Originally a village on the southern outskirts of the city, some now call Ranelagh the Notting Hill of Dublin. It has a wealth of red-brick Victorian houses and a family-friendly atmosphere.
The Sunday Times School Guide ranked Ranelagh’s Gonzaga College (a Jesuit, fee-paying boys’ secondary) the second-best school in Ireland in 2016. Gonzaga students are renowned chess players and last year won the Eton College Rapidplay tournament. Notable alumni include Peter Sutherland, the first director-general of the World Trade Organisation. Alexandra College for girls (a Church of Ireland school incorporating both a junior and senior division), five minutes down the road in Milltown, is listed fourth.
Crowds of 20,000 gathered in Ranelagh Gardens in 1785 to watch Richard Crosbie become the first Irishman to fly a hot-air balloon, or what he called his “flying barge”. Crosbie was a flamboyant man and sported a hat made of leopard skin. From the same spot, he had previously successfully launched a cat, which was eventually found near the Isle of Man. Today, the gardens are used for events during the annual Ranelagh Arts Festival.
Ireland’s only professional tennis event
The Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club first hosted the Irish Tennis Open Championships in 1879 — it is the second-oldest tennis tournament in the world and the first to include ladies’ singles, which weren’t introduced at Wimbledon until 1884. The Club has 11 courts and an all-whites rule.
Stop by The Village Butcher at 121 Ranelagh, run by husband and wife duo Sarah and Michael, for dry-aged steak, or head to Morton’s on Dunville Avenue for your weekly shop. Family-run since 1934, all produce is fresh from the market or cooked on site. There is an in-house cheese counter and a fishmonger who can give advice on how to cook the catch of the day.
Dartmouth Square is home to alfresco Saturday morning yoga sessions in the warmer months (and sometimes, for the foolhardy, in November). Last June, hundreds gathered to celebrate International Yoga Day in a class opened by the Indian ambassador, who lives around the corner.
But if you prefer cocktails to downward dogs, head for a drink at The Barge and dip your toes in Dublin’s Grand Canal.
Photographs: Jason Clarke; Hon Lau — Dublin/Alamy
Related article: Exiles in Ireland find a home from home