On the market: It's time to get back on the rails in Ardrahan
The portion of the Western Rail Corridor between Galway and Limerick reopened in 2010, admit much excitement in the west.
Then patrons discovered there would be only five trains a day, that you wouldn't be able to book in advance, that you couldn't buy so much as a bottle of water on the train, and that it was quite a bit slower than travelling by road.
In keeping with its usual response times to market pressures, Iarnrod Eireann, after some years, began to improve the service, cutting fares and introducing online booking.
It's still slow, though, but travelling by train has other charms that may outweigh the drawback of having to fritter away an extra 20 minutes looking out the window.
Ardrahan, in south County Galway, is one of the new stations on the line, giving residents of that locality a reasonably easy commute to Limerick and Galway, and thence to Dublin.
At Rooghan, Ardrahan, is a detached, 4,090 sq ft six-bedroom house with an adjoining two-bed granny flat. It's set on two-thirds of an acre and is about 2.5km from Ardrahan station.
A surround staircase dominates the entrance hall. To the left of this is a family room with a wood-burning stove and French doors leading to the dining room, which leads onto the garden. The kitchen measures 25ft 7ins by 16ft and has a utility room off it.
The two floors above house six bedrooms, four en suite shower rooms and a bathroom. The flat consists of a kitchen/dining room, a living room, two bedrooms, one of them with en-suite shower room, and another shower room.
Despite its extravagant size, the cost of heating the place shouldn't be as crippling as you might expect as it has a fairly respectable BER rating of C2.
It's on the market for €365,000 through Sherry FitzGerald Galway (091 569123).
Townhouse in Clontarf
It seems no one can venture anywhere near Dublin 3 these days without stumbling upon some sort of Battle of Clontarf 1014 commemoration.
But by the time a new buyer moves into their Clontarf townhouse off Castle Avenue, the Brian Boru millennium celebrations will probably be over.
Number 1 Townhouse is one of a pair attached to the back of Number 7 Castle Avenue. It's small, at 678 square feet, but has two bedrooms, a reasonably sized living area and a paved terrace.
On the ground floor there's a kitchen/dining room and adjoining living room with shuttered windows. Upstairs are two double bedrooms and a shower room.
The annual maintenance fee is €300. DNG Fairview (01 833 1802) is the agent and the asking price is €330,000.
On your high horse in Mayo
Home buyers whose interests run to both the bridle and tidal variety may be drawn to an architect-designed house on the shores of Clew Bay in Mayo.
The property, at Ardkeen, Westport, is on an elevated site of five acres including a private slipway for watersports enthusiasts, as well as five looseboxes and a sand arena for equestrian fans.
Electric gates open to a 300-metre avenue approaching the property. The house has 3,213 square feet of floor space, with three reception rooms and a large (28 feet by 17) kitchen/dining room served by both a pantry and a laundry. The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe; bedroom two is also en-suite, and the third and fourth bedrooms share a bathroom.
It's on the market for €690,000 through Tuohy O'Toole Auctioneers (098 28000).
In need of care
For every buyer who wants nothing more than a house in turnkey condition, there's another whose heart melts at the sight of a home in desperate need of love.
In that regard, Number 1 York Terrace in Dun Laoghaire might be described as a bedraggled, huge-eyed puppy in a dog pound.
An end-of-terrace Edwardian house, Number 1 has 2,347 square feet of floor space, and plenty of potential. There are three reception rooms, a kitchen and a utility room at hall door level. On the first floor are three bedrooms, a toilet and a laundry room, and in the basement is a kitchen, living room, another bedroom and a toilet. The garden is at the front and at the back is a yard and garage. The agent is DNG Rock Road (01 283 2900) and the asking price is €490,000.
Great haunts in Rathfarnham
No castle is worthy of the name unless it has a ghost, and the 16th-century Rathfarnham Castle has a particularly tragic one.
The skeleton of a young woman was found in one of the castle's hollow walls in 1880. The story goes that she was shut in there secretly 130 years before while two suitors competed for her hand. The two men fought a duel, the intention being that the victor would rescue the lady from the wall, but as it happened they both died – one from his wounds and one by drowning – and she perished there, undiscovered. Her ghost is said to haunt the ballroom.
Less than half a kilometre away from Rathfarnham Castle is Crannagh House, on the corner of Rathfarnham Road and Crannagh Road, providing ready access for ghost hunters.
Crannagh House is a detached, four-bedroom property of some 2,289 square feet. The glazed porch leads into a 27-foot long entrance hall with two good-sized interconnecting reception rooms off it, both with fireplaces. Towards the front is the drawing room (just over 14 feet by 14'9") and behind that is a dining room (14'5" by 13'9").
The kitchen/breakfast room is at the back of the house, and leads to both the garden and a family room measuring 26'7" by 8'6". There's also an office, a utility room and a bathroom on the ground floor. Upstairs are four bedrooms and a bathroom. There's off-street parking for several cars at the front of the house. The back garden has been paved and gravelled, and allows pedestrian access to Crannagh Road.
As well as a ghost, Rathfarnham Castle also has 250 acres of parkland for locals to enjoy, including a children's playground. It's owned by the state and admission is free.
Sherry FitzGerald Terenure (01 490 7433) is handling the sale of Crannagh House, 198 Rathfarnham Road, with an asking price of €795,000.