Tallaght is the seat of South Dublin county council. Located on the far side of the M50 motorway at the South Western tip of Dublin, Tallaght is working hard to overcome its heritage as a rundown commuter town. Grey residential estates and a total disregard for landscaping by its original developers have left Tallaght with a fairly heavy burden. The arrival of the Luas tram line from Dublin's city centre in 2004 brought new impulses and urban renewal is slowly radiating from the area closest to the Luas terminus.
History Of Tallaght
Despite there being little trace of any history pre-1970s in Tallaght, the town actually started off with a renowned early medieval monastery. St. Maelruain founded Tallaght monastery in 769 and it became a widely recognised centre for learning and manuscript writing. The arrival of the Normans in the 12th century put an end to Tallaght's development and until the 18th century, the area was a source of political rivalry between Dublin and County Wicklow. Claimed by both sides, the land was left barren and underdeveloped. As a result, Tallaght remained rural and sparsely populated until the late 1960s.
In the early 70's, Dublin’s expansion turned Tallaght into a massive sleeper town with thousand of new homes in sprawling residential estates. The arrival of the M50 ring motorway around Dublin cut Tallaght off from the city at the end of the 1990's. Tallaght became the archetypical example of suburban town planning gone wrong, with all the social problems that come with it. The arrival of a direct transport link with Dublin city centre, the Red Luas tram line, in 2004 jumpstarted large scale urban renewal. South Dublin county council embarked on a €10m cultural development programme since 2005.
Tallaght today is firmly centred around the Luas terminus, with facilities concentrated around Civic Square and The Square shopping centre. County Hall, Tallaght Theatre and the brand new Rua Red arts centre are all located around Civic Square, a five minutes’ walk from the Luas stop. The Square shopping centre is nearby and so are the regional college ITT Dublin, the Adelaide And Meath Hospital and the National Children's Hospital. The further you move away from the Luas, the more you delve into Tallaght's concrete jungle of the 70's and 80's with its industrial parks and residential estates. The only amenity outside of the immediate surroundings of the Luas terminus is the Irish National Basketball Arena, which is located near the M50 motorway on the Eastern fringes of Tallaght.
The four-storey Rua Red arts centre was opened on 5th February 2009. The building overlooks the Luas terminal and offers gallery space, artist studios, a theatre stage, modern workshop facilities and a radio studio. Rua Red acts as an incubator for arts oriented start-up enterprises. Local radio station Radio Tallaght is also based at Rua Red.
The ITT Dublin, formerly the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, was launched in 1992. The ITT is a large regional college that attracts many students from outside County Dublin. The college's focus is on business and engineering oriented courses. ITT Dublin offers higher certificates, Bachelor degrees and postgraduate courses in accountancy, marketing, management, mechanical and electronic engineering and computing among others.
The Square Shopping Centre
Before the arrival of the Luas, virtually all shopping in Tallaght was cantered around the multi-storey shopping centre The Square. Opened in 1990, The Square won an European shopping centre of the year award in 1991 with its light filled atrium and water features. Slightly worn around the edges, The Square still features some 160 stores on 65,000 square metres. You will find many UK and Irish High Street brands here, a Dunnes department store, a Tesco supermarket and a variety of mobile phone shops, fashion boutiques and sportswear shops.
Unless you plan on visiting Tallaght Theatre or the Rua Red arts centre, Tallaght has little to offer after the shop shutters fall. It would be fair to say that most people who work or live here hop onto the Luas and go into town to go out. The local pubs are by and large fairly ropey, joyless affairs.
How To Get To Tallaght
The most direct and reliable public transport link between Dublin city centre and Tallaght is the Luas tram line. The Red Luas line stops at Tallaght Hospital and terminates near Civic Square, the new heart of Tallaght. The journey time between Tallaght and Connolly Station in Dublin is a good 50 minutes.