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Chic Phibsboro

A closer look at Dublin’s neighbourhoods.

Wanton quirkiness, perennial liveliness and an endearing touch of shabbiness have always been part of Phibsboro’s appeal. It was where I wanted to live as a DCU student in the late nineties, instead of the gentler, more refined environs of Drumcondra where I was instead. Phibsborough was where the cool kids hung out, with an ice rink, a surfeit of charity shops and good pubs like The Hut, where the Johnny Cash Appreciation Society were in situ on a Sunday night. And then there was McGowan’s, where young love was almost certainly guaranteed to bloom, especially after a few drinks.

Fast forward to now, and Phibsboro (or Phibsborough – both spellings are considered perfectly acceptable) retains much of the charm that made it so attractive back then. So much so, that in 2018 Time Out magazine named it one of the coolest city neighbourhoods in the world. (It was 27th on the list).

Location-wise, it’s pretty much perfect, being a few minutes from the city centre but also close to the perennially walkable likes of Blessington Basin Park, GLASNEVIN CEMETERY and the BOTANICAL GARDENS. Strictly speaking, D7 has never been one of the most city’s most fashionable postcodes, but this could change with some significant developments. One of these is the extension of the Luas line, which now runs through Phibsborough and has helped to ease-up traffic congestion, a long-standing problem for residents.

Another is Dublin City Council’s upcoming redevelopment of DALYMOUNT PARK, home of Bohemian FC, and Phibsborough Shopping Centre. The exciting plans integrate these two sites and include a new 6,0000 seater stadium and a library. The shopping centre is a 1960s development that some consider an elegant example of 20th-century modernism – but most find a terrible eyesore. Although its concrete tower is not coming down, it’s slated for a radical overhaul. The new centre will have three times more retail space and also provide apartment accommodation for 340 students in a new seven-storey-high student accommodation block. Work is due to finish in 2022.

But this all lies ahead. As it stands, there’s still much to love about Phibsborough, from its splendid canal walks to the somewhat amusing positioning of the Miss Euro sex shop directly in the shadow of ST PETER’S CHURCH, revered for its stained glass windows – especially Harry Clarke’s stunning work The Adoration of the Sacred Heart. The neighbourhood welcomes all sorts.