Castleknock was a small village on the western fringes of Dublin which has been long absorbed into Dublin's suburban sprawl. It's a pleasant enough place to live and has reasonable access into the city centre via bus and rail but there's not a huge amount to do locally in terms of things to see and do. However, there are some nice scenic walking areas nearby such as the Phoenix Park and the Liffey Valley. It's a good base from which to get to other parts of the country as it's on the M50 (Dublin's beltway) which makes for relatively easy access to the major roads leading out of Dublin.
We'd agree with Domhnall. Castlenock is a suburban area of Dublin rather than a stand-alone town remote from the capital. For residents, it's a reasonable if fairly unremarkable area in which to live and raise a family but is pretty workaday with not a lot to attract visitors. You'd certainly get a taste of ordinary, everyday Dublin life there and getting into the city centre and out of the city in various directions around Ireland is fairly straightforward. Sorry we don't seem to be able to enthuse too much about Castleknock but it's basically the 'burbs!
As Domhnall and tapl have pointed out already Castleknock is now part of suburban Dublin. As such though it has a very good public transport network into and out of the city, there are plenty of busses and the area is served by the suburban rail system. As the crow flies Castleknock is very close to the city centre as it is at the other end of the Pheonix Park. A lot of locals cycle in and out of the City each day taking the cycle route through the Phoenix Park. It is also a very short and straighforward drive into the City Centre outside of rush hour. Driving in Dublin City Centre is however, not for the faint hearted!! Castleknock itself has a lot going for it - and may suit you very well for a home exchange. The 'village' has a number of nice local restaurants and there are a few good pubs too. It's a very safe area to walk around at night. There is a major Shopping Centre in Blanchardstown just up the road. The Driaocht Theatre at Blanchardstown often has interesting plays and shows scheduled and also has a gallery space.
As Domhnall has already mentioned there are lots of scenic places to walk in the immediate vicinity. Famleigh House in the Phoenix Park is a lovely place to spend a few hours.
In terms of basing yourself to explore the rest of the country, you will be right beside the M50 which means you are perfectly placed to travel anywhere out of Dublin.
Good luck with your decision and if you need to know anything else about the area just post.
Thanks so much! Very helpful.
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