Homage to Georgian past
A country home within commuting distance to Dublin
Present day commuting is no joke. After all, what with the dawn rising, the traffic jams, the rudeness of your fellow man, the idiots pulling out in front of you, the bleary-eyed return journey, the feeling that you're always at work and with no time to have fun.
The reason for long-distance commuting is usually a simple one: you can't afford to live where you work. But one compensation for a long commute might be having a beautiful home to come back to. And no, maybe a four-bed semi in a ghost estate in Portarlington wouldn't quite answer it. What about a 5,737 sq ft modern mansion on six acres instead?
Wingfield, at Carrig, Gorey, Co Wexford, is just such a house. It's on the market for €875,000, and it's about 80km from Dublin city centre.
Granted, €875,000 is not exactly a giveaway, but consider the city comparisons.
For this sum of money in Dublin you could alternatively pick up a three-bed apartment in Sandymount or House Type B at a tightly squeezed scheme in D14. Or a South County coastal bungalow, which at 3,000 sq ft is just a bit over half the size of Wingfield. Needless to say none of them come with six acres.
Despite the Gorey postal address Wingfield is actually in the very north of Co Wexford, on the edge of the Wicklow border. Gorey is 16km away. The Co Wicklow village of Aughrim is closer, at nine kilometres, and Tinahely is about the same distance. The countryside is all mountain, bog and forest - full of wildlife and birdsong.
There's a house marked on this site even on the first-edition Ordnance Survey map, but in all likelihood the building that was here in 1840 was nothing at all like this one.
Palladian-style is how the selling agents describe it, although in plain-speak you might describe it as a homage to a Georgian mansion.
It was built in 1996 by a Swiss couple who fell in love with the area, understandably enough, and the current owners have upgraded both the house and the extravagant garden.
Electric gates open into a tree-lined driveway leading to a gravelled forecourt at the front of the house, where a flight of grand stone steps rises to the porticoed front door.
Inside, there's an extremely lavish entrance hall, with curved walls and a black-and-white chequerboard tiled floor. In the centre of the room, an impressive bifurcated, open-string staircase rises to the floor above.
There are four reception rooms on this level, all with solid wood floors. To the left there's a lounge with a solid-fuel stove in the fireplace, and behind that is a sitting room, which has a glass door leading out to a balcony.
There's also a study at the back, but the main reception room is a huge, triple-aspect drawing room to the right of the entrance hall. At its widest it's over 32ft by 22ft, and has a feature fireplace and French doors to the balcony.
Downstairs there's a raised basement, and on this level can be found the kitchen, corresponding in shape and size to the drawing room above. It has a Belfast sink and a dark green AGA, and is fitted with bespoke cabinets and a centre island with a breakfast bar. There are French doors at one end leading to a conservatory, which itself has doors to the garden.
Also off the kitchen there's a good-sized utility room, a guest toilet and a wet room with a power shower.
The basement also has a dining room with a fireplace and, right next to this, a gym with a sauna - the idea being that you can be gorging yourself on tiramisu one minute and diligently working it off the next.
The house has five bedrooms, all of them on the first floor and all en-suite. Two of these en-suites have jacuzzi baths, including the one in the master bedroom, which also has a walk-in wardrobe.
Above all that there's a partly floored attic with three skylights, so you should want for nothing by way of storage. There's oil-fired central heating (underfloor on the ground floor), and the energy rating is a respectable C3.
The gardens, meanwhile, are landscaped and maintained to the utmost, with rambling lawns appearing to blend in with the surrounding fields, close-planted flowering shrubs, mature trees, and a choice of patios and decks so you can follow the sun around.
By Google Maps' lights, it's just under an hour and 20 minutes from here to Dublin city centre down the M11. That's to St Stephen's Green, so the commute should be considerably shorter for someone working south of the city centre.
Carrig, Gorey, Co Wexford
Asking price: €875,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald O'Leary Kinsella in Gorey (053) 943 0088