In the third instalment of our Neighbourhoods series, we expand our focus to three more areas that are proving popular with first-time buyers across Ireland: this week we look at The Liberties in Dublin 8; Newbridge, County Kildare; and Mullingar, County Westmeath.
The Liberties has always been an area of Dublin that has been at the centre of discussion. Its history as an Anglo-Norman townland, united with the city, but under its own jurisdiction, is an apt metaphor for the area today. For while it’s very much part of Dublin city centre, it retains its own way of doing things. That “own way” is by combining the traditions of the past - the markets of Meath Street and the antique outlets of Francis Street, with the modern digital business growth of the city, with the Digital Hub playing host to a number of Irish and international companies. These factors, combined with a city centre location, make it one of the best-value areas to buy across the capital.
The regeneration that’s going to happen in the area is going to be huge
“You’re looking at an area that now has a significant tech-sector industry,” says Barry Groarke, Bank of Ireland’s branch manager for St James’s Street. “The Digital Hub caters to over 100 companies. You also have Diageo and the Guinness Storehouse as well. The location of The Liberties in the city centre is also key to the growth of the area.
“The regeneration that’s going to happen in the area is going to be huge. The regeneration of the Iveagh Markets on Francis Street is going to be great for the area with a hotel and a series of restaurants planned.
“There’s a new whiskey distillery as well, which will have a €25m investment. People see the area as one that’s been neglected for a long time and that is now changing with the amount of investment that is coming in through the tech sector and micro-breweries.”
The proximity to the city centre, as well as the nearby St James’s Hospital, and also of course the international financial and tech hub that is the Docklands, has led to purchasers looking anew at the Liberties as a place to live with close proximity to all these employers, but also with a price range on properties that is far more affordable than surrounding areas such as Dublin 2 or 4.
“There’s St James’s Hospital which has 3,500 employees, which is huge for the area as well. It’s a great facility and a lot of the staff from the hospital are settling nearby,” says Groarke.
“I also run the Smithfield branch of Bank of Ireland and the growth that has happened over the last ten years there is beginning to happen in Dublin 8 now. If you look at the Docklands area, they have run out of space to build offices and residential properties, and Dublin 8 is taking advantage of that.”
The issue over the last number of years in the area has been a lack of living facilities, such as dining options, but along with the increase in residential property sales, a number of new service outlets have begun to open up.
“There’s a number of new coffee shops and gastropubs springing up like Legit on Meath Street and the Beer Market on High Street,” says Groarke. “Those type of facilities have changed the area and raised the standard of living dramatically. The new coffee shops are not just appealing to the residents but are also drawing people in from other parts of the city.”
THE LIBERTIES: FEATURES AND FACILITIES
The Liberties is located in the south-west section of Dublin city centre. Dating from the Anglo-Norman period of the 12th century, the town was connected to the city, but had its own jurisdiction. In the 17th century it became home to a large number of immigrating Huguenots who traded as weavers and built their own style of home with large gables at the front of the premises.
Today, the area is one of the most vibrant and bustling areas of the city. The traditional markets of old Dublin are still there, but they are intermingled with digital technology businesses and two of the county’s best coffee shops in French-run Legit on Meath Street and hipster’s paradise Two Pups on Francis Street.
The presence of the National College of Art and Design adds a creative element to the area, which is a continuation of the atmosphere of the antique quarter of Francis Street, the Cross Art Gallery and the nearby Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Music is also catered for by the live music venue The Tivoli and the Thomas House, which is famous for its punk, rock and reggae amalgamation.
There are also a number of cultural attractions in the area that include the Guinness Storehouse, Teeling’s Whiskey Distillery, St Patrick�s and Christchurch Cathedrals.