30 Jan 2017
Bray was once famous for being Irelands largest seaside resort but the north Wicklow town is probably best known for its home-grown talent these days. Bray natives like Katy Taylor, Hozier, Dara O’Briain and Laura Whitmore are all leading the way in their chosen fields.*
Taylor has won multiple European, World and Olympic gold medals on her way to becoming an icon of international women’s boxing. Meanwhile, Hozier has blazed a trail around the world as Ireland’s most exciting musical export since U2.*
O’Briain has also become a household name in the UK thanks to his stand-up, TV work and newspaper columns. Fellow TV presenter Laura Whitmore found fame with MTV before moving on to the likes of I’m a Celebrity.*
It’s an impressive list of young talent from what some people still think of as a “small town” but it’s easy to forget that Bray is the ninth biggest urban area in Ireland. There are plenty of reasons that Bray has become such a desirable place to live.
The beauty of Bray
It’s easy to see what made Bray a famous seaside resort, with a sandy beach that stretches from one end of town to the other. Bray Head is a great amenity for hiking enthusiasts and the surrounding hills offer some beautiful scenic views. The coastal cliff walk from Bray to Greystones remains a major draw for tourists and locals alike.
“Bray traditionally was always a tourist town and it’s still very busy from that perspective,” says Eoin Gregory, Assistant Manager of EBS Bray. “There’s a huge promenade and green area that runs the length of the seafront and the cliff walk is very popular. A lot of people will get the DART to Bray or
Greystones and walk back via the cliffs.”
It’s also a great base from which to explore the many attractions of Co. Wicklow. It’s easy to get to the Wicklow Mountains and the Powerscourt Waterfall and Estate is just down the road.
Bray for first time buyers
A 2-bed apartment in the town can be picked up for €200,000 to €230,000, which is one way for first time buyers on a budget to buy in Bray. Apartments in La Vallee and Riverdale are available for between €210,000 and €230,000.
“There are also smaller houses in Vevoy or Little Bray,” says Eoin. “These 2-bed terraced houses would go for between €240,000 and €280,000 and they’d suit first time buyers because they’re affordable and centrally located.”
Eoin adds that 3-bed semis are available in the town for between €290,000 and €320,000. Although some of these houses may be smaller in terms of square footage, they often come with front and back gardens.
Commuting from Bray
When the railway from Dublin to Bray was opened in 1854, Bray’s popularity as a holiday resort boomed. The arrival of the DART in the eighties turned the town into an attractive option for commuters.
People working in Dublin can easily commute, thanks to regular DART and bus services. The proximity of the M11 and M50 also makes Dublin very accessible by car. Bray is a cheaper option than the likes of Greystones so commuters can enjoy proximity to the city, a great lifestyle and relative affordability.
The variety of housing stock
The range of housing stock in Bray is pretty varied, from apartments for buyers on a budget to large 4-bed family homes. Supply can be an issue but properties include everything from seafront Georgian Houses to 2-bed semis and apartments.
“If you’re look at second time buyers, there are some really nice developments available at slightly higher prices,” says Eoin. “There are 3-bed or 4-bed semis for €400,000 to €450,000 up on Killarney Road.” Areas off Killarney Road like Ripley Hills and Fairyhill offer houses in the €320,000 to €450,000 range.
Bray EBS also caters for people who are seeking bargains further afield. Eoin points out that house hunters can pick up 3-bed or 4-bed semi-detached houses for between €250,000 and €280,000 in areas like Newton Mount Kennedy.
The sense of community
With a population of 32,000, Bray is now a thriving centre on the edge of Dublin. However, it has retained its sense of community and small town charm. It’s no surprise that EBS Bray sees a lot of locals looking to buy in the area.
“We get a lot of people that are living in Dublin and renting,” says Eoin. “Predominantly, the buyers we see would have a pre-existing relationship with people in the town. So their parents are from the town or they’re moving back home to Bray. Second time buyers tend to be returning to Bray and we see a lot of first time buyers that have grown up in Bray. We also see people who work in Bray and are looking to move to the locality.”
With a range of local amenities, a wide selection of schools and easy access to Dublin’s third level universities, Bray’s a great place to raise a family. The presence of Bray Wanderers ensures that it’s a big soccer town but there are also lots of sports and social clubs, offering everything from water sports and fishing to bowling and GAA.
The town gets plenty of tourists and day trippers but it’s well-placed to serve local needs with some great eateries and a bustling social scene that means there’s no need to leave the town at the weekend. Local festivals like Summerfest, the Jazz Festival and the annual Bray Air Display are all popular fixtures on the local social calendar.
The town’s resort roots may be hard to ignore but there is much more to Bray than its seaside setting, amusements and chips on the prom.
Thinking of buying a house in Bray?
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*If we mention celebrities, we're not saying they love us. They secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.