Cottage life in Co Wexford
Fully refurbished, this holiday home sits in a quieter part of the county
Everyone loves hopping into the car at the weekend and going to visit friends or family. When they live in a different county, the trip involves getting on the road a bit earlier, in the hope that you'll head home before it gets dark.
But when the time comes to hit the road, you're just starting to have fun. The spare room is offered. You want to stay and enjoy the company, but you also want to sleep in your own bed and wake up in the comfort of your own home.
The owners of this cottage in Scullabogue in Foulksmills, Co Wexford had this experience too many times. Living in Galway, with a lot of family in Wexford, meant they were racking up too many miles and staying in too many spare rooms. When they saw a small, run-down cottage on one of their visits, they knew they were on to a good thing. They could stay and have their own beds to sleep in.
They bought the house 14 years ago and completely gutted it, and went on to refurbish it to a very high standard. It was more than a holiday home for them because they used it so often. This is why they wanted to do it up to their taste, with the same spec that you'd expect in any full-time home. Now this Galway couple could invite family to their house for a change, where they said they had many parties and barbecues over the years.
When you walk into the entrance hall of this two-bed cottage, the kitchen is to your right. This is a small room with a few fitted units, a Belfast sink and a solid-fuel stove. The sitting room on the other side of the hall is a cosy room with an open fireplace and a wood-panelled ceiling. This room leads into a sun room, with solid wood flooring and a door to the garden. The main bathroom is also on the ground floor and has a Mira electric shower, a bath and is plumbed for a washing machine.
The first floor is reached by a staircase in the kitchen. There are two double bedrooms on this level, both with fitted wardrobes and wood panelling. There is also a small wc with toilet and sink, and a hotpress with shelving.
The house has been re-wired, re-plumbed and re-roofed. The windows are double glazed and the property is fully alarmed. There is electric storage heating, mains water supply and a septic tank.
The gardens would not take much maintenance, with a gravel driveway around the house, and mature trees and shrubs all around the grounds.
The property is situated just 1km off the N25, on the R735 towards Newbawn. The small villages of Ballinaboola, Newbawn and Foulksmills are all a short drive away, but for bigger stores and facilities New Ross is a 10-minute drive and Wexford town is 15 minutes away. The Hook Peninsula and its 14 beaches are just over 20 minutes away. A drive to Dublin takes a little over two hours on the M11.
What To Do
The Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross is a huge attraction in Wexford. The 'Irish Emigrant Experience' begins on the quayside in New Ross where you are brought on board The Dunbrody and told all about the long trip to New York. Performers play the roles of the famine emigrants and explain the harshness of conditions on the voyage.
There is a museum there too if you want to learn a bit more about those hard times.
JFK fans will enjoy a visit to the Kennedy homestead just outside New Ross. It's the birthplace of John F Kennedy's great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy. His family are still involved in running the centre and have done a good job in creating an interesting exhibition, with memorabilia that includes letters from Jackie and a display dedicated to JFK's visit in 1963, which Kennedy referred to as "the best four days of my life".
A drive along the Ring of Hook is worthwhile.
The scenery is exceptional but keep in mind that the lighthouse tour is best suited to a clear day. Wexford town is a pleasant place to spend a day. On a walk through the town's winding streets, you will find an abundance of craft shops, small galleries and appealing cafes. The Wexford Opera Festival takes place every October and is a 12-day event, with highlights this year to include performances of 'Il Campanello' by Gaetano Donizetti and 'Herculanum' by Félicien David.
Eating and Drinking
The closest spot to grab a bite to eat and a drink would be the Horse and Hound in Ballinaboola, which is only a few minutes away in the car.
It's a hotel with a decent restaurant and bar, and would probably be a good place to get to know the locals.
Mannions, just north of New Ross, would best be described as a gastropub that everyone seems to rave about. They have a good menu with dishes like Potted Kilmore crab, Goatsbridge trout or Wexford steak burger. The Hollow Bar and Restaurant in Ramsgrange is about 20 minutes from the cottage and has a good local seafood menu.
They are probably best known for their takeaway menu of 'fancy' fish and chips, for those nights when you can't face cooking.
This is a much quieter part of Wexford than the beach resorts of Kilmuckridge, Ballymoney and Courtown. It's not as popular with Dubs, which could only add to its appeal.
According to the agents, buyers around this area are a mix of older couples from Dublin wanting to retire to the area, younger families looking to move out of cities and into the bigger house in the countryside, or UK investors.
What's Not To Like
When you think of holiday homes in Wexford, you think of beaches and coastal walks.
This cottage is a good 20-minute drive to the coast, so a trip to the beach would involve a bit of effort.
The house is also quite small so any extra guests would have to take the couch.
Foulksmills, New Ross, Co Wexford
Asking price: €149,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Radford (051) 426160