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Is Carlow the best place to live in Dublin's commuter belt?

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16 Jun 2017

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Ireland’s second smallest county punches well above its weight: George Bernard Shaw inherited substantial property in Carlow, and Walt Disney's ancestors emigrated from here. Literature and Disney – the perfect combination!

Amenity-wise, Carlow’s not doing too badly either with two third level facilities – an Institute of Technology and Carlow College, the country's second oldest third level institution, after Trinity College. Good things come in pairs it seems, as the pint-sized county has two cathedrals as well.

And it’s not without its famous faces, citing celebrity associations including Saoirse Ronan, Kathryn Thomas and rugby player, Sean O'Brien.* 

With its €18m Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, and an array of historical and archaeological artefacts, Carlow is on the up.

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Why buy in Carlow?

It’s a rise that’s also reflecting in the number of buyers with plans to commute to and from Dublin, according to Michael Garvan, local EBS manager. 

An hour from Dublin, with impressive road infrastructure, including good link roads, and regular train and bus services, Carlow offers the ability to work in the city while enjoying a sense of community in a vibrant town. There are excellent schools, leisure facilities and sporting and cultural organisations, Michael says.

Significant employers include Merck Sharp & Dohme, Netwatch, Teagasc, the Kerry Group, and the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA), with outlying towns such as Bagenalstown and Tullow also providing jobs.

The shopping redevelopment taking place on the Penneys’ site in Carlow town, due to start this year, is indicative of the positive mood, says Michael. The town and county has a good restaurant offering and buzzing social scene, with Teach Dolmain the go-to place for a mix of traditional music and good food.

The Carlow Arts Festival is in its 37th year too. "The Pan Celtic Festival has also become quite a big occasion in Carlow and it will return to the area next year, making it the fourth time for Carlow hosting, which speaks a lot for the place, its people and the way visitors are looked after," remarks Michael. 

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"Sporting life is strong with GAA, rugby, soccer, rowing, golf, tennis, and badminton among the activities covered. There are also swimming pools and leisure centres. Horse racing is popular in the south of the county, with about six trainers working there," says Michael.

Other options for rest and relaxation include canal cruising on the Barrow, with St Mullins as a postcard perfect example of the scenic backdrops. Hiking on Mount Leinster is popular. The Arboretum Garden Centre in Leighlinbridge is a big draw as are Altamont Gardens in Tullow; Huntington Castle and Gardens in Clonegal; and Duckett's Grove. One thing's for sure, there's no excuse for being a couch potato commuter here.

Carlow for first time buyers

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Graiguecullen, just over the river, offers a good selection of houses at more affordable prices than Carlow town. "Three to four bed semis there go for roughly €140,000 to €200,000.” The area has the advantage of having primary schools and a swimming pool, and there's the possibility of work on unfinished estates starting again. 

For those who prefer to stick to Carlow town, Burrin Road is very central, offering a good choice of houses, and Dolmen Gardens has three bed semis at the cheaper end of the market.

 

Carlow for commuters

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The first train for Dublin departs Carlow at 6.30am, returning at 8.15pm.

A weekly commuter ticket including the Luas costs €107, according to the local station. See online fares at www.irishrail.ie. Early morning buses also go to the capital.

Michael points to a planned new development, on the main Dublin Road, as being of huge interest to commuters. Planning permission is being sought by JC Brenco for 106 houses in a new development called Castle Oaks.

It would be the closest development to the motorway, making it ideal for commuters, according to Seamus Brennan of JC Brenco. Expected prices at the time of writing - April 2016 - were €175,000 for a three bed semi, €210,000 for a four bed semi, and €285,000 for a four bed detached.

 

Carlow for families

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Access to schools is a key consideration for families and Carlow has an abundance of good schools including Knockbeg, St Leo's, the CBS, the Presentation College and a Vocational College. At primary level, the options include a Gaelscoil and Educate Together. For more information, see www.schooldays.ie.

Desirable areas for families include The Glade, Oakpark, Green Road, Bullock Park, Bourlum, Highfield and Browneshill where six new houses are being built, according to Michael. For families in search of rural living, Ballinabrannagh and Killeshin are reasonably close to Carlow, with Leighlinbridge a bit further out. 

In Killeshin, the MB Homes development of B-rated 56 houses is ideal, Michael says. At the time of going to writing there were four four-bed detached 2,400 sq ft homes for sale at Rath Glen, with the next two priced at €269,500.

Located beside the new school, adjacent to the GAA and soccer pitches, the houses appeal to parents who want proximity to town without giving their children too much access to it.

While Carlow might be small, it is mighty with affordable houses, local amenities, and a community feel that makes it great for commuters and settlers alike.

 

Thinking of buying a house in Carlow?

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Before you go house hunting, it's a good idea to get your mortgage arranged – or at least find out where you stand. Get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer and Next Time Buyer guides. You can use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you may be able to borrow.

You can also call in and talk through your mortgage options. They offer a face-to-face service and you can book a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with Fiona or one of the team in the EBS Raheny Office.

Why not pay us a visit on our Facebook page for more great home tips, great competitions and a bit of craic?

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Michael Garvan of M & A Garvan trading as EBS Carlow, 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.

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.

*If we mention celebrities, we're not saying they love us. They secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.

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.

House Prices taken from Daft.ie accessed May 2016.

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