Moving family to Dublin, advice sought

Hi all,

First time post from short time lurker.

My family are relocating to Dublin for work reasons and will be renting. We have three primary school going children and I have started making calls to schools in SCD to check availability. There is very little available but I have a possibility of a school in Dalkey and one in Stillorgan…

Obviously we hope to rent near to the school as I assume traffic in Dublin is chaotic at rush hour times.

I also need to start looking at secondary schools, lots of fee paying schools from what I can see, any good non-fee paying in SCD??

OH’s work will be based in the City Centre.

Can anyone give me the pros and cons of either Dalkey or Stillorgan, any advice on transport links to the City Centre good/bad, creches, gyms, schools etc. etc.

Unfortunately we do not know Dublin at all so any advice will be appreciated.


They are both good areas with Dalkey being considered more exclusive than Stillorgan.

Stillorgan is closer to the city so traffic would be worse at rush hours. Dalkey is serviced by the dart but Stillorgan would probably have better bus routes.

What schools are you hoping to get a place in each area so we can give feedback on either. I don’t know schools in Stillorgan but know of most of them in the Dalkey area - there are a number of good national (non-fee) and fee-paying schools in that area. I think Newpark is a good non-fee paying secondary school in the general area of both Stillorgan and Dalkey. Most secondary schools in the Dalkey area are fee paying - and to be honest apart from a few schools dotted around dublin, fee-paying secondary schools do have a better reputation than non-fee paying ones. No real difference at primary level other than class sizes.

If you don’t know Dublin at all you may not know that suburbs in SCD are quite small so very close together - if you are looking at Dalkey for example, also look at Glenageary, Sandycove, Killiney for schools/renting. They are all within a couple mins drive of each other. Traffic in these areas is grand during rush hours as they are so far from the city.

Dalkey is a much more exclusive suburb than Stillorgan, and likely to be considerably more expensive. It is not as family oriented, but has good public transport (Dart) and some lovely walks. Can be a tad snobby.

Newpark is big, loud and free. As a past student, it’s hard to recommend it over a fee paying school, unless you have no alternative. Quality of education is firmly ‘okay’.

No Dart in Stillorgan and traffic is a bit of a pain if you go by bus. More of a family area and a lot closer to the city center. Also lot easier to find decent accommodation at a price that doesn’t make you want to giggle hysterically.

Rented in dalkey for a year about 3 years ago. At the time there was only one bairn so we made do with a 2 bed apartment. It was visually nice if a little old fashioned but very poorly insulated. Even so it still cost 1100pm if memory serves me right. A family with 2 kids we got to know rented a small house down the road and paid a very large premium over ours. Suspect your money might go further in Stillorgan. For all that Dalkey is a lovely place to live if you can find value.

I don’t know anything about Dalkey but two secondary schools you could look into in the Stillorgan area are St Raphaela’s and Oatland’s College. Both are non-fee paying. If you go onto a parenting website such as or, you could probably get opinions from people whose kids are currently attending these schools. Both schools have primary and secondary too.

I rent in Booterstown, right beside Stillorgan. There is a great bus route into town. The 145 and 46a buses are very regular and the bus is much quicker than driving.

Other non-fee-paying schools in the area are the Gaelscoileanna Coláiste Íosagáin and Coláiste Eoin in Booterstown.

Mount Anville (Girls/Catholic) PRIVATE
Oatlands College (Mixed/Catholic) PUBLIC
St. Benildus College (Boys/Catholic) PUBLIC
St. Brigid’s (Mixed, Church of Ireland) PUBLIC
St. Laurence’s (Boys/Catholic) PUBLIC
St. Raphaelas School (Girls/Catholic) PUBLIC
Naomh Olaf - Balally (mixed/Catholic) on the luas line and is just a primary school.

I think I’d prefer Stillorgan, the traffic is bad at the Dual Carriage way but other than that it is usually OK. There is the shopping centre, banks, cinema, post office, air-coach bus, 46A (Every 5 mins to town!), swimming pool, football, soccer, GAA, Bowling Alley. So lots of amenities!

I think Stillorgan is more family orientated as mentioned previously and would mean less travelling time :slight_smile:

Gaelscoileanna Coláiste Íosagáin and Coláiste Eoin on the Dual carriage way are secondary and fully Irish Language schools so unless your kids are fluent in Irish - I wouldn’t even contemplate sending them here!

Does it have to be SCD. You may very well get more bang for your buck on the Northside. Believe you me, there is a good a chance of better teaching in a non-fee paying school as a fee paying one. You pay for the school tie and the Rugby coaches as much as anything else. I must say though I’m a Northsider and a teacher who has worked in private schools and public schools.

Dalkey is a million times nicer than Stillorgan, in my humble opinion. Stillorgan is OK, fine, nothing wrong with it at all. Dalkey is a village by the sea with nice pubs and restaurants, walks by the shore, and a commuter rail service to the city centre. Live there if you can afford it

Dalkey is a much nicer environment (quieter, friendlier, by the sea etc) but you need to factor in the commute for your OH. Driving in and out from Dalkey to the City Center in rush hour traffic every day is basically a non-starter. If your OH’s work is close to a Dart station in town then rent somewhere close to the village in Dalkey and happy days - if you’re factoring in 35 mins on the DART +15 mins walk in town + 10 mins walk in Dalkey = 2 hours commute per day then you’re better off in Stillorgan (in my opinion).

What part of the City Centre will work be - for example - if it’s the IFSC the Dart is better. Luas if it’s Stephen’s Green. I live close to Dalkey but don’t know it all that well, nothing has ever made me do I must go there. Stillorgan on the other hand while itself may not be great but it’s close to great things. Monkstown, Donnybrook, Town, Blackrock, Dundrum. How old are the Children? is Sion Hill still open?

Pity the job isn’t in one of the bleak and windswept business parks off the M50. Twenty minute commute by car from Dalkey via the Cherrywood junction to anywhere south of the toll, maybe five minutes more in rush hour. I do it in 19 minutes late at night. Best piece of infrastructure we ever spent 30 years building.

knocklyon to cherrywood is about 17 minutes down the m50 in rush hour - perhaps you should consider a move?

I had to laugh at that. A redeeming feature of Stillorgan is that it close to actual nice areas. :smiley:

Stillorgan is a good spot, IMO, as long as it’s not confused with Kilmacud. Unfortunately most of the properties you see labelled Stillorgan are actually Kilmacud, which, although parts of it are close to the Luas, is just not an area I’d fancy.

Of course Dalkey would be miles better than either.

But once one was esconced in Knocklyon, one wouldn’t be leaving it to go anywhere else, would one?

I’d go with Stillorgan if it were me. We rented in Kilmacud/Stillorgan for a few years and it was absolutely grand and very convenient.

If living in ireland and moving to Dublin, do. It will be a relief.
If living outside of Ireland, and moving to Dublin, dont. (ie are you screaming mad?)

Family life and value for money: Stillorgan would be better than Dalkey IMHO.
I dont know that much about Dalkey though. I’ve been there but only on day trips.

Thanks very much everyone.

The schools are Loretto Dalkey and Oatlands in Stillorgan.

How long is the commute from Stillorgan to O’Connell street by bus and by car? That info will influence the decision as obviously we would prefer as short a commute as possible for Oh.

We had hoped to be much closer to the city centre but got laughed at from all primary schools from sandymount, Donnybrook , Ranelagh etc! There must have been a baby boom in Dublin over the past few years.

Thanks again for all the advice, this move will cause a steep learning curve!

Loretto is a great girls school, but I wouldn’t be too keen on Oatlands, tbh.