Tuam house that was once an ‘object of wonder’ for €420,000

Front garden of 1912 house was the talk of the Galway city

  • Address: Bishop Street, Tuam, Co Galway
  • Price: € 420,000
  • Agent: Joyce Insurance & Auctioneers
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When a certain detached house was first built on Bishop Street in 1912, it quickly became, according to local history “an object of wonder”. But what exactly was so exciting about this 207sq m (2,224sq ft) four-bedroom property?

Quite simply its architect, Anthony Scott, had given it a front garden. Up until that time, almost all the houses in Tuam had been built right on to the footpath. Today we know the value of a bit of hedging and lawn to keep traffic (and those given to peering in windows) at a distance but, back in the day, it was said to “have had a dramatic effect on the streetscape”.

Scott did a great deal of work for the Catholic Church, and is also reported, by the Dictionary of Irish Architects (dia.ie), to be “the first person to ‘cap’ an Irish round tower”, which is possibly also an object of wonder? His architect son, William, worked with him for a while, though it’s not known if he had a hand in this house. He was described by WB Yeats as “a drunken genius”.

Bishop Street, Tuam, Co Galway.
Bishop Street, Tuam, Co Galway.

The current owners are only the second to have lived in, and loved this atmospheric and attractive property. They’ve also looked after it very well, having spent a year before moving in updating where necessary. Now regretfully downsizing, they have continued to maintain it throughout with grace and style. “Everything we did was in keeping,” the owner says. “We mimicked what was there, and refurbished what we could.” This includes the old traditional Aga in the country-style kitchen. “Every bedroom has its fireplace, there are the original tiles in the hallway too.”

Bishop Street, Tuam, Co Galway.
Bishop Street, Tuam, Co Galway.

One change was to turn the former scullery into a bar, modern living requirements having changed over the years. They also added a sun-room, which is one of the owner’s favourite spaces. “In summer I sit there and play my music: right now it’s an eclectic mix, from Cole Porter to country. In winter it’s the living room, where we added a stove about three years ago. Though the kitchen is a great focal point too,” he adds, musing on family memories of parties and barbecues, and on which room he’ll miss most.

Bishop Street, Tuam, Co Galway.
Bishop Street, Tuam, Co Galway.

Tuam is a thriving city. “It’s actually Ireland’s smallest city,” says the owner, “with a special charter.” Bishop Street is incredibly convenient, just three minutes’ walk to the town square. There’s also a large back garden, with a patio, lawn and plenty of off-street parking. Meanwhile the upgraded M17/M18 motorway brings Galway just 30 minutes away from this lovely family home. For sale with Joyce Auctioneers, at a guide of €420,000.