shops, grocery stores, and a spa.
Drumcondra is a lovely residential area in the Northside of Dublin, four kilometers (two miles) from the city center. The River Tolka and the Royal Canal flow through Drumcondra, marking pretty patches of green areas and riverfront property. Drumcondra is most well-known for being the home of Croke Park, where Ireland's national Gaelic football and hurling games are played. During games the area overflows with sports fans, lending an almost riotous atmosphere and jam-packed pubs. The rest of the time, however, the suburb is peaceful and quiet.
Dundrum, a Southside suburb of Dublin, was originally a town in its own right. With Dublin's extensive urban sprawl, Dundrum is now a suburban village and district of Dublin. This suburb is about six kilometers (four miles) from the city center and is entirely self-contained. A main street offers retail shops, a post office, banks, and churches. There is a purpose-built shopping center containing a cinema, numerous retail shops, and restaurants. The Luas tram links Dundrum with Dublin city center via Taney Cross.
The suburb of Palmerstown is located seven kilometers (four miles) to the southwest of the city center, bordered by the River Liffey to the north, Lucan to the west, Ballyfermot to the south, and Chapelizod to the east. Palmer- stown is a busy, well-populated suburb, thanks to its convenient location near the M50 motorway, which runs from north to south, and the N4, which runs from east to west. The Dublin Bus stops along both sides of the N4 with regu- lar services into the city center. The amenities of Palmerstown are clustered along the old Lucan Road and called Palmerstown Central -- Palmerstown Upper and Palmerstown Lower are mostly residential and are almost villages unto themselves.
Castleknock, situated on the Dublin-Navan road at the edge of the Phoe- nix Park, seven kilometers (four miles) from Dublin city center, is a conve- nient little suburb offering easy access to the city center and Dublin Airport. Mostly residential, this suburb is one of the nicest areas in the Northside of Dublin. Castleknock is convenient for reaching many parts of Dublin via the ring road. This suburb is most well-known for being where actor Colin Farrell is from.
On the east coast of Ireland, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) from Dublin city center, is Dún Laoghaire. This coastal village is surrounded by rolling hills and offers easy access to Dublin city center on the DART suburban railway. Fishing, golf, and sailing are all readily available, and there are two shopping centers offering a variety of retail businesses.
Situated north of Dublin, 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Dublin city cen- ter, is the commuter town of Swords. Swords is economically diverse, offer- ing everything from upscale, private apartments to family-oriented houses to local authority (social) housing. There is a shopping center, a skate park with adjoining basketball courts and a football field, as well as several golf courses and a number of good schools.
The suburb of Dalkey is a pleasant coastal suburb situated 13 kilometers (eight miles) north of Dublin city. Dalkey was designated a heritage town in 1994 as it offers an understated charm due to its medieval streets, ancient castle, and famous landmarks. The area features a train station on the main street, from which you can walk to seven castles (three of which remain), a 10th-century church and graveyard, the Deilg Inis Living History Theatre, the town hall, and a heritage center. Retail shops are available along the main street, and the coastal road offers a pleasant drive along the water. Killiney Hill Park features a stunning view over Dublin city. The DART suburban train runs every 10-15 minutes to and from Dublin city center, taking about
25 minutes each way.
From the book Moon Living Abroad in Ireland by Christina McDonald. Excerpted by arrangement with Avalon Travel, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012. For more information, visit http://www.moon.com.