Straight out of a storybook - this traditional thatched cottage has a very modern interior
Much loved as they are (especially by people who have never had to live in one), traditional Irish thatched cottages were never as idyllic as all that. They were small, poky, smoky, badly lit, crawling with spiders and often damp.
So you can see why someone who wants to enact the fantasy of living in a storybook thatched cottage would look to Britain for inspiration, instead of paying the expected homage to Irish vernacular architecture.
Creech Barrow, at Convent Road in Delgany, is a case in point. It's a traditional-style English thatched cottage in Co Wicklow; it was designed in the Cotswolds fashion and named after a fairly unimposing hill in Dorset. And on top of all that it looks like something JRR Tolkien would dream up.
The Lord of the Rings hadn't even been published when Creech Barrow was built; it came out a year later, in 1954. But by now every woman in Delgany must pause occasionally at the front gate in the hope that Aragorn might appear - or more specifically, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn.
The cottage was built in the 1950s for Ada Corballis, according to Turtle Bunbury's Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co Wicklow. Ada was the wife of Captain JC Corballis and had lived with him in the splendid early 18th-century mansion, Rossana House in Ashford.
After her husband's death in 1947, Rossana House was sold and Ada moved north to Delgany, where she built her storybook cottage. Creech Barrow has enjoyed a happier fate, though, than her former home: Rossana House was partly demolished in 1950.
By contrast, the current owners of Creech Barrow have had the place for about 12 years, and have kept it in first-class condition - not just inside but outside too. It's on a third of an acre of gardens, all neat as a pin with a smooth lawn, copious flowering shrubs and a patio with a water feature.
Handily enough for those with grannies or nannies (or an eye on the rental market), the grounds also include a detached mews building, 820 sq ft in size.
The main house is 2,045 sq ft with four bedrooms and three reception rooms - all on one side of the house and all flowing into one another.
Immediately to the left of the entrance hall is a sitting room, roughly 13ft square, with a beamed ceiling, an offset brick fireplace and a wooden floor.
Double doors in the sitting room lead through to a triple-aspect drawing room of about 16ft by 23ft. This room has a vaulted ceiling - again with exposed beams - and another brick fireplace with a solid-fuel stove in it. At the back of the room there's a window seat overlooking the garden.
The dining room is more or less open-plan with the sitting room, with an archway between the two, it has a wooden floor and partly beamed ceiling.
The dining room leads through half-glazed double doors into the kitchen, fitted with grey-painted cabinets and a centre island with a breakfast bar. There's a separate utility room too, and a door leading to the garden from there.
Three of the bedrooms are on the ground floor, as is the main bathroom. The better bathroom, though, is on the first floor: it has a vaulted ceiling and dormer window, and there's a roll-top bath with claw feet, a walk-in shower and his-and-hers sinks.
The master bedroom is the only other room on this upper level and it has a vaulted ceiling, a dormer window and two walk-in wardrobes.
Out in the garden, you enter the mews through a sunroom porch. This opens into a sitting room with a bay window and a solid-fuel stove in a brick fireplace. Off this is the fitted kitchen, with a beamed ceiling. There's a shower room on the ground floor too, and the whole of the first floor is occupied by a gallery skylit bedroom.
Creech Barrow is right in the heart of Delgany village, although the Carmelite Monastery is next door but one, so you can expect quiet, contemplative neighbours. And when you're in the mood for more rambunctious company, the Horse and Hound pub is 200 metres down the road.
Delgany Golf Club is about a kilometre away to the east, and if you should fall out with everyone there, Greystones Golf Club is only a little farther away - one-and-a-half kilometres to the west. And if you really can't find anyone who's worse than you at golf in either of those places, you'll just have to practise harder as there are no other clubs in the immediate vicinity, at least not for the moment. Glen of the Downs Golf Club, three kilometres away to the north, went into liquidation in January and is now for sale.
The N11 is less than five minutes' drive away, and Greystones train station is within reasonable walking distance - about three kilometres away.
Convent Road, Delgany, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €850,000
Agent: Lisney Dun Laoghaire (01) 280 6820