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LEOPARDSTOWN GOT its colourful name in a colourful way. During the middle ages, it was home to a leper colony. This was one of several in the Dublin area, but the name stuck – and the rural townland became Baile na Lobhar, or Town of the Lepers.
Today, Leopardstown is probably best known for its racecourse – one of the most important in the country, and a Christmas tradition for many Dublin families. But it’s also an increasingly residential area, with large estates nestled between the M50 and the foot of the Dublin mountains. It’s bordered by Sandyford to the north, Foxrock to the east and Stepaside to the south.
Take me there! OK, here you are just off the Ballyogan Road – opposite the big Dunnes.
So what’s the big draw? Broadly speaking, Leopardstown is a quiet and comfortable south Dublin suburb with impressive transport links – the M50 is on your doorstep (almost literally) and the Luas is too. While not having much of a centre in its own right, it’s handy for lots of nearby amenities from Dundrum to Dun Laoghaire. And when you want to get out of the city, the mountains are right there too.
What do people love about it? It’s safe, well-located and relatively affordable, says resident Orla McMahon.
The Luas is on the doorstep and getting into town is a dream! Being at the foot of the mountains, much adventure awaits – great for mountain biking and hiking. And it’s 15 minutes from the sea, so easy to pop out to walk Dun Laoghaire pier in the evenings. A few great pubs and a great Dunnes! We could afford a house and garden so could get a dog! Couldn’t do this in town. And of course safety is key – a cosy suburban spot which feels safe to walk and live in.
And… what do people NOT love about it? It doesn’t have the biggest variety in terms of amenities, says Orla.
It’s not town and doesn’t have a huge variety of restaurants and pubs – we get the Luas to Dundrum, Stillorgan or Ranelagh if looking for variety. There are two parks nearby (Cabinteely and Marlay) but no park on the doorstep… until they build the one they are building very slowly in our estate!
What’s the story with house prices? Fairly steep. The average asking price of a property in Leopardstown is €500,715 according to Daft.ie. That’s a bit higher than D18 neighbours like Cabinteely and Carrickmines (although nowhere near the dizzying heights of neighbouring Foxrock).
How long will it take me to the city centre? It’s just over half an hour in the car outside peak times – heading in either along the N11 or winding through Goatstown, Clonskeagh and Ranelagh. The Luas, however, will reliably get you into town in 25 minutes. Leopardstown is also on several Dublin Bus routes – 44, 47, 63, 114 and 118.
Where should I get lunch? On a Friday check out the weekly farmer’s market at Leopardstown Racecourse, where a range of delicious treats are yours for the taking.
Alternatives: The Art of Coffee is a good option for coffee and pastries in the Central Park development. For something a little fancier, The Gables is a popular restaurante and wine bar just across the road in Foxrock.
And what’s my new local? Leopardstown doesn’t have a rich variety of pubs. Your nearest may be The Gallops, a local whose Guinness comes recommended even if the building itself might lack a little character.
Alternatives: There are other options nearby if you’re looking for something different. The Leopardstown Inn (confusingly located in nearby Stillorgan) offers fancy gastropub fare not far away; you could also try the Horse and Hound in Cabinteely or the Step Inn in Stepaside.
Schools and supermarkets? The aforementioned big Dunnes is in the shopping centre. Other than that, there’s a wealth of options in Stillorgan – another Dunnes, Aldi and SuperValu for starters.
There are four primary schools in Leopardstown or nearby: Holy Trinity (Catholic, mixed, 531 pupils); Gaelscoil Thaobh na Coille (Catholic, mixed, 462 pupils); Gaelscoil Shliabh Rua (multidenominational, mixed, 199 pupils); and Stepaside Educate Together (multidenominational, mixed, 269 pupils).
There are no post-primary schools in Leopardstown itself, although several are nearby.
OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Leopardstown trivia to impress a local. Probably Leopardstown’s most notorious former resident is Richard ‘Boss’ Croker, a colourfully corrupt Irish-American politician, prize-fighter and gang boss who lived in the lavishly appointed Glencairn House – now the official residence of the British Ambassador.
His death in 1922 made the front page of the New York Times, with the immortal headline: “Richard Croker Dies In His Irish Castle As Result Of Cold”.
Do you live in Leopardstown? Share your opinion in the comments!