The allure of a big period home restored to its original grandeur is of course timeless. It's the romance of living in a house which has been around for perhaps hundreds of years and the craft - everything was made by hand by highly skilled workers.
But if you live in the capital, period homes are located in established older areas where prices are so much higher. It's hard to find a substantial period property in Dublin today for less than €1m, and then there's the heating bills to consider. But house-hunters on a mid market budget can still get a substantial slice of history, romance and craft to call their own if they're prepared to buy an apartment set in one.
With growing numbers of historic houses being converted into self-contained apartments, estate agent Janet Carroll reports great interest among both "right-sizers" trading out of family homes, and international buyers for whom city living is a way of life.
"At around 1,200 sq ft, apartments in period properties are generally larger than their contemporary counterparts, and there's a great sense of history attached," says Carroll. However, she also urges caution: "Make sure it has the highest levels of insulation, sound-proofing and fire safety. It's essential to have a management company in place... there needs to be a legally binding agreement that shares the responsibility for maintenance of the common areas equally among all owners."
So here's a taste of what's on offer in period apartments in the capital today.
Saint Gabriel's, Johnstown Road, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
Asking price: €450,000 (Sale agreed at €440,000)
Selling agent: Janet Carroll (087) 400 2020
Built in 1752, Marlfield House was once home to MP and former Supreme Court Judge, the Right Honourable William Kenny (1846-1921). In 2001, Shannon Homes judged it ideal for conversion into 15 luxury apartments. At 1,237 sq ft, No2 is at lower ground floor/garden level and accessed by steps or a high-speed lift. Accommodation includes an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room with three sash windows and electric blinds, two bedrooms, one ensuite and a main bathroom.
31-33 Merrion Road, Dublin 4
Asking price: €850,000
Selling agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 237 6300
You don't get much more upmarket than the embassy belt in Ballsbridge and No4 Malton comes with provenance - this is a ground floor apartment in a 19th century property that served as the British embassy for almost 30 years. In 1999, the original property and the site on which it was set were developed into 50 apartments in three blocks.
Spanning 1,234 sq ft, No4 is part of the original period building and has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living/dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, utility, cloakroom, guest wc and a private terrace overlooking a manicured communal garden. It's in a gated community beside the new British embassy and comes with two designated underground parking spaces.
Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Asking price: €450,000 (Sale agreed at €445,000)
Selling agent: Knight Frank 086 020 6992
Located right at the centre of Temple Bar, it took less than a month on the market for this apartment to be bought by a couple living in Italy. He's Irish, she's Italian and they wanted a Dublin base as a family retreat. Once owned by the MEP and former developer Mick Wallace, the two-bedroom, two bathroom apartment has an open-plan kitchen-dining-living room and spans 839 sq ft. Built circa 1880, it's next door to the New Theatre, the landmark Connolly Bookshop is downstairs and it's a short walk to a choice of galleries, cinemas, theatres, shops, bars and restaurants.
64/66 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4
Asking price: €650,000
Selling agent: Hunters (01) 668 0008
This first-floor, 850 sq ft apartment has all the original features a Georgian enthusiast could hope for - dado rails, moulding, centre rose, original floorboards, 12ft high ceilings and marble fireplace. But this is a marriage of old and new, combining modern comforts like a visual intercom in the hallway, a modern fitted kitchen and coal effect gas fire. The drawing room has double sash windows and there's a guest wc. The apartment currently has one large bedroom with ensuite bathroom featuring a walk-in shower and underfloor heating. It's a 10-minute walk to Grafton Street and Herbert Park and there's a host of eateries on the doorstep.
Asking price: €425,000
Selling agent: DNG: 01 830 0989
During the 1970s and 80s, many original buildings on Mountjoy Square were demolished. In the 1990s, Liam Carroll's Zoe Developments constructed a 100-apartment development on the site which the council insisted must replicate the older buildings. Apartment No2 is accessed via a Georgian-style red door, which opens into the living room.
Eight years ago, the current owners took advantage of the property's 15ft high ceilings to build a mezzanine level, creating extra living space. Though billed as a two-bedroom apartment - the main bedroom and a child's room are downstairs - the mezzanine is currently used to provide two further bedrooms. There are two bathrooms, a kitchen and dining room, and a parking space in the rear courtyard.
For owner Eileen McCormack (left), living here is a lifestyle choice. "It's not just about the property, it's having Dublin on your doorstep," she says. "This is city living at its best, and we won't be moving far."