Your guide to Rochestown: Monks and big houses where Cork meets the countryside

Cork’s upmarket suburb comes highly recommended.

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 TO THE SOUTH-east of Cork city, the settlement of Rochestown has been there for hundreds of years – appearing in local records as early as 1385. But for almost all of that time, it was a country area.

Even in the 19th century, when trains halted at Rochestown station between Cork and Passage West, it was a rural stop. There were several big houses and their lands in the neighbourhood, as well as the Capuchin friary that has become St Francis’ College.

It is only in the last half-century or so that today’s mix of estates and larger homes has sprung up, joining the village to Douglas and the city. Rochestown is primarily residential, with most commercial activity taking place in Douglas and even Passage West.

The older developments like Maryborough are on the west side of the townland, giving way to newer estates including Mount Oval and detached homes on more substantial plots as the area meets the countryside to the east.

Take me there! OK, here you are at the shops in the middle of Mount Oval.

So what’s the big draw? Rochestown has a reputation as an upmarket area, and there are some pockets of impressive houses. However, most of the townland is made up of estates with a good reputation for being family-friendly.

It combines quick access to the shops and amenities in Douglas with a greener setting.

What do people love about it? It combines the best of rural and city living, says resident Aiveen Casey – and has a strong local community to boot:

Living in Rochestown, you can enjoy the benefits of living in a rural setting while also being located only a stone’s throw away from all of the main road networks around Cork City. So you get the ‘country’ feel to your everyday life, but you’re only ever a few minutes away from any of the amenities you might need.
People in Rochestown generally keep to themselves: sometimes that might be perceived as a ‘lack of community’, but you see what the community is all about when someone local requires help, and then the whole community unites to rally around them. It can be quite family-like in that regard.

And… what do people NOT love about it? The Rochestown Inn is a local landmark which shut its doors a couple of years ago. It’s missed, says Aiveen.

If I could change one thing about the area, I would bring back the Rochestown Inn which closed down a couple of years ago. Though obviously there are pubs in Mount Oval and Douglas nearby, ‘The Inn’ was very much a staple of the community – a bit of a landmark. To see it boarded up for so long is a shame.

What’s the story with house prices? Rochestown is seen as one of the most desirable areas anywhere in Cork, and prices reflect this. The average asking price in Q1 2018 was €327,899 according to Daft.ie – higher than almost anywhere else in the county, with the exception of Kinsale.

How long will it take me into the city? It’s a 15-minute drive into the centre of Cork – although rush hour traffic changes this dramatically.

The 223 Bus Éireann service takes a similar length of time along the Rochestown Road, or the 216 takes a more roundabout route to the south.

Where should I get lunch? There are a host of options in Douglas and Passage. Rochestown itself is more limited, but you could do a lot worse than a visit to the Cinnamon Cottage – a takeaway deli and bakery serving excellent cakes, coffees and salads.

Alternatives: Head to Douglas for a feed at Eco’s, or an excellent Indian meal at Haveli.

And what’s my new local? The Mount Oval Bar is a sizeable pub and venue, with a focus on sports and a solid grub offering too.

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Alternatives: In Douglas, try the South County or Barry’s, very much an institution on this side of Cork.

Schools and supermarkets? Major supermarkets are at the two large shopping centres in Douglas. There’s a Dunnes at Douglas Court, or a Tesco Extra and an M&S at Douglas Village.

There are two primary schools in Rochestown itself: Rochestown NS (Catholic, mixed, 504 pupils), and Douglas Rochestown Educate Together (multidenominational, mixed, 262 pupils).

There is one secondary school, the aforementioned St Francis Capuchin College, aka Roco (Catholic, boys, 711 pupils).

Anything else I should check out? Part of the route of the old railway line through Rochestown has been turned into a walkway, running from Passage West to Hop Island and across a pedestrian bridge from Rochestown to Blackrock. It’s a beautiful stroll on a sunny day.

OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Rochestown trivia to impress a local. Oldcourt Woods, sometimes known as Garryduff, is now a small pocket of forested land with peaceful walking trails. It’s an oasis so close to the centre of Cork. But during the Civil War, these woods were the site of fierce fighting. Anti-Treaty troops attempted to repel a large Free State force advancing on Cork in 1922, with bloodshed on both sides – before the pro-Treaty side took the city decisively.

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