Six within 60: homes to buy within an hour of the M50

The right post-pandemic move can offer the best of rural living within reach of Dublin

  Old Station House, Charleville Parade, Tullamore, Co Offaly

Old Station House, Charleville Parade, Tullamore, Co Offaly

 

The new working-from-home wave has fuelled a surge in interest for living outside the capital, promising pastures greener in locations where your money will go further. But not everyone can decamp entirely to a home along the Wild Atlantic Way. For many, the new work-life reality will likely be a hybrid of working from home with a commute to the office a couple of days a week.

Currently, the average price of a decent-sized four-bedroom semi-detached home in the capital is €450,000, according to the latest house price report from MyHome.ie. Move just a little further beyond the Pale and the same money can buy great properties in lovely locations and a decent chance to achieve that elusive work/life balance.

Here are six homes, with four bedrooms or more each, within walking distance of amenities, for less than the price of the average four-bed semi in Dublin. And, almost all are situated within 60 minutes of the M50.

Prime location with period charm aplenty

Old Station House, Charleville Parade, Tullamore, Co Offaly
Old Station House, Charleville Parade, Tullamore, Co Offaly

Town Tullamore, Co Offaly
Address Old Station House, Charleville Parade, Cormac Street
Agent SherryFitzGerald Lewis Hamill
Price €385,000 (14 per cent less than an average four-bed Dublin semi)
Drive time to M50 60 minutes

There’s more to Tullamore than its biggest export, the triple-distilled, triple-blend whiskey. It’s situated on the Grand Canal, with mainline train links, and you can cycle the Greenway west all the way to Shannon Harbour. The old station house is a fine property in need of gentle modernising but with period charm aplenty and lovely proportions too. At hall level there are three reception rooms, two of which are interconnecting. It measures 183sq m (1,970sq ft) and is set on a plot that includes a large back yard and double garage that extends the width of the property with vehicular side-access.

Commuters will love that the train station is literally across the road, and Dublin is a rail journey time of 55 minutes. A lovely town park and playground is just 40m from the front door.

Sand, sea, and big skies overhead

14 The Cloisters, Bettystown, Co Meath
14 The Cloisters, Bettystown, Co Meath
The kitchen at 14 The Cloisters, Bettystown, Co Meath
The kitchen at 14 The Cloisters, Bettystown, Co Meath
Bettystown beach is popular with kite surfers and land yachters
Bettystown beach is popular with kite surfers and land yachters

Town Bettystown, Co Meath
Address 14 The Cloisters, Bettystown, Co Meath
Agent Shane Black Property Advisors and Agents
Price €375,000 (17 per cent less than an average four-bed Dublin semi)
Drive time to M50 32 minutes

If you’re looking for wide, open spaces and plenty of sky overhead, then Bettystown, with its huge expanse of strand, is a smart move. You can walk north to the “wall” at Mornington or south all the way to Laytown. Bettystown is where kite surfers and land yachters go to let off steam. Other amenities include the tennis club and Bettystown golf club, both also on the coast. The town recently opened a new secondary and primary school, both within the same grounds, making drop-offs a bit easier. The train station in Laytown is a two-minute drive or cycle. The commuter service journey to Connolly Station is 55 minutes. Matthews’ bus service runs to Dublin’s IFSC every half-hour.

Number 14 The Cloisters is situated in a 1990s-built estate. The five-bedroom, five-bathroom property measures 135sq m (1,453sq ft) and boasts new triple-glazed windows and a new kitchen. It is within a six-minute walk of the beach.

Almost heaven in Virginia

14 Swiftbrook Glen, Virginia, Co Cavan
14 Swiftbrook Glen, Virginia, Co Cavan
The entrance hall and staircase at 14 Swiftbrook Glen, Virginia, Co Cavan
The entrance hall and staircase at 14 Swiftbrook Glen, Virginia, Co Cavan
Virginia is home to Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge
Virginia is home to Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge

Town Virginia, Co Cavan
Address 14 Swiftbrook Glen, Virginia, Co Cavan
Agent DNG O’Dwyer
Price €375,000, up €30,000 this month (17 per cent less than an average four-bed Dublin semi)
Drive time to M50 58 minutes

Named by way of tribute to Queen Elizabeth I during the Plantation of Ulster, Virginia is an old estate town built around its landmark Church of Ireland premises. Set on the shores of Lough Ramor, it’s where Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan chose to set up his private events business at former hunting lodge Virginia Park Lodge, where, post Covid-19 restrictions, it will serve Sunday lunch to non-residents. There are walking trails aplenty, with one looping the lake. The town has an hourly bus service to Dublin, and Blanchardstown is a journey time of 45 minutes. The village has its own Lidl and boasts both primary and secondary schools. Number 14 Swiftbrook Glen is a sizeable five-bedroom detached house of 216sq m (2,325sq ft) on the outskirts, about a 30-minute walk to either school.

Star-turn address

Viewpoint, Main Street, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow is a newly-developed scheme of 115 homes
Viewpoint, Main Street, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow is a newly-developed scheme of 115 homes
A kitchen at the Viewpoint scheme in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow
A kitchen at the Viewpoint scheme in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow

Village Rathdrum, Co Wicklow
Address Viewpoint, Main Street, Rathdrum
Agent REA Brophy Farrell
Price €301,000 (33 per cent less than an average four-bed Dublin semi)
Drive Time to M50 32 minutes

Situated just 2km from the Avonmore River and west of the N11 is Rathdrum, onetime home of Ireland’s “uncrowned king”, Charles Stewart Parnell, whose birthplace, Avondale House, set within Avondale Park, boasts 500 acres of mature woodland, which is open to the public. The village has featured in a number of Irish films including Michael Collins (1996) and A Love Divided (1999).

Viewmount is an estate of 115 new homes that is less than 2km from Rathdrum train station, where there is a mainline service to Dublin. Bus Éireann’s route 133 serves the village twice daily. The brand new four-bedroom, three-bathroom semi of 126sq m (1,356sq ft) is ready to walk into. The village also has a choice of three primary schools and one secondary school.

Renovation project

The Old Post Office, Castletown, Co Wexford
The Old Post Office, Castletown, Co Wexford
The sheds to the rear of The Old Post Office in Castletown could be developed as a home office or studio
The sheds to the rear of The Old Post Office in Castletown could be developed as a home office or studio

Village Castletown, Co Wexford
Address The Old Post Office, Castletown, Co Wexford
Agent Warren Estates
Price €250,000, reduced by €40,000 (45 per cent less than an average four-bed Dublin semi)
Drive time to M50 46 minutes

Castletown is a small village that embodies Wexford’s farming heritage. It has none of the ritzy coffee shops and eateries of its neighbouring towns. It doesn’t even have a shop. The nearest place to get a pint of milk is in Inch, which, unlike its name, is 5km away.

Situated about 8km south of Arklow, where there are mainline train and bus services to Dublin, Castletown has a primary school, church and pub, The Golden Anchor.

The village is 1km inland from the gorgeous Clones beach, one of three sandy crescents accessible from the village. Property developer Harry Crosbie, a man who can spot a smart location with his eyes shut, has a home on Kilpatrick beach to the north.

The Old Post Office fronts onto the main road and is in need of complete renovation, but does have oil-fired central heating. For a young family willing to take a chance, it is located across the road from the local national school and comprises a three-bedroom property of 94sq m (1,012sq ft) and an adjoining two-bedroom dwelling of 65sq m (700sq ft) – the Post Office – that could work as a holiday let. There are a number of sheds to the rear, including a stable, that could also be developed into a home office or studio. The property is on nearly an acre. Gorey, with its lively pub and restaurant scene, is about 8km away.

One that earns its keep

Catstone Lodge, Mullenmeehan, Ballymore, Co Westmeath
Catstone Lodge, Mullenmeehan, Ballymore, Co Westmeath
The cast-iron staircase at Catstone Lodge, Mullenmeehan, Ballymore, Co Westmeath
The cast-iron staircase at Catstone Lodge, Mullenmeehan, Ballymore, Co Westmeath
The kitchen at Catstone Lodge, Mullenmeehan, Ballymore, Co Westmeath
The kitchen at Catstone Lodge, Mullenmeehan, Ballymore, Co Westmeath

Village Ballymore, Co Westmeath
Address Catstone Lodge, Mullenmeehan, Ballymore, Westmeath
Agent Colliers International
Price €445,000, reduced by €40,000 earlier this month (1 per cent less than an average four-bed Dublin semi)
Drive time to M50 70mins

Deep in the heart of Swift country, with Uisneach Hill visible in the distance where a druid’s stone known locally as Catstone stands, is the village of Ballymore. There is a shop, a pub, Cunningham’s bar and a primary school along with the landmark ruin, St Owens, the Church of Ireland church.

On its outskirts, and set on a gently-sloping site, is Catstone Lodge, the former home of Ruth Rogers, a Connemara pony-breeding expert and photographer who documented the racing and sport horse scene for half a century. It would be a squeeze to get here within 60 minutes but is worth that extra 10-minute drive for the chocolate box-pretty property.

Divided into three units, it’s a property with potential income streams – in particular in the summer and shoulder seasons. The central part is a two-bedroom house of about 100sq m (1,076sq ft); its bedrooms are accessed via a cast-iron spiral staircase. On each side of it is a one-bedroom unit with own-door access. It comes with paddocks, too, should you fancy keeping horses.

Drive times based on Google Maps estimates 

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