Sublime Sligo cottage offers promise of the good life for €250,000
Thistledome Cottage comes with separate work studio and treehouse on an acre of land
Thistledome Cottage, Castlebaldwin, Co Sligo
If you’ve been dutifully nurturing a sourdough starter, growing your own vegetables or coveting a vintage Laura Ashley midi dress or frilly blouse, then whether you know it or not, you’re already across cottagecore, an internet movement that in real life is a response to lockdown living and the increasing time spent on screens. It’s also part of a shift as fashion’s pendulum swings, as it does, from glossy and urbane to keeping it country.
In the quest for more space, less mortgage pressure and a response to Covid-19, the last 12 months have seen many city slickers leaving the capital for pastures greener.
For lovers of the good life, Thistledome Cottage, set high above the village of Castlebaldwin in Co Sligo, with views across the landscape to Lough Arrow, might be just be just the place to hang one’s hat and proceed to live the dream.
That was the plan when Caroline and her husband Mark Minshall spotted it about 12 years ago when it was about half the size it is now. They turned the 41sq m (450sq ft) one-bedroom, 1950s property into a three-bedroom family home of 102sq m (1,100sq feet), all the while retaining original features such as the timber panel and latch doors, the original hearth in the lounge, and the internal whitewashed walls.
Caroline’s a wedding photographer/videographer who runs Pink Lime Studios. In the course of her work, she has documented the nuptials of numerous well-known names including Ireland and Everton footballer Séamus Coleman, LA models Christopher Mason and Olivia Zumwalt, and Tom Duffy of Duffy’s Circus. All the post-production for those getting hitched is done from her on site work space - a timber-built studio of about 27sq m (300sq ft).
The couple insulated the main property, added uPVC double glazing and a mechanical ventilation system as well as inserting a dual-fuel Saey stove and back boiler into the inglenook fireplace.
Set on about an acre, the property also includes a Brutalist-style tree house that Mark built for their kids and a couple of outbuildings including a garage where he houses his VW campervan.
For would-be grow-it-yourself fans, they’ve already planted raspberry bushes and put in a couple of raised beds where they’ve grown potatoes, beetroot, leeks and cabbage.
The property is seeking €250,000 through agent DNG Flanagan Ford.
The couple’s next move is to live a new and very Irish dream. They’re undertaking the design and building of their own brand new house, to be constructed on a site given to them by Caroline’s parents.
Romantic rural Ireland for two
Beihy, Drumlish, Co Longford
€130,000; SherryFitzGerald McGill; myhome.ie
Near the Co Leitrim border, set well off the main drag and accessed via a meandering back road, this one-bedroom, stone cottage is pretty both inside and out. It has a kitchen, living room with tongue and groove-panelled pitched ceiling and exposed stone chimney breast, a dual-aspect bedroom that leads through to a small study and the bathroom. The G-Ber rated property is on just over 1.1 acres of land.
The nearest place to get a pint of milk is Drumlish village, about 2.5km away where there are several walking trails including the Barraghbeg O’Higgins Trail which leads along the river. CornHill is an uphill option that rewards walkers with cracking views across nine counties once you climb to the top.
High-spec abode ready for rural family life
Cusloura, Macroom, Co Cork
€545,000; Heffernan Estates; myhome.ie
If you fancy country charm but also like creature comforts such as geothermal underfloor heating on both floors and a toasty B1 Ber rating then this timber-frame four-bedroom, 325sq m (3,498sq ft) detached house in Cusloura, about a 12-minute drive outside Macroom, might be just the thing.
The property, which was built about 12 years ago, emulates the character of the 19th century farmhouse that had occupied the site previously. It has a butter-yellow country kitchen, quarry tiles and separate buildings from which the owners run a beauty and cheese business. The nearest place for a pint of milk is Ballynagree, about 3km away.
Work life balanced
Foxglove Cottage, Lugglass, Hollywood, Blessington, Co Wicklow
€240,000; Nugent Auctioneers; myhome.ie
If you love the idea of escaping the city but still need to attend meetings in the capital then a good halfway house is Foxglove Cottage. High above the Hollywood hills of Co Wicklow, with views of the Blessington lakes, this is a single storey long house, and a good example of our vernacular architecture where one room leads through to another. The 78sq m (839sq ft) property has retained many traditional features starting with its half front door on the porch. There are timber sash windows in the two double bedrooms, whitewashed walls throughout with granite lintels on internal doorways, exposed stone detailing and a scrubbed timber kitchen with Belfast-style sink and slate floor, which was part of a renovation done back in 1999. Located within an hour of Dublin city centre, the bidding is currently active on this house.