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Thinking of quitting the city for country living? Here are six types of properties to consider

Broadband, Ber and building work are issues to keep in mind

Country property is selling faster than any time since the boom.

Escaping the capital for affordable sea views, land on which to grow vegetables, let the kids roam free-range, or just a quieter pace of life are all key factors when upping sticks from the city in favour of country living. While online portals and social media channels are awash with beguiling buys, there are a few practical considerations to factor into your home hunt.

For many Dublin-based couples, especially those with young children, the pandemic just pushed their jump button.

Those who had upgraded their homes in the Dublin postcodes of 3,4, 7, 8 and 9 saw an opportunity to trade up – albeit outside the capital – as well as wanting to be nearer to family and friends.


The ability to work from home, even on a part-time basis, was the real game-changer, freeing up commuting time for additional work, home or hobby time.

Housing stock styles in the Irish countryside offer a far greater range of choice than those in the capital. There are farm houses in splendid isolation, glebes in painterly settings, period homes on first-class lands, cute country cottages, modern housing estates and detached ranch-style homes built in the manner of Southfork, the fictitious family home of the Ewings, the beloved Texas oil barons in the TV show Dallas.

In larger towns like Tramore, Co Waterford, four out of five of the parties viewing are not from the town, says Barry Herterich of the local Property Partners agency. “There’s a strong demand for sea views.” There are plenty of properties across the country with sea views and also lots of stock in town centres in need of refurbishment, but it is the cost of these works that is hard to define.

Price is another driver, says agent Rona Moran, based in Mulranny, Co Mayo. “Once you go over €300,000 it is more difficult to sell.”

When hunting for a home outside the capital, “the two Bs – the Ber rating and broadband – are the big selling factors,” says Tess Monaghan of DNG Flanagan Ford, which services Co Sligo, south Donegal and western Leitrim.

Distance from amenities is another, she says. “People don’t want to be more than 15 km from anything anymore.”

Connectivity is crucial to being able to work from home, says Clifden-based agent Joseph T Joyce. “Broadband is a factor, but nobody asks about it initially.”

If you want to know if you can get fibre broadband at your dream home you can check Eir’s broadband coverage map, but to get a really accurate report on the levels available right now one option is to spend time on the phone to all the providers to figure out your options.

This is not for the faint-hearted, for you will spend a horrible amount of time on the phone and will then be assured that all manner of service is available only for the agent to discover this is not the case once you have signed up to it. A way to circumvent this is to find out who the local installer is going to be and go directly to them to determine what the connectivity will actually be before committing to a provider.

Sellers of homes that already have an internet connection should maintain the line when putting the property on the market rather than disconnecting it. This allows the buyer the opportunity to simply change the name on the account rather than having to go through the rather arduous reconnection process.

Finally, ask when the property was constructed. The mica and pyrite scandals have put homes in certain parts of the country that are only 15 to 20 years old under the spotlight.


Six styles of country home to covet

1 Walk-in condition: Modernist in Mulranny

2 Railway Houses, Mulranny Park Hotel, Mulranny, Co Mayo F28 XT22
Rona Moran Auctioneer & Valuer

Nothing beats buying a well-located house in walk-in condition. It saves time, stress and money, although you will pay a premium for such a property. Built in 2010 this three-storey, three-bed detached house by Quilligan Architects is one of 31 built in the grounds of the hotel in Mulranny. Number 2 is one of eight similar-styled modernist homes constructed along the old Achill to Westport railway platform and backs on to the Great Western Greenway.

The C2-rated house, which extends to 139sq m (1,500 sq ft), is situated above the village so within a few minutes’ walk of the shops, primary school and pubs but far from the busy tourist-filled main street. Two doubles share a bathroom on the ground floor with an open-plan living room cum kitchen on the first floor. The main bedroom, which is en suite, is on the second floor. There is a 25sq m terrace at the top of the house, with views of Croagh Patrick and of Clew Bay.

2 A good Ber rating: Space and light in Co Sligo

Aughagad, Grange, Co Sligo F91 FY53
DNG Flanagan Ford

Well-constructed country homes offer space and decent Ber ratings. Built in 2004, this house in Aghagad, outside the village of Grange, Co Sligo, which Olympic swimmer Mona McSharry calls home, illustrates how far your money will go when you get out of the east. Extending to 371sq m (3,993 sq ft), it is set on almost 0.8 of an acre, with a separate detached garage and is within about 1km of the village.

The double-gabled property has four en suite bedrooms across its two floors. It boasts views of Benbulben to the back, and sea and country views to the front and has an impressive B2 Ber.

3 Look for upgraded old homes: Tradition with a twist

Beaghcauneen, Clifden, Connemara, Co Galway H71 NW83
Joseph T Joyce Estate Agents,
€400,000 inclusive of shed, €350,000 without it

The traditional cottage is a charming type of abode but less charming is the damp that comes with those that are not refurbished. Less charming again is the cost of such remedial works. Two miles south of Clifden and on the side of the old bog road is a four-bedroom thatched house that extends to 139sq m (1,496sq ft). The original house, which measures about 66sq m, is about 100 years old but was refurbished 15 years ago when creature comforts such as oil-fired underfloor heating – a key to keeping damp at bay.

While upgraded, the house retains its original charm, including vaulted ceilings, an inglenook fireplace and a loft level. An extension was also added, to more than double its original size. Set on about 1.5 acres of land the property is asking €350,000, or €400,000 should you wish to also buy the sizeable shed adjacent to the property. The Ber is C3.

4 Proximate to amenities: In the heart of Goleen

Mary Kate's, Main Street, Goleen, Co Cork P81 FW77
James Lyons O'Keeffe

Savvy buyers are eyeing up old townhouses in the centre of Ireland's villages and urban centres. They're in the heart of the action, within minutes' walk of shops and services. Mary Kate's, on the main street of the Mizen Head village Goleen, is such a home. The two-bedroom, semi-detached premises is painted a landmark racing green and is within a five-minute walk of the harbour, pubs and shops.

It opens directly into its open-plan living room, with the kitchen overlooking the garden to the rear. It feels really rural and is accessed via steps. The property has two double bedrooms upstairs and extends to 57sq m (614 sq ft). It has a G Ber, and electric heating. The house does not have side or rear access: the gated access visible on some of the photographs belongs to the property next door.

5 Decent connectivity levels: Elevated to 4G in Kerry

Derrynacaheragh, Bonane, Kenmare, Co Kerry, V93 W902
SherryFitzGerald Daly

Broadband is essential if you hope to continue working from home. Although relatively remote, this four-bedroom, detached house extends to 203sq m (2,185sq ft) and boasts good 4G wireless broadband connectivity, thanks in part to its elevated siting. The house is about 9 km south of Kenmare and surrounded by mountains.

Set on more than two acres, the main house dates to the 1800s with extensions added in 1996 and 2006. Substantial renovation and insulation works in 2012 have resulted in a C2 Ber.

6 Location, location, location: Hidden in plain sight

2 Avenue Court Gorey, Co Wexford Y25 T6 77
Warren Estates

Gorey has long been prized as a commuter option for those working in Dublin. Since the pandemic, Gorey's proximity to the sandy beaches of the sunny south-east has doubled its appeal. There is every kind of housing stock in the market town but some of the older developments offer more space and garden than the newer builds. It already has good broadband, says Ciara Slattery of Warren Estates. For her, though, the location of a property remains the selling cornerstone.

Number 2 Avenue Court is such a house. Situated just off The Avenue, Gorey’s best address, according to Slattery, the detached dormer is one of abut 10 and, while in need of some modernisation, it is right in the middle of the town but hidden off the main thoroughfares. These homes were built with traders-down in mind, with one bedroom at hall level, Slattery says, so with a little insulation upgrade you could improve its E1 Ber and future-proof your life at the same time.