Old church reimagined as a comfortable home in Wicklow for €725,000

‘It’s been the most peaceful place I have ever lived’: Deconsecrated in 1991, owners have modified the property that blends period details with contemporary comforts

Address: The Sanctuary, Macreddin West. Aughrim, Co Wicklow
Price: €725,000
Agent: O’Neill & Flanagan
View this property on MyHome.ie

The Sanctuary, a former Church of Ireland church in Macreddin West, was a chapel of ease for parishioners who could not reach the parish church conveniently, which explains why it does not have a graveyard on its grounds.

Constructed in the 1860s of local granite, it lies about 4km from Aughrim, Co Wicklow, a town so famous for its granite, it was often referred to as the Granite City. Quarried extensively in nearby Tinnakilly, in 1934 a large consignment of the stone was used for the foundations of Liverpool Cathedral. It was also used extensively in the Shannon hydro-electric scheme in the 1920s due to the fact that it has low porosity.

Deconsecrated in 1991, and now known as The Sanctuary, the former church has had four owners since it became a home, and was last purchased in 2020 for €415,000 according to the Property Price Register.

The second owner added a three-storey tower to the side of the building – a space where bedrooms now occupy the two upper floors with a kitchen below – and in the early 2000s the third owner added a bright sunroom that opens out on to a sun-drenched patio.


Its current owners, who are reluctantly moving abroad and are sad to leave, did quite a bit of work since becoming custodians of the historical property. They have placed their most interesting home on the market through estate agent O’Neill & Flanagan, seeking €725,000.

The tower roof was replaced and the original roof on the old chapel dating from the 1860s was removed, as were its timbers, so layers of insulation could be added, thereby reducing heat loss. This has seen the Ber rise to a C3, which, given period details and ceiling heights, is an accomplishment.

It also has a new pressurised heating system and an oak kitchen, which was installed in 2022.

The property has three bedrooms and four bathrooms, with lots of period details such as its original front door, lancet windows and exposed brick adding interest over its 225sq m (2,422sq ft) of floor space.

The principal bedroom lies in a mezzanine with a rose window over the bed, allowing verdant views to the front.

There are two living areas: one in the main chapel space with vaulted panelled ceilings and overhead beams, and the second in the new sunroom. Both rooms have wood-burning stoves, one of which is new.

“I have lived all over the world,” says the owner, “and have had houses in London, Jersey and New York, and this has been my absolute favourite. It’s been the most peaceful place I have ever lived.”

The location, a three-minute drive from Macreddin golf course, also has the four-star Brook Lodge and Macreddin village up the road, where owners can enjoy a pint, dinner or, indeed, the spa.

Teeming with wildlife, there are a plethora of walks in the vicinity including the Sean Linehan walk in Aughrim, an easy 4km mix of boardwalk and forest trails – perfect for all ages.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables