There is clear evidence that the residential property market in Naas is, as the property economists would say, buoyant.
There are many good reasons to move to Naas. For starters, the main street is the prettiest of any thoroughfare in Kildare, with many buildings that are easy on the eye – not least the superb Town Hall, which marks the official dividing line between North Main Street and South Main Street
The lively Naas Country Market attracts a queue on regular basis and for fans of the Sport of Kings, Naas is the only town in Ireland with two racetracks.
The three lakes are man-made but are easy to look at. The walkways are a genuine amenity and the pathways are as flat as you could imagine, making the area accessible to everybody. Also, they’re close to the town centre.
And if you live in Lakelands you have a wildlife/aquatic amenity on your doorstep. Nice.
You’ll find plenty more to gush about in the snazzy brochures produced to market the town, or more specifically, its expanding “residential offering”.
But, for those thinking of moving to Naas, there are some observations about the town which you won’t find in some of these publications.
You will find quite a few derelict buildings along the main street — and off it. These are, in some instances, the results of the economic collapse. In the case of others there aren’t enough people willing to pay the rent requested.
The town is overlooked by three magnificent structures which are visible along the approach roads to the town. These structures are cranes parked in the town centre and which have served no useful purpose for the better part of a decade now. No useful purpose except as museum-type pieces reminding us that there was a time when we couldn’t get enough of property and some builders only had to work for three-and-a-half days a week.
The number of parking spaces available in the town has been shrinking. And shrinking. There was a mighty row over the merits of abolishing parking spaces to make way for cycle lanes at Kilcullen road and Dublin Road. Some say cycling is the future while others are of the view that if the existing ones at Kilcullen Road aren’t used then what’s the point of putting in more. One local politician, Cllr Seamie Moore, estimates that 74% of the parking spaces have disappeared between 1996 and 2016.
The lean years of the post economic crash brought some good news. It was possible to buy an apartment in the town for a cheap as €90,000. That’s the price that was paid for five apartments in the Craddockstown Road area in 2015.
The overall planning of Naas has left something to be desired. Four major schools are located in or right on the edge of the town. The traffic volumes moving to and fro at school opening/closing times meant the town is best avoided at these times. No one could have imagined how Naas would grow. If so, these would’ve been built on the outskirts.
The garda station — once housed where the Court Hotel stands — was relocated to the Kilcullen Road in January 1989. The more populous Monread area might have been a better idea.
All sporting tastes are catered for. Alas many of the clubs either do not have a permanent home - in the case of some soccer clubs - or have found it difficult to accommodate all of the children who want to play. There’s a case to be made for a second GAA club in Naas. The same could be said for schools.
Automatic admission is not a given to most schools in Naas and this as is true of primary schools as it is of second level schools. A new secondary school is planned for Millennium Park, but, like most public infrastructure, it won’t arrive on schedule.
All in all, Naas – like any other Irish town – has its positives and negatives. But the aforementioned buoyant property market would suggest that newcomers are finding far more of the former than the latter.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited and is the subject of an editorial comment and apology in this week’s edition.