28 Feb 2017
A presidential pub, a bishop's palace, a builder with a century-old reputation still intact and Ireland's biggest sports arena – Drumcondra is not your average Dublin suburb.
Not many boast a pub which boasts a US president among its "locals". But Bertie Ahern typically took then-US President Bill Clinton out for a pint in Fagans on Drumcondra Road, a classy red-brick establishment, like many homes in the area*.
The incident was typical of this north city suburb – it's down to earth, yet also the scene of nationally-significant events, such as those played out in 82,000-seat Croke Park, come All-Ireland day.
"To compensate for all the traffic on match day, locals in the immediate vicinity of Croke Park do get some compensation; they are entered into a lottery for free match tickets," explains Joe Cashin, manager of the local EBS branch.
Drumcondra is probably the northside equivalent of Rathmines – only cheaper. Both suburbs are about the same distance from the city centre and bordered by a canal and both feature many homes built in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, a golden age for house building. The Archbishop of Dublin resides in a classic example, known as the bishop's palace, on Drumcondra Road.
*Pope Francis need not get alarmed at such apparent ostentation – the "palace" is not that palatial. It's officially known as Archbishop's House and serves as an office. The grounds are also open to locals and are popular with dog-walkers, presumably with the bishop's blessing!
Here are seven other features of the area you should know about before buying in Drumcondra:
1. Alexander Strain
You sometimes see the word "Strain-built" on the brochures for homes in Drumcondra and Glasnevin. This refers to Alexander Strain, a northside builder renowned for the quality of his work, even in the era of Edwardian excellence*. Extraordinarily, his reputation still carries weight today. Strain-built is a by-word for build quality.
"However, it doesn't mean some refurbishment won't be needed if the house hasn't been touched since 1910," says Joe.
One Strain-built four-bed on Achill Road was priced at €695,000 when we looked on Myhome.ie. It had a modern extended kitchen and all of its Edwardian features, including period fireplaces, stained glass, cornicing and granite features set into the redbrick walls. Strain also built on Lindsay Road, where a 3-bed was priced at €650,000.
2. Family homes
There are plenty of family-sized homes in the area at prices that won't break the bank compared to southside Dublin. Myhome.ie listed a four-bed Victorian terraced home on Clonliffe Road. It wasn't Strain-built, but nor was the price tag at €340,000.
"The average price for a standard family house around here is late €300,000s," says Joe. "A 3-bed terraced home in Millmount would be small enough to get you into the area but, maybe, with the potential to extend."
3. First Time Buyers
"Young buyers will struggle to get into the area for much less than €200,000,"Joe advises.
When we looked on Myhome.ie, there was a 2-bed terraced house for €160,000 on Holycross Avenue. Young families tend to go to Hardiman Road where a 2-bed cost €325,000 or Ferguson Road, where a 3-bed in need of a lot of work had a price tag of €230,000.
"These are usually terraced or end-of-terrace homes with some garden that might suit a small family," Joe says.
If you view an apartment in Drumcondra that looks strangely familiar, there could be a good reason. Much of the action in Dublin crime drama Love/Hate was filmed in a penthouse in Drumcondra, overlooking Croke Park, where gang leader John Boy "lived"*.
The entire block – 14 units, including John Boy's – sold late last year for €3.5 million.
That works out at €250,000 apiece, which is about average for the area. Out of 20 apartments for sale on Myhome.ie, only 5 were priced at less than €200,000.
"A lot of FTBs are shying away from apartments anyway. They don't resolve the long term problem of acquiring a family home," Joe notes. However, a classy big apartment might suit an older couple trading down from their Strain-built pile on which they can cash in and "make a packet."
"Most of the local bus routes converge on Drumcondra," says Joe. The Swords quality bus corridor goes through Drumcondra village, where €410,000 is being spent on a major upgrade to remove a bottleneck. Drumcondra also has its own train station which will get you into town in as little as 10 minutes. This seems destined to part of the Metro North line that should link it to the airport in 15 minutes.
Before you go house hunting it's a good idea to get your mortgage arranged – or at least discussed so you know where you stand.
If you'd like to talk through your mortgage options book a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with Joe or one of the team in the local EBS office, 8 Upper Drumcondra Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 (Tel: 01 8372831). You can also use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you may be able to borrow.
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The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.
EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.
Norca Ltd trading as EBS Drumcondra is a tied mortgage agent acting solely on behalf of EBS d.a.c. EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
*If we mention celebrities, we're not saying they love us. They secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.
House Prices taken from MyHome.ie accessed March 2015.