Your guide to Shankill and Loughlinstown: Seaside village with a ghost story attached

And clutch of Tidy Towns medals.

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. 

STRETCHED ALONG the N11 as it leaves Dublin city are the suburbs of Loughlinstown, Ballybrack and Shankill – three settlements with ancient origins that have seen rapid growth in recent years.

The area was inhabited as early as 2,500BC, when the portal tomb known today as Ballybrack Dolmen was constructed. But it took its current shape in the 19th century, thanks in part to a ruthless landlord – and a more sympathetic one.

Sir Charles Compton William Domville owned much of Shankill in the 19th century, and aimed to develop it as a desirable out-of-town base for well-heeled Dubliners. This meant evicting lots of his previous tenants (he tried to kick at least one out on Christmas Day). Some were forced into penury in the local workhouse, but lucky ones were given smallholdings by another local landowner, Benjamin Tilly. The cluster of their houses became what is today Shankill village.

Meanwhile, the railway was extending down the coast, bringing Shankill and neighbouring areas within easy reach of the city. The area’s population has been growing ever since. Rapid construction of housing estates since the 1970s has been helped along recently by the arrival of the green line Luas at Bride’s Glen.

Today, Shankill is home to most of the commercial activity – and the older housing stock. Newer estates radiate from there, with prices often decreasing with distance from the village.

Take me there! OK, here you are in Shankill village outside Brady’s pub.

So what’s the big draw? Between them, Shankill, Loughlinstown and Ballybrack have many different things to offer. But Shankill in particular has a village atmosphere, with an old main street and a community to match (it’s a regular medal-winner in the annual Tidy Towns competition, always a sign of active local organisations).

Oh, and did we mention the beach? There aren’t too many places along the south Dublin coastline where properties are available on a salary of less than the average, well, millionaire. But this is one. It’s pretty quiet, family friendly, and handily situated between city and countryside.

What do people love about it? It’s by the beach and handy for the city too, says dad-of-two Seán Muldoon.

It’s the best of both worlds. My own estate – Corbawn Wood – is about a two minute walk to the Dart station and two minutes the other way is the beach. Town is 30 minutes away on the Dart but then you have the suburbs too.There’s a great sense of community here as you’d expect. It’s a very settled area. There are primary and secondary schools, a hospital and the usual watering holes. I think people think Shankill is very far away when they hear you live there. It’s really not. It has nearly everything. I couldn’t think of a nicer place to bring up a young family.

And… what do people NOT love about it? Shankill itself could do with a proper supermarket, says Seán – but that’s a quibble.

Nothing springs to mind here about what I’d change – other than the occasional loud neighbour. The only thing the place needs is a proper supermarket. We have a Tesco Express in the middle of the village but there’s not much parking and it’s quite small. The shopping centre near Corbawn Lane shut down years ago and hasn’t been replaced – there’s just the Chinese there. A big supermarket there would do the business. But that’s the only complaint, really.

What’s the story with house prices? Not cheap – but still, Shankill and its satellites have some of the lowest average prices in south county Dublin. The average asking price in Ballybrack and Loughlinstown is €402,135 according to Daft.ie, while in Shankill proper it climbs to €455,603.

How long will it take me to the city centre? Well, you’ve a wealth of options. The Dart from Shankill will get you into Tara Street in just over half an hour, with the Luas from Bride’s Glen taking just a few minutes longer to Stephen’s Green.

The journey by car takes about the same time, either via the N11 or along the M50 and in through Dundrum or Clonskeagh. However, it varies more by time of day – at rush hour the N11 in particular is a notorious car park.

There’s also the 145 and 7B bus routes.

Where should I get lunch? It’s a little out of the main village, but Cafe Gourmet – formerly the One Cafe – is a friendly spot on a small retail strip that serves breakfast and lunchtime goodies.

Alternatives: Bernardo’s chipper is a local institution. Or for an evening in, Graces Garden – the Chinese takeaway above Brady’s pub – comes recommended by locals.

And what’s my new local? The aforementioned Brady’s is a big old pub at the heart of Shankill village with a clutch of awards to its name (it was recently up for Local Pub Of The Year 2019).

Further north, try the Igo Inn in Ballybrack, which also has a beer garden for those sunny days.

Schools and supermarkets? There’s a Lidl and a Tesco Express in Shankill, plus a Tesco Superstore at the north end of Ballybrack. Other than that it’s a trip to Bray, where there’s a Lidl and a SuperValu conveniently positioned at the Shankill end of town.

There are eight primary schools in the area. In Loughlinstown, Scoil Colmcille junior and senior (Catholic, mixed, 161 and 153 pupils). In Ballybrack, St Johns (Catholic, mixed, 172 pupils); Gaelscoil Phadraig (Catholic, mixed, 149 pupils); and St Columbanus (Catholic, mixed, 107 pupils). And in Shankill, Scoil Mhuire (Catholic, mixed, 339 pupils); Rathmichael NS (Church of Ireland, mixed, 216 pupils); and St Anne’s (Catholic, mixed, 496 pupils).

There are three post-primary schools: St Laurence College (Catholic, mixed, 270 pupils); Holy Child (Catholic, girls, 341 pupils) and John Scottus (interdenominational, mixed, 120 pupils).

OK, I’m sold. Give me one piece of Shankill trivia to impress a local. Local landmark Puck’s Castle is so named because of a ghost, or púca, said to inhabit it. One evening in the summer of 1867, a young girl named Jane Eleanor Sherrard left her home nearby to pick flowers for the dinner table. She was seen later on by a local postman, who spotted her picking flowers at the foot of the castle’s wall. And that was the last sighting of her.

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