Advice Dublin Expat Life How-tos Ireland

Finding an Apartment in Dublin Part 1: Deciding on an Area

We know finding an apartment in Dublin can be tough. Here’s the story of how we found our Dublin dream flat with only one viewing, a guide based on our experiences. In Part 1 we give advice on how to decide on an area to look for flats in.

Disclaimer: Of course, we were extremely lucky to find our dream flat after only one viewing. Part of the reason we call it our dream flat is also because it is a space with our requirements and that we can make ours for it to be our dream flat. We also weren’t in a rush to move out so we got to be picky and research. While our tips can’t guarantee you finding a dream flat in one viewing, perhaps our process can help you speed up your flat searching progress. 

When we moved to Dublin we lived in a shared house with three other people for quite a while. Thankfully, our relationship with our housemates was good and so was the location of the house. So, we weren’t in a rush to move out. We took our time to find new jobs first, so we could then look for a flat close to our new workplaces. During this time, however, we already started with our research which helped us immensely when we started to actively look for flat. So, without further ado, here’s our process. 

We narrowed potential areas to move to down to Dublin postal districts and even neighbourhoods. This meant later we didn’t waste time looking at properties in areas we wouldn’t seriously consider.

Step 1: What are your requirements

Think about what the ideal area should have: proximity to places or activities you enjoy, access to transport, a quiet atmosphere or bustling street and whatever else your heart desires. Write down everything that comes to your mind. Don’t be afraid to also look at areas you haven’t been in before. Here are some questions to help you get started.

  • Out of the areas you know – which ones could image yourself living in, which ones are a no-go?
  • Is it important for you to have greenspaces nearby?
  • What is important for you to be close to where you live: e.g. cafés, gyms, parks, your friends or family, a sports club you’re in?

Once you’ve whittled it down to a list of contenders, here are some practical questions which may eliminate some of them or give a higher priority to a certain area.

  • What’s the distance of your commute to work? For example, is there a DART or LUAS stop which can get you to your workplace faster than perhaps a bus or could you even walk?
  • What are the crime rates like in the area and what sort of crime is it? Keep in mind crime rates are often highest in areas where a lot of tourists are because crimes like pickpockets are counted towards it.
  • Which supermarkets are in the area? Are they your usual supermarkets or are they more high-end, meaning you will have to calculate in more budget for your groceries?
  • What’s the average rent like in areas? A recent survey claims that the most expensive places to live are along the DART and the LUAS. But prices may be quite different if you’re willing to walk 5-15min to the next stop.

For us this was a longer research phase since we didn’t know Dublin well enough yet. But since one of our top priorities was to keep the commute short, that automatically eliminated areas outside a 5km radius of walking routes around or work places or a certain amount of travel time on the DART (since we were told that is the most reliable form of transport in Dublin).

Bonus Tip: Did you know you can make notes and draw lines on Google Maps? We used that function of a personal map to mark down lines beyond which the commute would get longer than we wanted it to since that was our priority. We also labelled the places we wanted to be close to. This way when we were looking at property listings we could use our map to check where they are and instantly knew if it was suitable situated for us or not.

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