Meath's coastline is a short one, with a 3km beach running from the south at Laytown, through Bettystown, to Mornington, which makes up 40 per cent of the county's coast. It's a commuter town area that is often overlooked in the current scramble for property, but in fact it represents an excellent alternative to north Co Dublin commuter towns such as Skerries and Malahide.
Bettystown is the epicentre of the three towns and became prominent as a holiday destination, with Dubliners particularly spending a number of weeks beside the sea in a pre-Ryanair time when holidays abroad were not the norm, with the quite stunning beach and dunes being the main draw. The same beach also hosts the Laytown Strand Races every September, which has the very specific honour of being the only horse race in Ireland and the UK that is run under Turf Club rules.
What is the housing stock like?
Like most Irish towns, Bettystown started life as number of farms and individual homes around a small village, before growing into a larger rural community. There was a growth spurt in the 1970s and then also in the Celtic Tiger period a number of new housing developments were created, which led to a rise in population and the further development of the village into more of a town proper, with a variety of different housing options available.
The current housing situation has seen eyes turn to Bettystown once more as a town with development potential and as a result three new developments are under way.
"There's Eastham Square, which is 500m from the beach, which is a split of three-, four-bedroom houses," says Shane Black, managing director of Shane Black Property Advisors and Agents. "There'll be 44 houses in total. They'll be a split of semi-detached and detached homes. Twelve have been sold of 14 in the first phase and the second phase is launching the weekend of November 4th.
"We are bringing Cois na Mara to the market, which is a development of 88 three- and four-bed semi-detached and detached houses," says Darren Kelly of Noel Kelly Auctioneers. "We've sold 64 and have 24 to go."
Sherry Fitzgerald are selling the third development, Dun Eimear, which comprises 115 three- and four-bed semi-detached and detached homes.
Who is buying in the area?
A large number of buyers are those downsizing, either from larger homes in the immediate area and also from Dublin.
"There is an even split between people downsizing from Dublin – north county out as far as Castleknock and Blanchardstown, " says Kelly. "Then there are also first-time buyers who want to get on the property ladder and find the prices in Bettystown enable them to do that. Then there are families in Bettystown who are trading up to larger homes, usually four beds."
What’s village life like?
What might have let Bettystown down in the past was a lack of amenities but that is not the case now. There are a number of good eateries and bars in Bettystown itself, including Relish, Reddan’s Bar and B&B, Bistro BT and also in Laytown the excellent Nans, serving superb lunches and coffee: lunch here is worth the trip to Laytown alone.
The town is also well served by a number of other amenities including Chinese takeaways and a fitness and leisure centre, as well as a large Tesco Superstore. Planning has also been granted for the construction of a new Aldi store on the Laytown seafront.
There is still room for more growth and new development in the town; however The Last Straw pub in the heart of the town is vacant. The property is sale agreed with Sherry Fitzgerald and represents a superb commercial opportunity that would breathe new life into Bettystown’s centre, socially and visually, given its prominent location. There are also plans afoot to renovate the Village Hotel – which has been sitting idle for about eight years – into a gastropub, which is due to open in six to nine months’ time.
Sport and recreation
The area is obviously ideal for watersports enthusiasts given its prominent beachside location, but also has a wide selection of sports clubs in the vicinity. The 18-hole Bettystown and Laytown Golf course would be the best known of those, but tennis is also catered for with Laytown and Bettystown Lawn Tennis Club. GAA is represented by St Colmcilles – who reached the final of the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Football Championship this year. Former Ireland, Munster and Leinster rugby player Niall Ronan is a local man and started his career with the nearby Boyne RFC.
What are transport links like?
What might hold many back from taking the leap across the border from Dublin to Meath is the distance to Dublin city centre, which is 50km. However, it's one of the better-served commuter towns in terms of both road and rail. The M1 is a short distance from Bettystown and will take a commuter into the city in 35-50 minutes by car. Matthews Coach service serves both Bettystown and Laytown and runs into Cathal Brugha Street. The Belfast train line to Dublin also runs through Laytown with plans in the pipeline to open a new station at Bettystown.
"There is a plot of land along the rail line that is currently for sale that is zoned for a rail station," says Black. "If that development goes ahead, with a stop in the middle of Drogheda and Laytown, that's really going to further open up the town for commuters."
What’s for sale in Bettystown
Two-bed, one-bath, detached house, The Gate Lodge, at Bettystown Cross, for €215,000. Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald.
Three-bed, three-bath semi-detached at Cois na Mara, for €257,000. Agent: Noel Kelly Auctioneers.
Four-bed, three-bath semi-detached home at Eastham Square, for €295,000. Agent: Shane Black.
Four-bed, three-batch detached home, Woodstock, at Bettystown Cross, for €730,000. DNG Brady.
What’s for rent in Bettystown
Three-bed, two-bath terraced house at The Courtyard, Eastham Road, for €1,200 a month. Agent: private.
Two-bed, two-bath apartment at The Anchorage, for €1,225 a month. Agent: private.