Back to school in Co Wicklow
Located in a secluded setting this family home is combined with a business
Lorraine and David McConnell hadn't really planned on moving out of Dublin until they saw a new development called Avoca Wood in Wicklow back in 2003. They immediately knew it was the place they wanted to live, away from the craziness of the city, but not so far that they couldn't commute.
As a trained Montessori teacher, Lorraine felt that there was potential for a new pre-school in the area. As space wasn't an issue around the house, they decided to purpose build their own little school in 2005. It has been running successfully for the last 13 years and got a real boost after the introduction of the ECCE scheme, where all children over two years and eight months are entitled to two free pre-school years. The building and business is included in the sale of the house.
The McConnell's three children went through the Montessori themselves so the family will find it difficult not only to leave a home where they've had many happy times, but also a business that has brought a lot of joy to them all.
"It's been a real privilege to work in the Montessori school," says Lorraine. "It is still running and I would love to see the new owners continue with the business. It has become a real part of the local community. The graduation in June will be a tough one for myself and the two teachers as it's the last time we'll see the little ones move on to 'big' school".
The McConnell children have long moved on from their pre-school days and are now at school in Dublin, which is why the family is making the move back to the city.
"We are on the road seven days a week so for now it makes sense to move closer to where the children spend most of their time with friends, school and extra-curricular activities."
While they are more than sad to leave, they know they will be back and forth to Avoca to visit family and neighbours that have become lifelong friends. There is a real sense of community in the estate, with summer barbecues on the green and annual Christmas nights out.
Avoca Wood consists of 28 houses in six different styles. Each home is set on large grounds that are not overlooked so you have the privacy of country living, but the security of knowing your neighbours are close by.
The house is entered through a bright hallway. Straight ahead is what is currently a kids' den room but would make an ideal guest bedroom as it has an en-suite shower room. To the right is the living room which has a bay window overlooking the front garden, an American-style fireplace with gas fire, and built-in bookshelves and TV unit.
At the back of the house is a study with built-in units. The kitchen, laundry room and guest WC are to the right of the study.
The kitchen has a tiled floor and custom-built New England-style units that are hand-painted in shades by Helen Turkington. There are granite worktops, an antique mirror splashback, Belfast sink, a Rangemaster cooker, built-in fridge-freezer and an island with seating for five people. French doors lead out to a deck at the front of the house.
The dining room, or so-called sunroom, just off the kitchen must be a joy for entertaining on a sunny day with its double-height ceiling and French doors to each side that give access to both the front and rear gardens.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms. The master spans the width of the house and has built-in units, including a hidden walk-in wardrobe. The en-suite has a Whirlpool bath and separate shower. The second bedroom also has built-in wardrobes and an en-suite shower room. Bedroom three has a timber floor painted in Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin. The main bathroom has a roll-top bath and separate shower. The house is heated by a Mitsubishi air-to-water heat pump which gives out a constant, comfortable heat while bringing down CO2 emissions as well as greatly lowering your heating costs.
The total floor area is 2,357 sq ft.
Outside, the gardens are landscaped with a deck to the front and patio to the rear. There is the added bonus of a natural waterfall at the back of the house providing a relaxing backdrop on a summer evening.
The Montessori school is to the side of the property and has its own entrance and a floor area of 657 sq ft. Its double height ceiling make it bright and airy. There are toilet facilities to the rear and Velux windows. Financial details of the school are available on request.
There are many food and drink options within a 15-minute drive of the house. The Strawberry Tree restaurant in Brooklodge Hotel in Macreddin Village is Ireland's first certified organic restaurant and is well worth a visit to sample the wild tasting menu. For a more casual night out there is La Taverna Armento, an Italian restaurant in Macreddin. Wicklow town also has a good selection of pubs and cafes.
For supermarkets and shopping, Arklow, which is a 10-minute drive away, has a SuperValu, Tesco, Lidl and Aldi. For the kids, the well-known fun park, Clara Lara, is about 20 minutes from the house, where they can spend the day kayaking, ziplining and go-karting.
Number 4 Avoca Wood is for sale through REA Ed Dempsey Estate Agents (01 2880004) with a guide price of €625,000.
4 Avoca Wood
Avoca, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €625,000
Agent: REA Ed Dempsey, (01) 288 0004