With such a dearth of sunshine this summer, there weren't many opportunities to spend time pottering in the garden or al fresco dining.
But when the sun does make an appearance, the new owners of the 16 houses being built at Emsworth Park in Kinsealy will have plenty of options to enjoy the outdoors right on their doorstep.
The architect orientated these detached homes to make the most of any available sunlight, adding double doors that open from formal sitting rooms and kitchen/dining areas on to three sets of sun-facing granite-paved patios. The private gardens at Emsworth Park are huge by Irish standards, with an average size of almost 3,500 sq ft for each property, compared to 860 sq ft for regular gardens.
Savills, the selling agent, is opening a showhouse for the first phase of the development this weekend. Four of the six homes in this phase have so far been built by Anthony Neville Homes.
The Wexford-based developer, which is also building Drury Mills in Saggart, began construction on Emsworth Park in November and expects the entire development to be completed by the end of next year.
Prices at the scheme start at €725,000, though one of the six A-rated homes in the first phase has such an extra-large garden, at 5,188sq ft, that it is expected to fetch at least €775,000.
If the selling prices seem a little eye-watering from the outset, it is because the developer is offering buyers the chance to give their input into how they want the homes to be customised to their own needs and tastes.
Anthony Neville Homes can deliver each house either as a five-bedroom home or as a four-bedroom property, with the extra ensuite bedroom turned into space for a playroom or a reception room.
The new owners can choose any wardrobe or kitchen fittings they like from Cawleys. The development is primarily aimed at family buyers seeking to trade up to a larger home. And there's plenty of space at the Emsworth Park properties; the accommodation stretches over 2,422sq ft, with 9ft ceilings and 8ft doors at the ground-floor level.
The heart of each house is a large open-plan area comprising the kitchen, dining room and TV area. There are also separate reception rooms on the ground floor.
The floors of the open-plan living area and the hallway are being laid with large flagstone tiles, with carpet in the reception rooms, on the stairs and in the bedrooms.
The scheme itself is set on landscaped surroundings, with a playground on the green and a large parkland as a common area.
Emsworth Park is in a quiet location off Kinsealy Lane, 4.5 miles south of Kinsealy in north Co Dublin. The closest Dart station, at Portmarnock, is 1.2 miles away, with the average journey time to Pearse Street Station taking 25 minutes. The Swords Pavilion shopping centre is a nine-minute drive away, while a journey to the airport takes about 10 minutes by car.
The showhouse, at No 4 Emsworth Park, will be open for viewing this Saturday and Sunday, between 2pm and 4pm, and will remain available for viewing at the same time over the following two weekends.
Emsworth Park, Kinsealy, Co Dublin
Asking price: From €725,000
Agent: Savills New Homes (01) 6181300