Stone cottage in Wicklow is the perfect home away from home for €465k
The cottage may feel remote but there's plenty to do on its doorstep
When you buy a holiday home, it is thought, in general, that you wouldn't put as much time and money into it as you would your permanent home. You take up the offer of old beds, pre-loved sofas and second-hand kitchen units. You throw them all into the slightly rundown house, and hope for the best.
The owners of Copse Cottage, however, did no such thing. After spending every weekend for four years in the house (which was in decent condition for a 120-year-old workman's cottage), it was decided that it was too small for comfort, so they got planning permission and began the process of extending and renovating their home from home.
"We fell in love with this cottage due to its settings," says the owner. "It's surrounded by forest and beautiful trees, and we used to just sit in our car and look at it, wondering would it ever be ours. With just two rooms, it was painfully small to live in, so in 2003 we got planning for an 132 sq m (1,420 sq ft) extension.
"The project soon took over our lives and weekends were spent sourcing materials, visiting salvage yards, meeting with tradesmen, and sometimes searching for the impossible. Local builders took on the job of building, roofing and stone-facing our new extension using hand-picked cut stone granite that was sourced in Wicklow and neighbouring counties."
New bargeboards were made as per the design of the original cottage and the ridge tiles on the roof were produced to match the existing design. It was 2011 before the owners were able to renovate the interior of the cottage. Two rooms became one to create a new living room. Underfloor heating was installed, a granite fireplace was built, and the original bathroom was gutted and turned into an office.
Every detail was thought of and the love shines through the moment you walk in the front door. It will be hard for the current owners to pass this cottage on.
"What do I love about Copse Cottage?" asks the owner. "I love the quietness, the darkness at night, I love being so close to the forest and watch it come alive in the morning, I love the summer evenings, and I love the kitchen and the way you can open the doors out to the garden. It's just so peaceful."
The front entrance opens into the hall with a utility room to the left. The floor is reclaimed 19th-century oak that follows into the living room. The first thing you notice as you walk into this room is the granite fireplace. The pillars were salvaged from shipping docks in Glasgow. At the end of the room is a hand-painted bookcase that was crafted by a carpenter from Ashford with two wall panels and a head panel fitted around double doors.
Off the living room is a study or home office. This would be ideal for the remote worker or for a writer who is looking for peace and quiet. This room has access to the attic, and phone and TV sockets.
The kitchen units are painted French white and were made in Bunclody. There is a red-brick chimney to house a range or Aga. The floor is reclaimed hardwood parquet and there is an island unit with wooden worktop and circular sink.
The three downstairs bedrooms are floored in oak and two of them have built-in wardrobes. The bathroom has a corner bath, shower and is tiled in natural stone.
Upstairs is the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom. The attic is insulated with sheep's wool.
Outside, granite walls were built by a local stone mason, with two gate pillars to match.
The cottage sits on 0.5 acre and has a stone shed, a fenced dog run and a shipping container provides dry and secure storage. The entrance is lit by 100-year-old cast-iron lampposts from Nottingham City.
It's easy to see how the owners fell instantly in love with the setting of Copse Cottage. It's on the R755 between Rathdrum and Laragh, and borders the Vale of Clara and Ballygannon Wood. Rathdrum has everything for your day-to-day needs but for larger supermarkets, Wicklow town is about 20 minutes away by car where you'll find Tesco, Lidl and SuperValu. It only takes about 40 minutes to drive to South County Dublin, so this would be a very handy retreat for city workers looking for a change of pace at the weekend.
Things to Do
The house may feel remote but there are plenty of things to see and do in the area. Walks through the woods or along the Avonmore River are literally on your doorstep.
Clara Lara Fun Park is only five minutes away, where kids will play for hours on the rope bridges, rowing boats, water slides and go-karts. There are picnic spots and a café.
Glendalough, the early monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin, is also just up the road. There are a number of monastic remains to visit like the Round Tower and the Priest's House, and many walking trails throughout the national park.
Greenan's Maze is also very close to the property and is great fun as you try to find your way out of the 7ft tall, half-acre maze. If you make it out before dark, you can also visit the farming museums and reward yourself with a slice of cake in the tea rooms.
Eating and Drinking
In Rathdrum, Bates Restaurant has been around since 1785. The building may be the same but the restaurant is not standing still with a menu that includes most of the old reliables and a decent wine list.
In Laragh, Lynam's is very popular with locals and tourists alike, so you'll be lucky to get a table on a Sunday afternoon. The Wicklow Heather, also in Laragh, is a joy for whiskey lovers with its own whiskey bar as well as the writer's room, which can be booked for private functions. The main restaurant opens for breakfast and serves all day.
Brooklodge Hotel is about 20 minutes from the property in Macreddin Village, which is also known as the 'food village'. There are several options for eating out here including The Waterside Lounge, Acton's Bar or The Strawberry Tree, which is Ireland's only certified organic restaurant.
Rathdrum itself has a very local community but once you move outside the town, you'll find more blow-ins looking for a piece of the good life. The area is popular with Dubs who are looking for a change in lifestyle and willing to take on the commute, and agents have also noticed the return of the Irish workers from the UK and Dubai, who are now ready to come home and want to settle down in Wicklow.
What's Not To Like
Copse Cottage is a bit pricey for a second home so it may be an option for two families wanting to invest in a holiday property together.
Copse, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €465,000
Agent: DNG Bray (01) 2867625