Saints and scholars in Co Longford
Westgrove Lodge, Dring €470k
You can push a boat out at Dring in County Longford and make your way across the waters of Lough Gowna to Inchmore Island.
St Columba (or Columbcille) established a monastery there in the sixth century which was "destroyed by the Danes in 804", according to Lewis's 1837 Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. It was restored afterwards though and continued in use until Henry VIII did away with all that sort of thing in the 16th century.
The ruins are still there to be explored, however, so you can contemplate the monastic life in splendid natural surroundings, or play a game of Monks Versus Vikings with your children, depending on your mood.
About one kilometre as the cormorant flies from the shores of the lake is Westgrove Lodge, in the townland of Ballinrooey. It was rebuilt in 2004, and there's a house marked on the site as early as the first-edition OS map, in 1837, at the same time that Samuel Lewis's correspondent was observing the abbey ruins.
Westgrove Lodge is stone-fronted with a roof of natural slate, and within are some fine pieces of architectural salvage in a floor area spanning 3,240 sq ft.
The ground floor has three reception rooms. Left of the entrance hall there's a living room which opens through double doors to a dual-aspect library, where there are doors to the garden.
To the right is the open-plan kitchen and dining room, and beyond that is a triple-aspect sitting room with another fireplace.
There's one ground-floor bedroom with a bathroom next to it, and the other three bedrooms are on the first floor, all with en suites.
It's on an acre of grounds with an outbuilding, and the house is at the end of a long driveway, about 200 metres or so. It's for sale for €470,000 with REA Seamus McCarthy in Roscommon town, (0906) 630001.