Rural thatched cottages have modern-day charm


You can count the number of thatched cottages in Oughterard in Co Galway on the fingers of one hand according to auctioneer Matt O'Sullivan.

He currently has one of the "exceptionally few" in the area on his books which he says was in "pretty derelict condition" when the current owner bought it. Its exterior has recently been completely restored and the inside modernised.

Situated in the Oldchapel area, about a mile from Oughterard town on the Galway Road, it is on the market for £140,000 (177,800). These cottages tend to be attractive to people looking for a holiday home or artists who stay for a couple of years and then move on, says the agent.

He reckons the cottage, which is situated beside a golf club, is about 150 years old.

From the outside, it looks much as it would have done in the 19th century. The thatch has been restored, the walls whitewashed and the tiny windows and door painted red.

Much of the pine in the interior, which includes the floor and ceiling, is original. There is a stone fireplace with a wood-stove in the livingroom and recessed lighting. The kitchen is fitted with units and has a tiled floor and the bathroom has an elecric shower.

The cottage has electric storage heating.

The drive and yard outside are shingled and the house is surrounded by mature trees, flowerbeds and drystone boundary walls. An outhouse is currently used for tools and fuel.

Probably one of the oldest surviving thatched cottages in the country at 300 years old is Cailin Rua in Tomnalossett on the main, Enniscorthy/New Ross Road in Co Wexford.

According to Colm Murphy of Warren Estates, thatched cottages are a scarce commodity in Enniscorthy.

"Most of them are in seaside areas like Curracloe, Blackwater and Kilmore, there are very few inland and they are scarce in Enniscorthy."

The asking price is £150,000 (190,500).

Set on a quarter of an acre with rockeries to the front, a vegetable garden to the rear and a patio and ponds to the side, it has been completely refurbished over the past three years by its current owners, who bought it in poor condition. It is situated beside Enniscorthy Golf Club.

Cailin Rua had a loft area which has been converted to an upper floor.

Spacious at 1,100 sq ft, it has a traditional half-door, an entrance hall and a sittingroom has an open brick fireplace with raised hearth and coal-effect gas fire. It also features a beamed ceiling and french doors to a side patio.

The dining area has a feature stone fireplace with a raised hearth, tiled floor and beamed ceiling and the kitchen has fitted units, a Belfast sink, a tiled floor and a door to the side garden.

There are two bedrooms on the upper floor, both with built-in wardrobes and shelves and one has a beamed ceiling.

The bathroom has a free-standing cast-iron claw-legged bath, a bidet, recessed lighting and partly tiled walls.

Heated by oil fired central heating, the cottage has its own septic tank and private water supply. The private driveway provides parking for several cars and the site is fenced and has a greenhouse.

Carpets, curtains, some furniture and all kitchen appliances are included in the sale.

Also in Co Wexford, a modern version of the thatched cottage, in Kilmore village is located close to Ballyhealy beach. It is on the market through William P Cleary for £250,000 (€317,500).

While reminiscent of the traditional style, with a reed roof, it has larger windows which are double glazed. It is also far bigger than most original cottages at 1,850 sq ft and stands on five acres.

Inside there are four double bedrooms, two with shower room en suites.

The decor is ultra modern. Stark white walls throughout enhance the overall impression of space and light.

The entrance hall has a ceramic tiled floor, and the livingroom has a solid-fuel stone and flagstone hearth, open beam ceiling and timber floors.

The sun lounge has a ceramic-tiled floor and sliding patio doors to the rear. This area also contains the stairs to an upper floor.

The extensively fitted kitchen has a glazed black granite worktop and the ceiling is beamed.

There is also a study/office, and a utility room which has a sink unit with glazed worktop and a tiled floor.

Two of the bedrooms are on the lower floor and upstairs another two bedrooms have double doors to floored attic storage areas. Outside there are extensive garden areas to the front and rear. The garden will be rotavated and seeded prior to the closing of the sale.

It is supplied by mains water, has a septic tank and oil fired central heating.