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Sunday 8 December 2019

Stoneybatter is now officially cooler than downtown Miami...

Ruth Hallinan (34) isn't surprised by the village’s ranking. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Ruth Hallinan (34) isn't surprised by the village’s ranking. Photo: Doug O'Connor

It comes as no surprise to people who live and work in Stoneybatter that their neighbourhood has been crowned one of the 'coolest' on the planet.

The northside enclave in Dublin 7 came in at number 42 out of 50 of the world's coolest neighbourhoods, according to the global travel and entertainment publication Time Out.

Just two notches below Old Havana at number 40 and Melville, Johannesburg, at number 41, the neighbourhood was deemed the coolest in Ireland and among the top 50 'places to visit now', nudging out Bartok, Budapest, and downtown Miami at numbers 43 and 44.

Charm

While Arroios, Lisbon, ranked at number one, the publication found "the village in the city" still retains its red-brick terrace charm alongside a "string of great new openings, from vegan cafes to hot new bars".

Local councillor Nial Ring said: "It retains its village atmosphere and is loyal to its unique history and heritage. It has brilliant facilities - shops, places to eat, pubs etc where people interact on a wonderful social level."

But it's not just a mecca for so-called 'hipsters' according to local artist Bob Byrne, who at 34 years old considers himself to be too old to be a hipster.

"I'm cooler than a hipster," he joked.

However, after living and working in the area - where he runs a mixed-media arts and music studio - for the past eight years, the Ringsend native said he was first lured to the area by cheap rent for his studio, as well as an eclectic mix of interesting and creative people who have made the neighbourhood their home.

"We have it all; hipsters, graffiti artists, an electronic dance scene," he said.

A lively community where everyone knows each other is also one of its charms, he added.

"It takes me half an hour to walk to work just chatting to people," he said.

Although rents have skyrocketed since he first moved in and the area has become noticeably gentrified, that just "highlights how cool it is", he said.

Ruth Hallinan (34), who also moved to the area from her native Co Kildare, said the area has always been interesting.

She manages The Lilliput Press bookstore and publishing house in the village, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

Along with being a local landmark, the bookshop hosts a number of readings and other events for the local community.

"It's always had a strong cultural history," she said. "It's full of character.

While the nearby DIT campus at Grangegorman is responsible for a lot of young students living in the area, it is more than just a student haven.

"There are still a lot of families who have been here for generations," she said.

"It's the opposite of anonymous city living. I feel very lucky to live and work here."

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