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.
THE DOUGLAS AREA has been settled since prehistoric times, and as far back as 1302 the neighbourhood was listed – as ‘Duffelglasse’ – as a distinct community just south of the river Lee.
It grew quickly through the 18th and 19th centuries, gaining a reputation as a desirable area with a concentration of ‘big houses’ owned by the local nobility. (It was also home to lots of linen and textile mills.)
But it was in the second half of the 20th century that today’s Douglas really began to take shape, as large housing estates sprang up linking the historic village to the city. The last several decades have seen waves of young families move to the area and settle, with many of their children staying in Douglas for a second generation. (People still call it ‘the village’, though.)
There’s a division of sorts between east and west Douglas, with the east village being the focus of much new development. Commercially, Douglas is now based around two large shopping centres – which have taken some of the life from the old centre, but also serve to draw people and jobs into the area from neighbouring suburbs.
Take me there! OK, here you are outside Barry’s pub in the heart of the east village.
So what’s the big draw? Douglas is popular with families for its schools, the amenities that serve the wider southwestern suburbs, and a good housing stock – but perhaps the biggest draw is the area’s strong community.
Many residents are now second-generation Douglasites who have bought homes close to where they grew up, and the neighbourhood is well looked after. (The high-vis vests of the Tidy Towns volunteers on a Saturday morning are just one symptom.)
What do people love about it? Resident of more than two decades Paul Seymour emphasises this community spirit – but also the fact that Douglas is so well-supplied for a place so close to the city:
I love the fact that I can survive quite happily in Douglas without needing to go into the city. There are restaurants and bars, a cinema, convenient access to the South Link Road, sports clubs, an airport ten minutes from my house in one direction and a train station 12 minutes in another.
In plain terms, it’s also an attractive neighbourhood, says Margaret Barry:
What I love about Douglas is walking around the area – admiring old houses on the Douglas Road, walking through Ballinlough community park, down through the village and then though the ‘Mangla’, a woodland area which has been cleaned up to provide a secluded walk from Douglas village to Donnybrook.
And… what do people NOT love about it? The traffic, says Paul:
The one thing that I would change about Douglas is its road infrastructure. In Douglas west, there is 19th-century road infrastructure into which 21st-century traffic needs to fit as it trundles towards Cork city in the morning from a sprawling, south-westerly suburbia.
Margaret, meanwhile, flags the impact of the shopping centres.
The large Tesco Shopping Centre which – in my opinion – tore the heart out of Douglas Village and resulted in a lot of local enterprises closing down. Efforts are now being made to undo this damage and the village is slowly coming back to life but unfortunately, our planners must take responsibility for the large monstrosity that blots the landscape.
What’s the story with house prices? Prices in Douglas are relatively steep. The average asking price of a property is €298,300 according to the latest figures from Daft.ie – more than 10 per cent over the national average of roughly €262,000. However, housing is still cheaper than in neighbouring Blackrock, where the average property is listed at €314,400.
How long will it take me to the city centre? From Douglas Village Shopping Centre, it’s a 45-minute walk in to Patrick Street. The same journey will take you about 15 minutes in a car if the traffic isn’t bad.
You can also get the bus, which will take you 15-20 minutes or so. Bus Éireann routes 206, 207, 216, 219, 220 and 223 all pass through Douglas.
Where should I get lunch? Eco’s is a local institution serving plentiful portions of incredible variety – from penne to Pad Thai, steaks to satay. There’s something for everyone.
And what’s my new local? The South County comes recommended for a quiet drink. They specialise in whiskey, craft beer and trad sessions.
Alternatives: Barry’s is at the heart of the village and has been serving pints to the neighbourhood for upwards of two hundred years. Or for a smaller place, a lot of Douglas locals would say the old Southern Star is worth the walk towards town.
Schools and supermarkets? There’s a Tesco Extra in Douglas Village Shopping Centre, and a large Dunnes in Douglas Court – which also has a Marks & Spencer food outlet.
Further west, there is an Aldi and a SuperValu on the Grange Road. There is also a rare Iceland on the Douglas Road towards town.
There are six primary schools nearby: Scoil Naomh Brid (Catholic, girls); St Luke’s (Church of Ireland, mixed); Douglas BNS and St Columba’s NS (boys and girls respectively, Catholic); Scoil an Athair Tadhg o Murchu (Catholic Gaelscoil, mixed); and Scoil Niocláis (Catholic, mixed).
There are three post-primary schools: Douglas Community School (interdenominational, boys); Regina Mundi College (Catholic, girls); and nearer to town, Christ King girls’ secondary school (Catholic, girls).
Anything else I should check out? You can’t really go to Douglas without visiting KC’s. KC & Son & Sons – to give it its full name – is a legendary chipper that caters to long queues day and night, dishing up a unique menu of pitta sandwiches (and much much more). Go, eat, enjoy.
OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Douglas trivia to impress a local. Local landmark Vernon Mount House – now just a decaying shell of a stately home, although efforts are under way to preserve it – played host to an incredible story of kidnapping, transportation and corruption. Read more here.
Do you live in Douglas? Share your opinion in the comments!