The Dublin 8 areas of Inchicore and Kilmainham have long been touted as up and coming areas. Yet even throughout the Celtic Tiger years these predictions never quite materialised. Inchicore still struggles to shake off a somewhat negative image and Kilmainham is still woefully under serviced for its population size. Right now though, there’s a buzz about the area, it seems as though change is afoot. ‘Sold’ signs are appearing on commercial premises and new businesses are opening to enthusiastic receptions. Grittier & edgier than some of their more affluent southside counterparts, the suburbs of Inchicore and Kilmainham won’t suit everyone, but we’ve long been fans of these Old Dublin areas. Here are our top 5 reasons it’s great to be in Dublin 8:
Kilmainham, you’re looking well
Earlier this year the superb Union 8 restaurant opened in a beautifully renovated space on the South Circular Road in Kilmainham. The area isn’t famed for its culinary hotspots but Union 8’s gamble on this area has been richly rewarded, with the restaurant busy almost every night of the week. Union 8 is a stone’s throw from Kilmainham Gaol, recently crowned Ireland’s top tourist attraction. The jail and the neighbouring courthouse received a facelift in time for the recent 1916 celebrations. Between these two restorations this area is looking pretty spiffy right about now.
Parks & Recreation
With 1,750 acres of the Phoenix Park on the doorstep this area won’t be beaten when it comes to greenspace. Throw in the stunning riverside paths of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, the nearby canal and the grounds of the Royal Hospital and this is paradise for walkers & runners. If you want to step it up a level you’ll have access to an abundance of running and rowing clubs on your doorstep too.
History & Sights
Boasting one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions; Kilmainham Gaol, this is an area which won’t be beaten on history or culture either. Along with the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and its impressive gardens Kilmainham is an easy place to spend an afternoon soaking up some knowledge. IMMA is housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the grounds of which play host to the June bank holiday’s Forbidden Fruit Festival.
Community and old world values
Sounds corny, but it’s true. This is old Dublin, sometimes shabby, sometimes chic but always down to earth and genuine. This is a community, where it pays to get involved. The Inchicore Environmental Group is a group of volunteers who meet every second Saturday to tidy up the village and the Inchicore Sports and Social Club hosts regular musical evenings & events like wine tasting. Their next event is a speed dating night on 23rd June. It might take a bit of effort to break into this close knit community, but it might just be worth the effort.
They’re underrated hidden gems
Kilmainham and Inchicore are pretty cool places to be, but they don’t need to shout about it. Kilmainham’s Royal Oak is often described as one of Dublin’s most underrated pubs, you won’t find a website or a facebook page, they don’t even take bankcards but still the locals love it. The nearby Patriots Inn is probably just as underrated, hosting regular comedy nights with big name comedians like Al Porter and Karl Spain. Even the area’s gym is too cool for school, Inchicore’s Ultimate Fitness is probably the most chilled out, down to earth gym in Dublin and gyms aren’t exactly known for being down to earth.