Moving to Dublin? Make sure you read this before you decide where to live.
Ireland’s most populous county, Dublin is a lively place with an incredible culture, full of friendly people.
There is always something going on, whether you like buzzing city life, picturesque towns further away from the hustle and bustle, or the tranquillity of nature. The climate is mild and the Guinness is always flowing.
Here’s our guide to the 11 best neighbourhoods in Dublin for British expats…
The oldest area of Dublin and right in the heart of the city on the south side of the river Liffey, Christchurch is famous for its Christchurch and St Patrick’s cathedrals.
Christchurch cathedral is over 1000 years old, and was originally built by a Viking who had converted to Christianity.
Over the centuries the cathedral was rebuilt, to create a magnificent stone structure brimming with history and with incredible architectural features, surrounded by peaceful park land.
But the Christchurch area is more than just its cathedral, it is one of Dublin’s most vibrant areas full of pubs and restaurants, cafés and shops, and home to a large and lively student population attending the renowned Trinity College, and is popular with singles, couples, and families.
The charming seaside town of Dalkey lies just 8 miles outside of Dublin’s city centre, but you would think it was worlds away.
Poised on rolling hills and blessed with stunning sweeping coastal and mountain views, Dalkey has a rich and interesting history, and local sites of interest include Norman castles and a 10th century church.
Many famous and wealthy personalities including Bono and Van Morrison have chosen to make this attractive town their home, and it has become Dublin’s most affluent suburb.
There are many examples of romantic Gothic revival, Victorian, and Georgian buildings and houses in the town, and pretty Coliemore harbour thrums to the rhythm of fishing boats in search of lobster and crab, and offers ferry trips across to nearby picturesque Dalkey Island where seals, rabbits and goats are the only inhabitants.
Go for a hike in the forest or along the quarry paths at Killiney Hill Park , or stroll the pleasant streets and discover cosy pubs, top class restaurants, bakeries and gourmet food shops.
Up and coming Stoneybatter is fast becoming Dublin’s hippest hangout.
This formerly rather run down area of northwest inner city Dublin has, in recent years, seen an influx of investment which has transformed it from a previously somewhat dodgy place into somewhere rather fantastic, where creative types mingle with larger than life local characters.
Stoneybatter’s traditional roots and great sense of community remain, along with lively traditional music pubs, whiskey distilleries, and literary establishments, but many of the attractive red brick buildings have also been revamped to become quirky bars, trendy cafés, and gourmet restaurants.
It’s also right on the edge of the beautiful Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe, where herds of deer roam freely and hiking and biking trails wind between Victorian flower gardens, scenic ponds and zoological gardens.
The gateway to the pretty Dublin suburb of Ballsbridge takes the form of an impressive three arch stone bridge constructed to span the River Dodder in 1791, which leads the way to a delightful red brick Victorian village.
Once a hive of industry, modern Ballbridge has all the charm of an historical town, plus all the benefits of being just a stone’s throw away from Dublin city centre.
It is the home of the Royal Dublin Society, as well as various foreign embassies and diplomatic residences. In fact some of Ireland’s most exclusive residential streets can be found here — with seriously expensive prices to match.
Various rugby clubs also have a foothold here, and there are numerous major sporting events, concerts, and other events held all year round.
Some of Ireland’s finest restaurants can be found here too, in addition to chic bars, cafés, and boutiques, and the 32 acre Herbert Park is a green, safe haven, complete with leafy trees, pond, tennis courts, football fields, and playgrounds for kids.
A calm, friendly, and safe suburb to the north of the city centre, Drumcondra has a pleasant, classic Dublin feel and a historical atmosphere.
The River Tolka and the Grand Canal flow through the area, and the homes in this mainly residential area are mainly attractive Victorian and Edwardian properties.
Drumcondra is particularly popular with families, as well as students and young professionals, and property prices are relatively affordable compared to many other parts of Dublin.
Thanks to the high concentration of residents aged 18 to 30 there is a lively ambience with plenty of local things to do, fabulous restaurants and cafés, and more, and there are good transport links into the city.
When it comes to traditional pubs there are some absolute gems in Drumcondra, including the famous Fagan’s pub which has been frequented by celebrities including Pierce Brosnan, Bill Clinton, and Rory McIlroy, plus the historic Cat and Cage pub which played a part in the Irish fight for independence in1798.
St Stephen’s Green
Dublin’s most lively and beloved city park, St Stephen’s Green occupies 22 acres just south of the city centre.
This green oasis of calm has kept its original Victorian layout and features stunning floral gardens and herbaceous borders, historically important sculptures, ornamental lake with waterfall, and children’s playground.
In summer St Stephen’s Green comes alive with open air concerts and cultural and educational events. As you would expect the area surrounding St Stephen’s Green commands high property prices, and residents are generally well heeled.
There are two major shopping areas nearby, with many major name brands and chic boutiques. Grafton Street also boasts a plethora of cafés, bars, and restaurants — many of which are housed within attractive historical buildings.
The nearby Gaiety Theatre dates from the Victorian era and hosts regular quality musical productions.
Ranelagh and Rathgar
Ranelagh and Rathgar are residential areas located on the south side of Dublin city. The area makes up some of Dublin’s very first suburbs, and there are some fine examples of Victorian and Edwardian period properties, and it is one of Dublin’s property hotspots.
Some of Ireland’s best schools are located in the area, making it a good option for expats with children.
These upmarket, leafy communities feature a good selection of bakeries and gourmet food shops, pleasant cafés, great bars and restaurants, and the many tree lined roads and nearby walks along the canal and the River Dodder create a enjoyable garden city ambience.
This coastal treasure of a town just 10 miles north of the city centre where the Broadmeadow River estuary flows into the ocean, and boasts some extraordinary views of the gorgeous Dublin Bay.
Picture perfect colourful houses and shop fronts lend a festive air to the village, and the many boutiques, cafés and restaurants are always buzzing.
For evening entertainment you can’t beat all of the numerous atmospheric bars offering traditional Irish or acoustic music sessions.
The hub of Malahide life is its vast marina which attracts Irish and International yachts from all over, and the beautiful 2 km long Velvet Strand beach which offers a wealth of watersports including sailing, swimming, coastal walks, and more.
Medieval Malahide Castle presides magnificently over the town, and where you can stroll around the gardens and arboretum or glean an insight into what life was like for the Talbot family who lived there for nearly 800 years.
For shopping and entertainment — it’s difficult to beat Dundrum.
This family friendly residential area is home to Dublin biggest and boldest shopping centre, with over 100 different stores from Harvey Nichols to H&M, more than 40 restaurants and cafés, a 12 screen luxury cinema, crazy golf, a theatre, bars, and nightclubs.
While this retail Mecca is an undeniable draw for many, the town surrounding it also has its charms, with a pleasant and energetic main street, with a beautiful church and welcoming pubs, and a vast library.
Dundrum also has its very own urban farm — Airfield estate — with beautiful gardens and an on site restaurant, as well as plenty of farm animals for the kids to make friends with.
Bordering the previously mentioned Rathgar and Ranelegh areas, Rathmines runs alongside the glorious Grand Canal, and is one of the top areas in Dublin for food and drink.
Away from the city crowds, Rathmines is calm and laid back with a bohemian vibe, and — excellent restaurants and eateries aside — there’s plenty going on here to please all ages and tastes. Some of Dublin’s most unique and dynamic bars are here, and the nightlife is second to none.
The Art Deco Stella Theatre offers the chance to wine and dine in style while watching top films in a luxurious atmosphere.
Rathmines is also wonderfully ethnically diverse and there are a whole host of community activities all year round for everybody to enjoy.
Some of Dublin’s most prestigious properties can be found here, and there are excellent facilities such as parks, gyms, swimming pools, supermarkets, music venues, and more.
Built in the 15th century, Howth Castle stands proud at the heart of Howth, a scenic fishing village jutting out into the sea on a peninsular at the northern boundary of Dublin Bay.
This stunning town is a living, breathing port where you can watch the trawlers bring in their daily catch or snaffle some fish and chips on the picturesque pier with its dramatic coastal views.
The panoramic cliff walks here are unmissable, taking you past tucked away coves and pretty Ireland’s Eye Island.
Howth’s selection of seafood restaurants are second to none, serving up only the freshest fish caught in the surrounding waters.
At the heart of the village not far from the majestic castle with its stunning gardens and ruined abbey, Howth market is a real find, where you can buy everything from local organic produce to Irish handicrafts, antiques, clothes, and jewellery.
In the evening cosy up at one of Howth’s traditional pubs to enjoy live music, dancing, and comedy events.
Where do you think is the best neighbourhood in Dublin for British expats?