Irish thatched home, for the price of a city semi, has three-storey-high grand dining hall
Tudor Lodge is a huge commuter home with bags of regal character
There's a perception that those who go looking for homes in the commuter belt are in search of a three or four-bed semi in an estate. And many do comply, restricting themselves to the same type of cookie cutter family home they'd have bought in the city, had city prices not been so expensive. But for those looking for real difference, commuter locations are filled with some large, special and extraordinary different homes.
To show just how different, consider that for the price of a Dublin starter home, you can live in a thatched property with its own grand hall. Tudor Lodge just outside Enniscorthy in Co Wexford is not only massive (at 3,218 sq ft it is three times the size of that semi) but it is a Tudor-style thatched period home with real character. Its most interesting facet by far is the three storey high grand dining hall which is almost medieval in style, with gallery landings looking down into it and a beamed apex roof overhead.
This part of Wexford is firmly in what might be termed the "outer commuter belt" which today stretches to Portlaoise and even Monaghan, where agents have been reporting high sales to Dubliners.
Agent Adrian Haythornthwaite says 20pc of his sales used to be from UK buyers looking for a mixture of permanent and holiday homes in Wexford. Brexit dried this up in recent years, but these buyers have been replaced by young families and singles seeking more affordable and larger homes for their money in the sunny south-east, as well as the usual Dublin retirees the area is known for. "You could sell a small artisan dwelling in south Dublin and move to a palace in Wexford for the same price," says Haythornthwaite. Or similarly, rather than live in a small artisan in the first place, you can consider something really luxurious in the Banner County.
Tudor Lodge outside Enniscorthy will certainly appeal to commuters in search of something truly special at a city starter home price. The property is on the market for €365,000 and Haythornthwaite describes it as 'the real McCoy'. It has a floor area of 3,218 sq ft and was extended and upgraded back in 2002 when the current owner bought it.
Whether it's genuinely Tudor or not is not known. The house is believed to be at least 250 years old. The Tudor touches may have been added during the revival period in the late 19th century, or it might indeed have been here since the time of the rotund Henry VII sat on the throne. A lot of hard labour from its current owners has been put in over the past few decades to bring it into the modern age.
The front porch opens into a tiled hallway with the sitting room to one side and a bedroom to the other.
The sitting room has a large hearth with solid fuel stove and traditional low ceilings with timber beams. Beside this, on the way to the kitchen, is a guest WC with a shower and hotpress.
The kitchen is the one room that new owners might want to renovate. The dark units look a bit more dated than traditional but there is a trusty Stanley range. The 'great hall' dining room was the pride of every Tudor home and this is the case at Tudor Lodge. Back in the day, these rooms were used for large scale entertainment so had to be dressed to impress. This room has exposed brickwork, feature fireplace and a double-height vaulted ceiling. It still looks like the perfect venue for an old-fashioned banquet. Guests could even spill out to the courtyard through the glass doors on each side of the room.
There is another bedroom on the ground floor with an en suite bathroom.
A dark oak timber staircase takes you upstairs where there is a cosy living room with wooden floors and an open fire. The pitched ceiling has exposed timber beams. There are three more bedrooms on this floor. The master has built-in wardrobes and an en suite. There is another bathroom on this level with a bath. The house sits on 0.96 acres. To the front is a courtyard with five stables, which could be converted to make extra accommodation. To the rear is a mature garden laid mostly in lawn, with low maintenance planting and low walls.
New owners will have to consider maintaining the thatch roof, which needs to be redone roughly every 10-15 years. There is a government grant available to assist with the costs but the maximum available is €3,810. Some homeowners say they have been quoted in excess of €30,000 for a full re-thatch.
With a G BER rating, the property is clearly not very energy efficient, so a new heating system may be necessary.
The property is in a small village called Glenbrien, which has a church, a school and a pub. It's about 10 minutes away from the historic town of Enniscorthy.
For anyone considering making the move to Wexford while still working in Dublin, it would take nearly an hour and a half to get from Tudor Lodge to Leopardstown, and another 15 minutes or so to get to the southside of the city. But might it just be worth it?