Eight romantic Irish homes to fall in love with
With love in the air, here are some properties that will set your heart racing
Pier Cottage, Harbour Road, Bunbeg, Co Donegal
Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. They fall in love and build a home together with their loved ones. Many of us want to do the same and squander hours online looking for a home to fall in love with.
And like the way love can strike like a bolt of lightning, some homes just speak to us in a way that doesn’t always make sense, at least not at first. My parents, for example, fell in love with a house while holidaying in Donegal decades ago. They went to a gallery and admired the work of painter Richard Haworth. They were told that the piece had been sold but, in that oh-so beautifully Irish way, Haworth lived locally and if they went to visit him they could see more of his work.
So they did. They bought one of his oils and while admiring his collection also admired his home – a pretty Edwardian cottage with a verandah overlooking an inlet of Sheephaven Bay where you could hear the call of the wild geese as they settled on the surrounding mud flats. He told them it too was for sale. They were as taken with it as they were with the painter’s work and they bought both there and then – a mad move given they already owned a house in Achill. But the property and its setting won their hearts and its purchase saw us all move from one gorgeous part of the world to another.
Some properties just speak to us. Their charm and character wins us over. It doesn’t always make sense but may offer a chance to start over, to change direction in life, to move to a new place and to create a new place to nest. They also speak to a need in all of us to build a home that reflects our style and personality.
Here are eight that will set your heart racing.
Pier Cottage, Harbour Road, Bunbeg, Co Donegal
Sherry FitzGerald Rainey
If ocean views and freshly caught fruits of the sea seduce you then the catch of the day is Pier Cottage, a former fisherman’s abode about 100 metres from the pier in Bunbeg in west Donegal. Situated on the right-hand side of the road, this is a place where two’s company. The 38sq m (400sq ft) one-bedroom stone cottage is accessed via steps and boasts waterside views all the way to Gola Island from its living room and kitchen. The cosy bedroom is situated a few steps down and is just big enough for the bed. It comes with outside storage space for wetsuits, paddleboards, kayaks as well as an outside tap to wash the salt and sand off before you head indoors. From Easter to mid-September there’s a daily ferry to Gola and Tory Islands and you can charter boats. Should you fancy barbecuing a lobster later in the day, all you need to do is put in a request with the fisherman. In the evening enjoy a pint in the Teach Hiúdaí Beag where you can try ordering in the gorgeous Donegal Irish.
POETRY IN MOTION
Tithe Cottage, Fivemilebourne, Calry, Co Leitrim
If you are looking for waters and wilderness then head to Ireland’s lakelands and to a stone cabin situated just north of Lough Gill – the inspiration for a Yeats poem and within a stone’s throw of the county lines between Leitrim and Sligo. The pretty-as-a-picture former gate lodge has a dramatic, primrose yellow stairwell, a living room with parquet flooring laid in a basketweave pattern and an on-trend exposed brick arch in the kitchen. It has two bedrooms and extends to about 70sq m (750sq ft). Situated on approximately three acres of beautifully maintained land, there is also a separate stone outbuilding suitable for a myriad of uses. Sligo town is about a 10km journey and is the nearest place you can buy a pint of milk or a pint of plain.
YOU GIVE ME FEVER
Ashbrook House, Mohill, Co Leitrim
Farrell Property Group
Do thoughts of your partner whip you into a fever? If so, help is at hand if you think your relationship might withstand the trials and tribulations of doing up a heritage house in the country. It’s the stuff that property TV shows are made of. If you think you have the mettle then this former fever hospital on the outskirts of Mohill, Co Leitrim, might be for you. The nine-bedroom, two-storey stone clad building built in 1841 as a fever hospital has a distinctive character with superb ashlar elevations with quoins, enhanced by rendered and imposing chimney stacks. There are no interior shots of the property, which means the refurbishment needed could be monstrous. But the €175,000 asking price isn’t. And the property was in use by the HSE up until about a decade ago, has a heating system and a mix of steel and timber windows. Mohill was also the home of the blind harpist, Turlough O’Carolan, so might appeal to someone setting up a music school or studio.
TAKE ME TO CHURCH
St Fechin’s Church, Termonfeckin, Co Louth
Sullivan Property Consultants
Do you really want to get married but when you raise the issue your partner plays deaf? Instead of dropping any more hints, why not take the lead and buy instead St Fechin’s Church in Termonfeckin, Co Louth, so you can sweep your other half down your very own aisle. The pretty period property is in the heart of the village and is still for sale – it first came to the market in 2017. The asking price of €130,000 makes it a great buy and there has been plenty of interest. It offers 158sq m (1700sq ft) of space and a bell tower – where you can let down your long hair.
LOVE LETTERS STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART
Iveragh Lodge, Waterville, Co Kerry
The Property Shop
For the Whatsapp generation, Iveragh Lodge is a living love letter to an earlier version of the written word. This building’s history goes back to the frontier days of messaging via cable, when a single letter could take up to two minutes to receive in bad weather. Imagine having to wait that long to get a response to a whispered sweet nothing? This Virginia-creeper clad Victorian property started life as a fishing lodge when it was built in 1858. It was purchased by the Commercial Cable Company in 1884 and the four-bedroom, three-bathroom property, was used as its first office as well as being the superintendent’s residence. The cut stone building adjacent, now divided into apartments, is the one from which most of the communications were sent.
BE THE FOLKS WHO LIVE ON THE HILL
Dunleckney Glebe, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow
If you like the idea of romantic strolls along the banks of the River Barrow then Dunleckney Glebe, on the outskirts of Bagenalstown, might be just the place for you. It overlooks the river, where you can fish for bream, perch and pike, and the Barrow Way, a long-distance walking and cycling trail which follows the original towpath. It starts at Lowtown, Co Kildare, and ends at St Mullins, Co Carlow, a distance of 114km. Four of the six bedrooms in the detached house are on the first floor, the other two on the second floor and it extends to 318sq m (3420sq ft). A verandah is accessed from the formal reception rooms which boast beautiful river views. The house is set on three acres of woodland which includes specimen trees such as a copper beech, magnolia and twisted hazel.
ON THE EAST WINGS OF LOVE
East Wing, Holyrood Castle, Holyrood Park, Sandymount, Dublin
If you fancy a slice of castellated Victorian romance then the East Wing of Holyrood Castle in Sandymount’s Holyrood Park in Dublin 4 offers plenty of flights of fancy. The two-bedroom period home extends to over 135sq m (1450sq ft). It has an impressive trio of oriel windows on the first floor in what is now the living and dining room which overlook the garden. The master bedroom leads off this room and a statement spiral staircase takes you down to the large, eat-in kitchen and second bedroom. The terracotta-tiled garden is a private sun trap. The castle itself was divided into four apartments in 1999 but the East Wing has been its own independent fiefdom and a separate entity for several more decades. It came to market last year at €925,000 and the price has since reduced by €50,000 to €875,000.
CURIOUS AND CURIOUSER
Castle Curious, Doonawanly, near Wallstown, Castletownroche, Co Cork
Dominic J Daly
If you want to enjoy some splendid isolation then Castle Curious, a limestone ruin set on the edge of a river in Co Cork’s Golden Vale, might be what you’re after. The name alone will have most people immediately doing a deep internet dive to find out more. The name and condition of the property taps into a wild, inner-Heathcliff state in most of us. The limestone castle is roofless and stands about three storeys high. It isn’t huge – it spans about 7.5m (25ft) from outside wall to wall. Surrounded by mature fir trees, it overlooks the River Awbeg and is next to the remains of a mill house. The folly is said to have been built in 1840 by a local eccentric, Johnny Roche, and is recorded as a protected structure by Cork County Council. Subject to planning and super-deep pockets it would certainly be a talking point within a larger home and there is plenty of scope to join the two ruins in holy matrimony. The property has been reduced by 37 per cent, a whopping €55,000 to €95,000.