A solidly seductive home
Woolstone House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath: €475,000
Never mind the prospect of a five-bedroom, three-bathroom family home on five acres of grassland within commuting distance of the capital for less than half a million euros, one of the most attractive feature of Woolstone House for a particular cohort of prospective buyers (albeit one that the agents are too discreet to mention in their brochure) is its proximity to the ancestral home of one Niall Horan (yes, that nice young chap from One Direction). Word is that he might be home for Christmas, in which case visitors to Mullingar can expect to experience traffic jams in all directions for the duration of his visit.
For potential buyers with an eye to a long-term investment, one day perhaps, Mullingar will be home to the One Direction Visitor Centre and Experience, drawing fans from all around the globe, and Woolstone House will be in demand as a rental property by those who wish to linger in the area, soaking up the atmosphere.
For now, though, located just 2.5km outside Mullingar, in an area renowned for the quality of its agricultural land, Woolstone House offers the enticing prospect of a comfortable family life in the countryside, with all that that entails in terms of hunting, shooting and fishing, within easy reach of the airport and the capital. Its five acres would be more than enough on which to keep a few horses, or to practise hobby farming, or just grow a few vegetables and keep chickens.
This is, of course, serious horse country, as one Michael O'Leary of nearby Gigginstown Stud would surely confirm, and Woolstone lies close to the Mullingar Equestrian Centre, home to a riding school and regular jumping leagues for both adults and children. The Westmeath Foxhounds meet every Wednesday and Saturday during the season, and the rolling fields and stone walls of the surrounding countryside make for some exhilarating days out that are not for the faint-hearted.
For those who prefer less adventurous recreational activity, the recently resurfaced cycleway that runs from Mullingar to Athlone along the disused railway line is a big success, as are the canal walks, and coarse fishing at Loughs Owel and Ennell.
Woolstone House, built in 2006 and nicely secluded in terms of its setting, is a fine, solid modern family home that was designed to showcase the best in traditional local stone-masonry and craftsmanship, and constructed by the current owners to a high standard in terms of design and insulation. Local stone native to the area was used to face the front and both gables of the house, which has 334sqm of living space.
The house sits surrounded by mature trees and hedging in a slightly elevated position and is approached via solid wood electric gates that open onto a winding gravel driveway. Granite steps lead to the double-height entrance hall, to either side of which the main reception rooms are located. Also on the ground floor are a home office, which could be used as a fifth bedroom, the hand-crafted wood kitchen with a range cooker, island unit and Belfast sink, dining room, sunroom, utility and guest lavatory. There is good access from the house to the gardens, with double doors leading from several of the ground floor reception rooms outdoors. Features include working fireplaces, interior walls of local stone and solid wood floors.
A solid mahogany staircase leads to the first floor, where there are four bedrooms, two of which are en suite and have walk-in wardrobes. There's also a walk-in hot press and a family bathroom with a traditional-style roll-top bathtub.
Because there has been little in the way of out-of-town shopping centre development, Mullingar these days is a buzzy town with an active retail high street and plenty in the way of bars and restaurants.
The town has a good selection of both primary and secondary schools, and there is also a local national school just half a mile from Woolstone House. The N4 motorway is a ten-minute drive away, and Dublin is within an hour's drive, depending on traffic.
Size: 344 sqm
Agent: James L Murtagh & Associates (044) 934 0088
Viewing: Strictly by appointment