Dublin, October 2018, – A tour of the Quays…….
I recently had the pleasure of being appointed to find a city bolt hole for a professional commuting weekly from London to work in Dublin. The brief was to find an apartment within a short walk of the red Luas line. With this in mind, I embarked on a tour of Dublin’s Quays.
The Quays are a far cry from their original purpose and have mostly been converted to high spec, gated apartments for the steady stream of professionals that are moving to Dublin to work in the booming financial service, tech and pharmaceutical industries.
Security has been given high priority, even the most nervous resident would feel safe once inside the cocoon of high walls, electronic gates and shinny steel locks. However, I had a definite feeling of unease as I parked my car in a side road next to one of these highly secure buildings. Many of the surrounding areas to these high spec luxury apartments still have a long way to go to catch up with their swanky new neighbors.
Starting on the south side in Ushers Quay, there are postcard perfect views of the river Liffey and the ha’penny bridge. On the inside, the apartments are spacious, light with high spec fixtures and fittings. The interior designer has selected modern décor in muted tones that appeal to everyone. The matching furniture gives an overall stylish calming feel to the space. This apartment would make a perfect weekday pad for any professional provide they can make it safely over the threshold!
From Usher’s Quay I walked over the famous ha’penny bridge to D7 and the up and coming area of Smithfield. The apartments I visited here were older with definite traces of the original, more basic, post war architecture. There was an institutional feel to the communal areas and the interior designers were noticeably absent. Smithfield is a vibrant neighborhood with an abundance of trendy bars and restaurants, a perfect location for a young professional with a blossoming social life. Rents here are slightly cheaper than the other Quays I visited but still a stretch for those starting out in their career.
There was a steady stream of young professionals in two’s and three’s on tours of apartments available to rent. Each group I encountered appeared to be in a state of mild panic and disbelief. How it can be that even with their generous salaries, they still can’t afford to rent an apartment in Dublin?
I then headed east along the river towards Clarion Quay. Here the surroundings are different, it’s clean, corporate and new. The coffee shops and sandwich bars are filled with “suits” and the trendy wine bars have well-kept beer gardens set back a comfortable distance from the busy road.
The apartment I visited here was high spec and had been tastefully decorated by an interior designer. It was smaller, but had a light, airy feel created by good design. There was just about a view to the river and a very generous balcony to compensate for the predominately concrete surroundings below. The price tag was higher too, a 1 bed apartment here is approximately the same price as a 2 bed apartment only a mile along the river to the west.
Is it worth the extra cost? ……………… I think so, it feels safe. A comfortable, secure, bolt hole for the working week.
If it’s something more edgy you’re looking for, or if you value the close proximity of a trendy bar for a drink on a Saturday night, then for sure, head back up river to Smithfield but for a Monday – Friday bolthole for a weekly commuter, Clarion Quay fits the bill.