Check out the amazing ringfort landscaping around this €595k Laois lair
Spacious Cluain Ard has 4,500 sq ft inside and 12 acres outside
There can be such a thing as having too much space. Take the walk-in wardrobe for instance - a godsend for people with mountains of clothes. But what if you've amassed nothing but a half-dozen T-shirts and a pair of jeans in the past decade? The rows and rows of empty shelves in your walk-in wardrobe will be a daily affront. You will feel like a failure.
The simple solution, of course, is to take up shopping. By starting slowly, you can cultivate an occasional shopping habit until it develops into a chronic compulsion, and you end up with nowhere to keep all your stuff.
It's unlikely though, that you'll run into any such problem at Cluain Ard, a sprawling detached house at Castletown, Co Laois.
There are five bedrooms in the house, and two have walk-in wardrobes - the master bedroom on the first floor and one of the two bedrooms on the top floor of the three-storey house. Here there's a fully shelved room of eaves storage accessible only from the bedroom and about as big as the bedroom itself, so it's the perfect spot in which to hide your regrettable impulse buys.
It's not just the storage; Cluain Ard is a roomy house all round, with a floor area of 4,500 sq ft. That could make for a lot of hoovering between shopping sprees, but luckily it has a central vacuum system to take some of the slog out of that.
What's more, it's on 12 acres of grounds, but the owners have taken the labour-saving option with regard to the outdoor work by establishing a garden as a sort of hedged off oasis in the middle of the land - ring fort like - and reached from a curving beech-lined avenue. It has lawns, a rockery, shrubs, and a large pond with a cascade.
If you want to make more use of the land, there are two options. One is to consider using it for development, as it adjoins the zoned area for the village of Castletown. The other is to expand the garden, and for inspiration along those lines you need look no farther than Gash Gardens, less than a kilometre away.
Twenty-five years ago Gash Gardens was a four-acre cow paddock; today it's one of Castletown's main attractions, with specimen trees, a riverside walk, old roses and exotic flowers, and a stone cavern known as the Moon House, with a waterfall and lily pond.
Cluain Ard was begun around the same time, having been built back in the 1990s by its current owners. It's in the quaintly-named townland of Pilgrimhill, about five minutes' walk from the village and 400 metres from the banks of the River Nore.
The house faces due north, away towards the Slieve Bloom Mountains, allowing for the positioning of some very sunny reception rooms on the southern elevation.
There are five reception rooms in all, not including a quite grand entrance hall with a gas-fitted fireplace, an antique pine floor and an imposing open-string staircase rising to a gallery landing on the first floor and dog-legging to the top level.
To the left of the entrance hall is the main formal reception room - a dual-aspect, yellow-painted drawing room with a bay window and a fireplace, and French doors out to the patio.
To the right there's a family room or TV room, also with an antique pine floor and another fireplace. The family room opens through double doors into the kitchen, which has another bay window, handmade floor tiles and an Aga in a brick alcove. It's fitted with antique pine cabinets with marble countertops and has a moveable centre island. Off the kitchen there's both a utility room and a pantry.
Also off the kitchen, on the southern side of the house, is a sun room with doors to the garden, and from there you also reach the dual-aspect dining room. It's fitted out for formal meals, with warm ochre and green walls and another gas-fitted fireplace.
Three of the bedrooms are on the first floor, and the master bedroom on this level has a fireplace and an adjoining dressing room and en-suite with shower and bath.
The other two bedrooms are on the second floor; both are en-suite and the second bedroom has the adjoining eaves storage promoting reckless shopping.
Castletown is a pretty village with a tree-studded village green and has several buildings listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, including the De La Salle Monastery on the green. The village is also the site of a salmon weir bridge and a handsome old corn mill.
If you want to live there, you'd better get your hanging baskets under good regulation, as Castletown has a long record of success in the Tidy Towns competition, winning the overall national award in 2002.
There are several schools both in the village itself and in Mountrath, about four kilometres away. Castletown is about an hour and a half's drive from Dublin via the M7, which you can join at Portlaoise after about 15 minutes on a regional road. Cluain Ard is for sale at €595,000 with Jordan Town and Country (045) 433 550.
Castletown, Co Laois
Asking price: €595,000
Agent: Jordan Town and Country (045) 433 550