Country life near the city
Royal Canal Park, Ashtown, Dublin 15; Asking price: €295,000-€345,000+; Agent: Sherry FitzGerald New Homes (01) 6671888
If you're looking for an affordable taste of country life just 15 minutes from the centre of Dublin, Ballymore's new northside development of three and four-bed houses might fit the bill - the scheme is on the banks of the Royal Canal, overlooks the 123ac Tolka Valley Park and is close to the Phoenix Park.
The scenic route to the canalside development is through the Phoenix Park, Castleknock and a charming rural-like road via Ashtown to nearby Pelletstown.
There, residents at Royal Canal Park can walk or cycle the canal towpath to the city centre or to the midlands in the opposite direction, or get the train from Ashtown Station. Ballymore has planning permission for another rail stop called Royal Canal Park.
There will be 20 homes built during the first phase of houses at Royal Canal Park, with the scheme ultimately expected to have 152 properties.
It features two main house types, albeit with some variations.
The size of the three-bed homes range from 1,227 sq ft to 1,314 sq ft and prices start at €295,000.
The four-beds have three styles available, with sizes varying between 1,560 sq ft and 1,740 sq ft, with prices starting at €345,000.
Designed by O'Mahony Pike Architects, the properties have a timber frame and a combination of brick and self-coloured rendered blockwork with concrete roof tiles and a grey or red-brick finish.
Each one has raised ceiling heights on the ground floor and high performance hardwood windows and, inside, has Ballymore's trademark custom-designed bathroom and kitchen fittings.
Both the three-beds and the four-beds feel particularly spacious. The double-fronted three-storey four-beds have a bright lounge with a bay window, a large kitchen with an island and Minerva worktops, and four large bedrooms, two of which are ensuite.
The master bedroom on the top floor is especially roomy as it has a dramatic double-height ceiling, two sides of wardrobe space and a double shower in the ensuite.
One of the key design features that stands out in all of the house styles is a room off the kitchen space that can be used either as a study or as a family den as it has the optional extra of a multimedia wall.
While children are playing in the den or watching TV, parents cooking in the kitchen could easily keep on eye on them from the taupe breakfast bar.
Ballymore expects many of the prospective buyers to be young families trading up from apartments or smaller houses in the rest of Dublin 15 and adjacent Dublin 7.
And, indeed, there's plenty of under-stairs storage and attic space in Royal Canal Park to accommodate worldly belongings stored up from years of living in a tighter space.
These very large A-rated houses enjoy the very latest technologies to ensure they are extremely efficient to run, minimising heating bills.
These technologies include exceptional levels of insulation and an air to water heat-pump system that feeds the wall-mounted radiators and provides domestic hot water.
It felt like the heating had been switched on in the show houses, but the warmth came from high levels of insulation in the walls, floors and ceilings. Ballymore, led by Sean Mulryan, started developing apartments at Royal Canal Park in 2004 and these apartments are now fully complete and occupied.
The entrance to the new scheme of houses is located directly across from the second phase of apartments.
As well as Ashtown Train Station and another planned station, the Luas Cross City service currently under construction will connect Broombridge, a five-minute walk from Royal Canal Park, to the city centre.
Commuters can use the 120 bus that operates from Royal Canal Park throughout the day to Parnell Street and motorists can use the nearby Navan Road to gain access to both the M50 and the centre of Dublin.
The show houses at Royal Canal Park in Ashtown can be viewed tomorrow and Sunday, between 2pm-4pm or by appointment with the selling agents.