With Government plans under way to give people the legal right to work from home beyond the end of the pandemic, the practice has taken hold. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that Covid-19 has changed mindsets about the nature of work, and remote working practices that might have been achieved in five to 10 years had been realised in under a year.
It’s envisaged that as many as 20 per cent of public servants could be working from home on a permanent basis by the end of the year, and a new code of practice under development by the Workplace Relations Commission will also allow private sector workers to request to work from home under the policy.
The residential property implications are apparent as people can now work from almost anywhere once they have an internet connection. This has already been reflected in a stronger-than-expected year for country home sales, with prices outside Dublin outperforming those in the capital as house buyers vote with their feet.
With this in mind, here are eight homes in remote idyllic locations to consider. High speed broadband may not always come as standard (though local business network hubs are on the increase) and the included Eircode can be used to check the Comreg mobile coverage map for an indication of mobile connectivity in these areas.
1. ISLAND ESCAPE
Address Beach Cottage, West Quarter, Inishbofin, Co Galway
Price €445,000, reduced by €50,000 last October
Agent Sherry FitzGerald Mangan
Eircode H91 TX0R
Commute Twice daily 35-minute ferry service to Cleggan. Galway city: 77km.
Located seven miles off the Co Galway coast and beaten by Atlantic winds, Inishbofin has a tight-knit community in winter that expands in the summer months.
There are several properties for sale on the island but this is the only one with a B3 Ber energy rating – useful on those exposed winter nights. It has zoned underfloor heating and uPVC windows. There is one shop on the island, a 12-minute walk away, but Supervalu in Clifden delivers to the pier for pick-up. Lighthouse Networks supplies broadband to the house.
Built in 2004, this four-bed, three-bath property is in walk-in condition and could work well as a rental during the summer months.
2. BIDEN COUNTRY
Address Templetown House, Templetown, Coole Point, Co Louth
Agent SherryFitzGerald Carroll
Eircode A91 N792
Commute Dublin city: 105 minutes; Belfast city: 71 minutes
Out on Co Louth's Cooley peninsula, about 7km from Carlingford, is Templetown House, formerly Stella Maris. The four-bed detached house of 316sq m on three acres has expansive water views of Templetown beach and the Irish Sea. It is also situated across from Kilwirra cemetery, the final resting place of newly elected US president Joe Biden's great, great, great grandfather.
The house comes with a separate granny flat that could work as a home office. Lily Finnegan’s pub nearby, at the far side of the townland, is across the road from Biden’s home place. The nearest shop is 4km.
3. HIGH ON A BLUFF
Address Seaview, Dunworley, Clonakilty, Co Cork
Agent Charles McCarthy Auctioneers
Eircode P72 HT95
Commute Dublin: 307 minutes; Cork Airport: 50 minutes
High on the Seven Heads peninsula and adjacent to Dunworley beach, Seaview boasts water vistas over Dunworley Bay, the harbour and the southwest coastline. On a clear day you can see west to Rosscarberry, Skibbereen and even Cape Clear island.
The two-up, two-down traditional farmhouse has dual-aspect rooms, a kitchen with panel doors, tongue-and-groove panelled ceilings and plenty of charm. There are outhouses that could be refurbished for a home studio or office. The two-bed measures about 92sq m and there are a few neighbouring homes on the head. It is about an eight-mile drive to Clonakilty and a four-mile journey to Timoleague and Courtmacsherry. Cork Airport is 30 miles away.
4. DEFENSIVE DES RES
Address Martello Tower, Belvelly, Cobh, Co Cork
Agent DNG Murphy Condon
Eircode P24 HE63
Commute Cork city: 34 minutes; Dublin city: 159 minutes
This unusual three-bed, two-bath home is hidden away from the surrounding estate by granite boundary walls and an acre of mature gardens that includes rhododendrons, azaleas and olive trees. Built in 1813 with 10-ft thick walls, it commands panoramic views of the Estuary and Belvelly Bridge, which links Cork's Great Island to the mainland.
The redbrick-walled bedrooms are on the lower floor, where there is no wifi. The upper floor has a lovely, domed, limestone ceiling and its chartered engineer owner has fed cables for wifi down the chimney, giving it strong connectivity. The property extends to about 139sq m/1,500sq ft. Its roof, accessed via stone steps, boasts 360-degree views of the city and Belvelly Castle and could make a very cool terrace.
5. HOME SCHOOL HAVEN
Address The Old School House, Kilmilkin, Maam Cross, Co Galway
Agent Matt O'Sullivan Auctioneers
Eircode H91 YF2H
Commute Galway city: 67 minutes; Dublin city: 202 minutes
Situated equidistant between Leenane and Maam Cross is the former Kilmilkin national school or the Old School House, where the original boys and girls' toilets have been converted to workshops and storage. The Quiet Man starring Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne was shot in the area in 1951, a year aftere a stained-glass window by artist Evie Hone was installed in the local church.
The three-bed, two-bath property was built in 1884 and closed in 1963; 15 years later a second floor was added. Now extending to 107sq m/1,151sq ft, it has a D2 Ber rating.
6. MOUNTAIN HIGHS
Address Errigal House, Meenabol, Dunlewey, Co Donegal
Agent SherryFitzGerald Rainey
Eircode F92 N23R
Commute Letterkenny: 35 minutes; Belfast city: 152 minutes; Dublin city: 215 minutes
Four-bedroom, three-bathroom, A3-rated home at the foot of Mount Errigal, the highest of the Derryveagh Mountains. The new build overlooks Dunlewey, and is just minutes off the R251, the back road to Gweedore that runs by its base. It overlooks the loughs below, and the island where Diarmuid and Gráinne are said to have bedded down for a night. You can take a boat tour of the waters and ogle the Guinness estate, or visit Dunlewey Centre, a hotbed of local and tourist activity during normal seasons.
The 171sq m/1,840sq ft property has an open-plan kitchen-living area running the depth of the property.
7. A RIVER RUNS BY IT
Address The Manse, Coolfinn, Portlaw, Co Waterford
Agent SherryFitzGerald John Rohan
Eircode X91 HE48
Commute Waterford city: 15 minutes. Dublin city: 125 minutes.
Across the bridge from the village of Portlaw, in Co Waterford, is Curraghmore House, the setting for the All Together Now festival and the residence of the ninth Marquis of Waterford. Located in the village is the Manse, a charming four-bed built in the 1840s and set on 1.75 acres of beautifully maintained gardens bounded to the north by the river Clodagh.
The house’s period features include timber sash windows, cast-iron fireplaces and ceiling cornices. There was some flooding in 2016 and riverbank works required to prevent a recurrence. The property also comes with a disused church ruin. Built in 1845, if restored, this could make a small income stream, as the property is located about a 10-minute drive from the popular Waterford to Dungarvan greenway. Shop and school is about a four-minute walk.
8. CHOCOLATE BOX CHARM
Address Coole Cottage, Coole West, Athea, Co Limerick
Agent REA Dooley Group
Eircode V94 F72X
Commute Limerick city: 51 minutes; Galway city: 112 minutes; Dublin city: 173 minutes
In the wilds of west Limerick, about 6km outside the village of Athea, is the tiny hamlet of Coole West and this picture-pretty one-bed thatched cottage. At just 29.5sq m/317sq ft, it will suit an individual or a very loved-up couple – the bedroom is only 8.5sq m and the kitchen is scullery sized at just over 6.5sq m in size.
Built over a century ago, it is set on just over half an acre with a half-door and a pink sandstone-lined fireplace. There are additional outhouses, one of which is a garage of about 12sq m that could be reworked as an artist studio or home office. There is fibre broadband available in the area and walks aplenty on the doorstep. Listowel is about a 20-minute drive.