Blanchardstown is the seat of Fingal county council which administers the largest area in all of County Dublin. The town lies 10km North of Dublin on the N3 motorway. Similar to Tallaght, Blanchardstown was a rural village until it was turned into a commuter town for the fast expanding city of Dublin in the 1970's. Like Tallaght, Blanchardstown's two main magnets are a large shopping centre and the council offices. Unlike Tallaght, Blanchardstown arguably benefitted from having most of its development done in the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, which results in an overall more sympathetic urban landscape. You will need a care to get here, as there is no fast and convenient public transport link between Dublin and Blanchardstown yet.
History Of Blanchardstown
The area was home to the Norman Blanchard family who were granted the lands by the English crown in the 13th century. The area remained sparsely populated and Blanchardstown remained a small rural village until the 1960's. In the 1970's, Dublin’s expansion designated Blanchardstown to become a sleeper town with direct access to the city's Northside. A huge shopping centre, Blanchardstown Centre, was opened in 1996 and since then Blanchardstown has become one of the fastest expanding areas in the Dublin commuter belt with some 91,000 residents according to the 2006 census.
All key amenities are located in Blanchardstown Centre, a vast shopping centre and retail park that acts like a town within the town. Outside Blanchardstown Centre, the actual village itself still has much of the look of an Irish country town about it. Near Blanchardstown you will find a large office park, Blanchardstown Corporate Park, the regional college Institute Of Technology Blanchardstown and the National Aquatic Centre.
The Blanchardstown Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in Ireland with some 180 shops on 72,000 square metres. Opened in 1996, the centre comprises a central shopping mall and three separate retail parks. The total complex stretches over some 107 acres. Fingal county council offices and public library are located on the grounds of the Blanchardstown Centre, as are many other public facilities such as the Driocht theatre and arts space, a post office, medical centre and more.
National Aquatic Centre
The National Aquatic Centre is the home of aquatic sports in Ireland. The €62.5 million facility opened in March 2003 and hosted the swimming events of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games and the European Short Course Swimming Championships in December 2003. The National Aquatic Centre features a massive 10-lane, 50 by 25 metre swimming pool, adventure water rides, a children’s play pool, a wave pool and a fitness centre. More than 700,000 visitors used the centre in 2008. The Aquatic Centre is located on Snugborough Road, opposite the Blanchardstown Shopping centre on the other side of the N3. there are plans for a national sports campus being developed around the centre, adding facilities for other sports.
Blanchardstown Corporate Park
Located 2km North from Blanchardstown Centre and on the other side of the N3 motorway, the spacious Blanchardstown Corporate Park is a popular location for multi-national companies in Ireland. Among others, the Irish offices of Amazon, eBay, IBM, Nike, Puma and Wyeth are located here.
Institute Of Technology Blanchardstown
The Institute Of Technology Blanchardstown was founded in 1999 and has some 1,500 students. The institute offers higher certificate and Bachelor degrees in engineering, computing, business studies, languages, applied social studies and the brand new horticulture course launched in 2009. Students can choose from full-time and part-time courses. The college participates in the Erasmus programme, allowing students from other European universities to spend a semester in Blanchardstown and giving Irish students the opportunity to study abroad in Europe.
Blanchardstown Centre offers a number of cafes, fast food restaurants, a cinema and a bowling alley and leisure complex. Heaven on the outskirts of Blanchardstown is a large mainstream nightclub that does theme events like beach parties, 80's nights and more. If you are looking for something more scenic, try nearby Castleknock which has a few traditional pubs and restaurants spread along the banks of the Tolka River and the Royal Canal, such as the Anglers' Rest and the Twelfth Lock hotel and restaurant.
How To Get To Blanchardstown
The best way to get to Blanchardstown is by car. If you use public transport, allow plenty of time for your journey but at least an hour if you are travelling from Dublin's North city centre. The 38A bus goes from O'Connell Street to Blanchardstown. Alternatively, you can take the train from Connolly Station to Castleknock and the 237 bus into the centre of Blanchardstown.