Enjoy a country life in Dublin for €850k
A rural existence is still possible in the capital
Let's suppose you have two children, and let's call them Bart and Lisa, by way of a shorthand depiction of the kind of kids they are.
You fancy living in a rural area, but you worry about how difficult it might be to keep the youngsters entertained - especially as the two have such wildly different opinions as to what counts as entertainment.
The tiny community of Garristown in north County Dublin comes to your rescue here.
Garristown is home to one of Ireland's 62 remaining Carnegie libraries, established in the early 20th century with funding from the Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Garristown's library is small but beautiful, and has 8,500 items to browse, plus internet access.
There's also an Airsoft club in Garristown, with an 8,000 square-metre indoor battlefield. For the uninitiated, Airsoft is a tag sport in which you shoot harmless pellets at your friends, presumably so that you might expunge the urge to shoot lethal pellets at your enemies.
So you get the idea: you drop Bart at the Arena Airsoft Club and Lisa at the Carnegie library, and head home yourself to read War and Peace or practise archery, whatever's your bag.
Despite its relative proximity to Dublin (it's 35 kilometres from the city centre), Garristown hasn't suffered the urban sprawl common to other commuter-zone villages - not yet at least.
The population in the last census was only 582, but the village does have a primary school, a community centre, two pubs, a supermarket and a garda station.
About four kilometres south-east of Garristown is Hawthorn House, a large, modern, detached property with six-and-a-half acres of pastureland - plenty of space for countryside pursuits.
The house is at the end of a curved avenue off the Naul and Oldtown Road. At the entrance to the avenue is a huddle of sheds which the owners have turned into a rather swanky independent leisure area, with a garden and patio and a pizza oven.
Hawthorn House itself began as a traditional country cottage and was extended and renovated in 2001, becoming a quite rambling 4,122 sq ft house.
The owners have retained a cottagey feel in the place, with old-style ledge and brace doors with latches, wooden floors, and a paint palette of rich colours.
It's all on one floor, though there's a massive attic overhead for storage, and the house is laid out in two parts - the original cottage and the new extension.
The rooms are at either side of a 25ft by 17ft entrance lobby, which has a vaulted ceiling and an exposed stone wall with a fireplace in it, where there's a cast-iron stove. Left of the lobby, in the new part of the house, there are three bedrooms, two of which are en-suite, including the master bedroom which has an en-suite and a dressing room and double doors to the garden.
A little farther down the corridor on this side of the house, you come to a bar, which opens into a large sun lounge measuring about 21ft square.
This room has a high timber ceiling and double doors to the garden. It's warmed by another stove set into a brick fireplace.
Back on the other side of the lobby, in the original cottage, there are two more bedrooms, and then the rest of the living areas. First is a living room measuring about 16ft by 14ft, with a fireplace.
Then, at the opposite end of the house to the sun lounge, is an open-plan, blue-painted kitchen and dining room linked together by an archway.
The kitchen is over 15ft by 11ft and has cream-painted cabinets, while the dining area, which measures just under 15ft by 11ft, has a cast-iron fireplace and double doors to the front garden.
There's also a utility room, a bathroom and a store room in the hallway.
The gardens have been landscaped and planted with flowers and fruit trees including apples and plums.
Directly behind the house is a storage shed and a second 'outdoor party room' with a barbecue, complementing the pizza area at the end of the driveway.
Your little Lisa could have friends over for barbecued tofu and Bart could have a simultaneous pizza party, and the two groups need never mingle.
Elsewhere, the lands consist of two stud-railed paddocks, at the end of which there's an agricultural yard with a hay barn that the agents say could be converted readily enough into four stables.
If you decide against the hassle of keeping your own horses, there are plenty of equestrian centres nearby - at Oldtown, Thornton Park and Curragha, for instance - and Fairyhouse Racecourse is less than 20 kilometres away.
For golfers, there are courses at Hollywood Lakes, Ashbourne, Swords and Balbriggan.
Garristown, Co Dublin
Asking price: €850,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country, (01) 237 6300, Sherry FitzGerald Geraghty in Ashbourne, Co Meath, (01) 845 4500