Friday 18 January 2019

Out of Left field in Tuam

Gortnaraba View €325k

Gortnaraba View is on three-quarters of an acre
Gortnaraba View is on three-quarters of an acre
The kitchen with doors to the conservatory

The landscape of east Galway is famously tranquil and pastoral ­- all sheep-dotted fields enclosed by the licheny stone walls that are the hallmark of this part of the world.

The townland of Coolrevagh, about five kilometres south-east of Tuam, is no exception. Early Ordnance Survey maps suggest this was a busy enough spot in the past though, with a corn mill, a sizeable cluster of dwellings and a Catholic church (already in ruins by 1838 when the first survey was done).

The most prominent landmark in this area is Toghermore House, now a residential centre for people with disabilities. Not that it's a particularly distinguished building; rather it's famous for its former occupant.

When Bobby Burke came into the estate of Toghermore back in the early 20th century, he immediately set about putting his Christian Socialist principles into practice. Burke established a collective farm on 200 acres of the land in the 1930s - co-operative and profit-sharing - despite the dangers associated with being labelled a communist in those days.

The kitchen with doors to the conservatory
The kitchen with doors to the conservatory

Later Burke gave the property to the state to be used as a convalescent home for TB patients, while he and his wife took off for Africa as missionaries. He died in 1998 and there's a plaque in his honour on Tuam Town Hall.

A kilometre or so from Tuam's cradle of socialism is Gortnaraba View, a modern, stone-fronted dormer bungalow on three-quarters of an acre with the modern version of Galway stone walls.

It's 2,579 sq ft on two floors and there are two bedrooms upstairs (one en-suite) along with a little office alcove. The other two bedrooms are downstairs where there's also a bow-windowed living room, a family room and a kitchen with double doors to a conservatory.

The agent is Sherry FitzGerald Mannion in Tuam (093) 26622 and the price is €325,000.

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