The Ward's field of dreams
A cluster of towns on the Dublin-Meath border, from Ashbourne to Ratoath, saw their populations bulge during the Celtic Tiger as Dubliners flocked to the satellite towns in search of more bang for their buck.
There, north Dublin accents filled the underage GAA pitches. Dubs became culchies and culchies became Dubs, creating a new breed that David McWilliams called "Dulchies" in his book The Pope's Children.
An Páirc Wotton, a new high-end residential scheme in The Ward - a still-tranquil rural enclave on the Meath-Dublin border - was built on one of these GAA pitches. The 10 four/five-bed detached homes are being developed on the old playing fields and clubhouse for Donaghmore/Ashbourne GAA, which relocated in 2006 to Ashbourne, 5km away.
The homes will be released this weekend, though two of the 10 have already been reserved. Prices start at €750,000, reflecting their location on 0.6 acres of countryside, their huge floor space of 3,000 sq ft and the homes' large plots and landscaped gardens.
Each abode is approached by a gravel driveway wired for electric gates. Timber side gates are fitted as standard, though a detached garage comes as an optional extra.
The timber-frame houses at An Páirc Wotton feature an eye-catching half-stone façade that is sympathetic to the pastoral surroundings. There is granite to the sills of the uPVC argon-filled triple-glazed windows. Just off the entrance hall is a study that could be used as a fifth bedroom or a TV den. To the left is a dining room with double doors leading out to the patio and, beside that, is a kitchen/dining area with a triple-aspect seating space. The contemporary-style fitted kitchen comes with stone worktops and wall tiling. Straight ahead from the hallway is a dual-aspect lounge. Also on this level is a utility room with own-door access and a guest WC. There are nine-foot ceiling-to-floor heights throughout the ground floor, with a vaulted ceiling in both the lounge and kitchen.
On the first floor are four bedrooms and a family bathroom. Two of the bedrooms are ensuite, including the master bedroom, which comes with the added luxury of walk-in wardrobes.
All the bedrooms have fitted wardrobes, and the bathrooms and ensuites come with Villeroy & Boch sanitary ware.
Buyers of the A2-rated homes who are moving from older properties can slash their utility bills thanks to energy-saving features, such as a Thermia air-to-water renewable energy system for electricity and hot water, and a heat recovery system that improves indoor air quality.
Local primary schools include Kilbride NS, Ratoath NS, Kilcoscan NC and both Ratoath and Ashbourne have Educate Together and Gaelscoileanna. The Ward is close to the M2, allowing easy access to Dublin, the airport and the M50. Blanchardstown Shopping Centre is 10km away while The Pavillions in Swords is 15km and Ashbourne Town Centre is 5km.
Viewings at An Páirc Wotton are by appointment.
An Páirc Wotton,
The Ward, Co Dublin
Asking price: €750,000
Agent: DNG Tormey Lee (01) 8357089 or Lloyd Daly & Associates (01) 8208333