Your guide to Castletroy: Limerick's leafy studentville on the Shannon

The largest suburb in Munster has plenty going for it.

Your Neighbourhood is a series of local area guides from TheJournal.ie, presented by KBC. We’re bringing you the best of city neighbourhoods combined with the latest property data. 

JUST HALF A century ago, Castletroy was a mostly rural area outside Limerick city. The villages of Monaleen and Annacotty were entirely separate, and most of the rest of the neighbourhood was farmland and fields.

That all started to change with the establishment of the University of Limerick in 1972 on the old grounds of Plassey House. Students began to arrive, and over the next few decades, Castletroy became one of the fastest-growing towns in the country. It’s now (at least according to some) the largest suburb in Munster.

The first major housing developments – now some of the oldest homes in the area – were clustered between Monaleen and the UL campus. Since then, Castletroy has expanded east and south, gaining a shopping centre, cinema and the other amenities that make it a regional centre.

Of course a large number of residents are students – more than half, by some counts. But the area is also home to families young and old.

Take me there! But of course. Here you are in front of the shopping centre.

So what’s the big draw? A lot of people – students and otherwise – move to Castletroy because of its proximity to UL. The university brings with it an impressive array of amenities, and has a knock-on effect for shopping and other facilities in the area too. But it’s not the only thing going for the neighbourhood.

There is also the convenient location between the city and the M7 – you can be on the motorway in minutes, which is great for anyone who needs to travel for work. And the area comes with an impressive amount of green space, both on campus and off.

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What do people love about it? The location and facilities are great, says Eoin Hinchy.

There’s great amenities in the area such as supermarkets, coffee shops, banks, post office, sports facilities in UL and a cinema! It’s ideally located nested between the M7 and Dublin road, meaning it’s easy to get into the city or out to the country.

Enda Dowling agrees, adding that the university isn’t just for students:

I really like the proximity to Annacotty – a small village with lovely restaurants – Clare Glens Waterfall & Killalloo. The [UL] facilities there that are available to non-students are great – gym, pitches, boat club etc. Also the University Concert Hall often has a decent line-up of performances for the year.

And… what do people NOT love about it? The pace of growth means some infrastructure – the buses, for instance – has been a little slow to catch up, says Eoin.

Public transport in the area is poor, and hasn’t really adjusted to meet the new demand from the rapid population growth. Traffic in the area can be exceptionally heavy at rush hour on Fridays, especially during the academic semesters.

Enda adds that the nightlife can be dominated by the student scene, at the expense of others.

There aren’t many pubs in Castletroy. There are plenty on campus, and off campus The Hurler’s is still predominantly a student pub. But outside of that you just have hotel bars.

suburban autumn🍁🍂#autumn #october #limerick #suburbia #ireland

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What’s the story with house prices? The average asking price in the first three months of 2018 was €210,397. That’s substantially higher than the average in Limerick city itself, but lower than in Annacotty village and other older suburbs like Patrickswell.

How long will it take me to the city centre? It’s a 20-minute drive from Castletroy Shopping Centre to the centre of Limerick; the distance from the university is about the same.

The 304 and 308 buses run to and from the university and take roughly 20 minutes also.

Where should I get lunch? Try Hook and Ladder, whose Castletroy location is in the shopping centre. They serve an extensive menu of salads and sambos with a focus on local ingredients (the owners also run a cookery school).

Mmmm mixed berry salad in the sunshine @hookandladder2 @ciara2404 ☀️ 😁

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Alternatives: Café Noir is a Limerick mini-chain with French cafe aspirations and good baked things. For something more substantial, Brew Bros serve high-end burgers and other fast food standards.

And what’s my new local? The Hurlers is a big local on the Dublin Road, which also draws some of the student crowd from the UL campus. It has a reputation as a friendly family-run bar with good pints, and a nice outside area for the summer.

Schools and supermarkets? There’s a big SuperValu in the shopping centre, and a Lidl across the road. Aldi is on the Dublin Road into town, with a Dunnes nearby too.

There are three large primary schools in Castletroy itself: Milford Grange (Catholic, mixed, 502 pupils); Moin A Lin (Catholic, mixed, 864 pupils); and Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh (Catholic, mixed, 341 pupils).

There is one post-primary school, Castletroy College (interdenominational, mixed, 1213 pupils).

Anything else I should check out? In an unobtrusive Castletroy laneway there is a small Jewish cemetery, a monument to the rise and decline of a Limerick community. Around the turn of the 20th century, there was a vibrant Jewish community in the city who purchased the plot as a graveyard. But a series of violent attacks on Jewish families – known as the Limerick pogrom and fuelled by a local Catholic priest from the pulpit – drove many out.

The cemetery fell into disrepair, but was restored as a community green space by the council. Just 12 headstones remain, two of which are to ‘unknown Jewish souls’.

OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Castletroy trivia to impress a local. According to the official history, the crews of the aircraft that flew successive US Presidents to Ireland on State visits played rounds of golf at Castletroy while waiting for their bosses to finish shaking hands and posing with pints of Guinness.

Do you live in Castletroy? Share your opinion in the comments!