Own-door appeal make cottages a great starter home
The own-door appeal of a cottage is something that attracts buyers who would much prefer not to live in an impersonal apartment building and deal with noise from neighbours above and below as well as side to side.
Because of their tight dimensions, cottages also remain some of Dublin's most affordable homes, depending on where you find them.
These two compact homes within walking distance of the city centre offer a real alternative to common areas, service charges and the like and contrast at either end of the affordability spectrum.
No 21 Gray Square is the smaller and cheaper of the two, and likely to appeal to first-time buyers and downsizers, as well as to investors and those based outside Dublin looking for a pied-à-terre in the capital.
It would also make fine term-time lodgings for a student, with the possibility of renting it out on short lets during college holidays to subsidise that cost.
Gray Square is tucked away off Meath Street in the Liberties, and is one of those cute inner-city enclaves that you can spend years being blissfully unaware of until you find it by chance.
The location is close to the Digital Hub, St James's and The Coombe University Hospitals, DIT, NCAD, Trinity College and RCSI, and is also near to the new National Children's Hospital, currently under construction. It is just across the river from the Four Courts.
With the proposed redevelopment of part of the Guinness site at St James's Gate, likely to include apartments, hotels and a concert venue, the area will continue to become ever more desirable.
There's 505 sq ft of living space, that includes one bedroom and one bathroom, and the nature of the interior layout means that it is a space designed for a single person or a couple rather than two room-mates.
At entrance level there's a large, open-plan living/dining/kitchen space with an open fireplace. Off this main living space, there is a utility room and bathroom. Stairs lead to a loft conversion which is used as a bedroom and is fitted with Velux windows and under-eaves storage.
No 21 has been renovated and features include Rationel doors and windows, maple hardwood flooring, and underfloor heating, and the little house has a respectable C3 BER.
There is an Ariane fitted kitchen and the house is wired for a multi-room speaker system.
The area around Meath Street still has some small independent retailers, but there is also a branch of Lidl on Thomas Street. The Luncheonette cafeteria in NCAD, also on Thomas Street, serves one of the best - and best value - lunches in the city and is open to non-students.
Also nearby are Legit Coffee Co on Meath Street, and Vicar Street, and the weekend markets up at Newmarket Square, as well as a plethora of upmarket antique shops on Francis Street.
Over in Irishtown, 67 St Magdalen Terrace is significantly larger than 21 Gray Square, with close to 810 sq ft of living space.
The double-fronted terraced cottage is just off Oliver Plunkett Avenue in the heart of Ringsend/Irishtown, and will be of interest to investors and first-time buyers, or those trading up from an apartment.
No 67 has been extended and renovated and the property now has three bedrooms as well as a converted attic.
At entrance level, there is an open plan living room with double doors to the kitchen/dining room, three bedrooms and a bathroom. Upstairs there is a large converted attic with its original floorboards which is currently being used as a bedroom.
There is a small east-facing yard accessed by double doors from one of the bedrooms, and on-street parking outside.
The location is most convenient for anyone working in the city centre or IFSC, and within a few minutes' walk of Grand Canal Dock. The area is home to numerous companies in the tech, financial and legal fields, including Google, AirBnB, Twitter, McCann Fitzgerald, Matheson, Mason Hayes & Curran, State Street International, and William Fry. Trinity College is also close by and the house would be ideally located for students.
The leisure amenities of the Grand Canal Dock include the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and numerous restaurants, including Charlotte Quay and Herbstreet. The Five Star Marker Hotel has a magnificent rooftop terrace which comes into its own in the summer months, while head chef Gareth Mullins serves a mean steak - and a lot more besides - in The Brasserie downstairs.
Heading in the other direction, up Bath Avenue, you'll find a good selection of casual places to eat including Junior's, Paulie's Pizza, Farmer Brown's, The Chophouse and The Old Spot, while Slattery's and The Bath are two perennially popular pubs. On South Lotts Road, Lotts & Co is an upmarket grocer's with in-house fish and meat counters that caters to the needs of local gourmands. The nearest large supermarket is in Sandymount, but there is a Tesco Extra in Ringsend.
In terms of public transport, St Magdalen Terrace is handy for the DART stations at Barrow Street and Sandymount, and well served by local bus routes.
Ringsend Park and Sandymount Strand are much used, and the Aviva Stadium is so close that residents have no excuse ever to be late for kick-off; the local Clannna Gael Fontenoy GAA on Sean Moore Road has active junior and senior programmes.
21 Gray Sq
Christchurch, Dublin 8;
67 St Magdelan Terrace
Stella Gardens, Irish Town, Dublin 4
Asking price: €250,000; €450,000
Agent: Kelly Bradshaw Dalton (01) 8040500