Extended and renovated 19th century home on the market in Wexford for €329k
Extended and renovated 19th century home next door to Tintern Abbey
In 1200, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, set sail for Ireland on his first visit after his inheritance as Lord of Leinster following his marriage to heiress Isabel de Clare. He was caught up in a storm along the way and vowed to God that if he made it to Ireland alive he would found an abbey wherever he could land safely. He was true to his word and Tintern Abbey was built beside Bannow Bay in Co Wexford. It was colonised by Cistercian monks from a larger abbey at Tintern in Wales, where Marshal was also a patron.
Tintern became private property after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1540s during King Henry VIII's reign. An army officer named Anthony Colclough was granted the abbey, which he and his family modified to change it from a place of worship to luxurious living quarters. The abbey underwent many other alterations over the years by members of the Colclough family. In the 18th century, Sir Vesey Colclough built the battlements that can still be seen today around the abbey. Lucy Marie Biddulph Colclough was the last member of the family to live in Tintern. She left in 1959 and the abbey was taken into government care.
Just down the road from the abbey and within reach of the historic monument is a home that has also gone through major renovations. This property dates back to the 1850s, but has since been renovated and extended to create a family home with views out over Bannow Bay.
Tintern in Saltmills is a five-bed house that would make a great holiday home for a large family or two families wishing to invest in a second home in this quieter part of Wexford.
The blue front door opens into a tiled hallway. To the left is the open-plan sitting room/kitchen area. The kitchen is fully fitted and has a tiled floor, while the sitting room has a solid oak floor and an open fireplace. The sunroom at the end of this space has a double-height cedar window to make the most of the views out over Bannow Bay, and doors leading out to a patio.
Next to the sitting room is a large games room with the staircase leading to the first floor. Beside the games room is a cosy living room, in what was the original part of the house, with a low ceiling, carpeted floor and solid fuel stove. There is also a utility room on this side of the house with fitted units and sink, with a guest bathroom beside it.
Upstairs are five bedrooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom and balcony that looks down to the sunroom below.
The house sits on 0.7 acres which is mostly gravel and mature shrubs, so it would be easy to maintain if you weren't living there full-time.
Saltmills is a little village located at the head of a small inlet that enters Bannow Bay in south-west Wexford. The village has a pub but not much else so the best bet for bulk shopping would probably be New Ross or Wexford town, which are both about half an hour away. For day-to-day shopping, Fethard is only 5km south of Saltmills. Dublin is just under two-and-a-half hours away by car on the M11.
What To Do
The expansive grounds of Tintern Abbey are just around the corner from the house. The owners never grew tired of this gem on their doorstep. "One of our favourite places to go for a walk is up the road into the woods around the abbey," says the owner. "There are always strolls and trackways to explore with the kids or dogs. The Walled Garden, which was originally laid out by the Colclough family, is really special. It has been restored by a team of local people over the past five or six years."
The area is also great for beaches. Grange beach, just beside Fethard-on-Sea, is great for walks. Dollar Bay, on the other side of the Hook Peninsula, is a secluded, sandy beach that is safe for young children. Carnivan, also on the peninsula, is very popular with surfers; while nearby, Baginbun and Sandeel Bay are good for swimming and rock pools.
You may only do one tour of Hook Lighthouse, but the coast walk from the lighthouse to Slade Harbour is something you'll do again and again. You can even reward yourself with a treat from the lighthouse café when you're done.
For the brave, a tour of Loftus Hall is a must. There is a family-friendly option, where you're brought around and told about the ghosts in a humorous, but still chilling, manner; or there is the 'lockdown' option, where you are brought into the house at 8.30pm and not let out until 3.30am.
Eating and Drinking
You'll definitely need a drink after the tour of Loftus Hall, so the best places to head to would be Neville's in Fethard; Templar's Inn, just up the road from Loftus; or the Hollow Bar in Ramsgrange. For eating out, The Local at Dunbrody House is Kevin Dundon's answer to casual pub grub. The food is simple and the menu is limited but portions are big and tasty, so bring an appetite.
The Aldridge Lodge in Duncannon, run by Billy Whitty and Joanne Harding, has won numerous awards since it opened in 2005. The menu changes daily, with a huge emphasis on local produce.
Sherry FitzGerald said that 13pc of buyers in the area last year were from the UK. They noticed a slowdown straight after the Brexit vote, but it didn't last for long and those interested in properties in Wexford went ahead with the sales, despite the uncertainty.
The other big buyers in the area are Dubs looking for a holiday home by the sea, however, this part of Wexford would not be as mobbed by city folk as more northerly resorts like Kilmuckridge and Courtown.
What's Not To Like
If you were only using this house at weekends, in colder months, it could take quite a while to heat up as it's a large property with high ceilings and a BER rating of D2. It would probably be wise, but not very economical, to set the heating on a timer to avoid the big chill every time you arrive.
Saltmills, Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford
Asking price: €329,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Haythornwaite (053) 9146046