‘It was costing us €4,000 a month to live in Dublin – we couldn’t make ends meet’
Gavin Glass and Amy Walsh have left the pricey capital for a fresh start in Wexford
Move to the country: Gavin Glass and Amy Walsh with daughter Emmy-Mae in their home in Curracloe, Co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne
A little cottage with roses around the door is the stuff of many people’s dreams. But while the reality of living in a cute little house in the countryside may not live up to the fantasy, many people do indeed take the plunge and swap the glitz and glamour of city life for the peace and tranquillity of a rural idyll.
Dubliner Gavin Glass did just that when he and his partner Amy Walsh, together with their daughter Emmy-Mae, upped sticks and moved their home and business from the heart of the capital to the Wexford coastline.
Glass, a musician and record producer, had been paying rent on a small two-bedroom, former council house in Mount Tallant Avenue in Terenure along with a warehouse in Inchicore from where he ran his business, Orphan Recording.
The combined rent, heating, electricity and other bills for the two properties set him back more than €4,000 per month and both he and Walsh, an archivist, were struggling to make ends meet.
“I was working flat out in the studio along with supplementing our income with gigs in bars around Dublin, plus presenting my radio show [Local’s Only on Radio Nova] yet some months we were still finding it hard to make ends meet,” says Glass.
“Needless to say, this ‘living to work’ way of life was not sustainable and we both felt we were not spending enough time together as a family. Amy left the house at 7am every morning and I was rarely home before 8pm and then often had to run out the door to do a covers gig. Then when we did have time together there was very little fuel in the tank.”
The couple knew something had to give, so made the decision to move out of the city entirely and began looking at properties in rural locations.
“I had always dreamed of moving to Wexford and opening a recording studio/B&B which was close to nature, but it was only when Amy became pregnant, that my hunter-gatherer instincts went into full-blown panic mode and we started to make plans to move out of Dublin,” he admits. “I had been slowly torturing myself by looking at houses we couldn’t afford online and going through fantastical renovations in my mind, but when the house we bought came up, it was the only one for us.
“It was in poor condition, but we had a vision for the place and there was a swimming pool which would be perfect for that dream studio I envisioned. So I drove to see it and put in an offer that day. We had no mortgage approval at the time and Amy had still to see the house, but I knew this had to be our new home.”
And so – having finally secured a mortgage after being refused twice – they made the decision to move from Dublin to the outskirts of Curracloe village with its stunning Blue Flag beach and in August swapped their two-bedroom house for a seven-bedroom country pile.
“Our new house sits on just under an acre and the views from the kitchen window are just stunning,” says Glass. “We look directly on to Forth mountain with miles of greenery and forest and on a clear evening, we have the most beautiful sunsets – it’s like something out of a Terrence Malick movie and we are still finding it hard to believe how we ended up with these views because back in Dublin, we looked out at rows of concrete houses on an infamous rat-run from Kimmage Road to Harold’s Cross Road.
“Mind you, the new place was in need of complete renovation as it had been left idle for a while and the back garden resembled something from Jumanji. We bought a mobile home to live in while we did the work on the main house and made plenty of mistakes along the way. I’m a complete DIY donkey but Amy is pretty handy – so we got stuck in and started tackling it room by room, problem by problem.
“Thankfully, we got into the house just before autumn turned to winter as we have some brilliant friends who were an incredible help. And we also got really lucky and met the fairy godfather of builders, who has just been fantastic with all the jobs which are beyond our abilities.”
Moving both their home and Glass’s business was undoubtedly stressful, but now the trio are settled into their new home and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
“Life has just been incredible since we moved down,” says the musician. “Of course, there are days when the amount of work to be done can seem overwhelming as we have been renovating on a super-tight budget as it took every penny we had to buy the place.
“And it takes a little bit of adjustment getting used to the dark and the quiet because having lived in the city for the past 20 years, we were used to everywhere being lit up and the sound of traffic.
“But while we have been flat-to-the-mat with work on the house, we do try and walk the beach most mornings or go for a hike in Raven Wood, which is this beautiful 7km trail of gorgeous forest and woodland which leads on to the North Slobs Nature Reserve, before tackling the day. I’ve started swimming in the sea a few times a week and having the cold water blow out the cobwebs in the morning is so exhilarating.
“Emmy-Mae started in the local playschool and everyone has been so welcoming and warm. Our neighbours are lovely, our local grocer can’t do enough for us and there is a great sense of community in the village. We are really delighted with the move.”