TOO many large rural homes of the sort, built throughout Ireland in the late 1990s and 2000s, were wayward attempts to mimic a big period Georgian country home - but in concrete blocks, Upvc, damp grey render, and with more bathrooms than bedrooms.
These are what many consider to be the eponymous Irish take on the 'McMansion' and many even came complete with a pair of glowering concrete eagles perched on the gate pillars.
In contrast, the design of Gortshane near Newport in Tipperary is a wholly honest approach to modern rural living with no faux period trim aside perhaps from a functional double height bay window column - practical for security purposes and allowing the owner to see exactly who is calling to the door. Although the house was built 12 years ago, the clean design has kept with the times and the house looks like it could have been finished yesterday.
The covered porch area is supported by stout unfussy beams and the varied roofline is coated in a chocolate tile. The house occupies an elevated site convenient to Newport, Birdhill and Ballinahinch Village. Another plus is the well landscaped grounds with choice architectural shrubs and gravel alongside tightly-cut lawn to define the setting.
The modern design is continued inside and the owners have chosen a bright colour scheme of whites and pale timber floors. Flashes of colour, like the purple chimney surround, add some definitive tone without lowering it.
The heart of the house is the substantial kitchen/dining room which is 15ft long. There's a sitting room, a living room, and a playroom for the children.
There's a family bathroom and the master bedroom has its own ensuite as well as a walk-in wardrobe. In all, there are five bedrooms and one other also comes with an ensuite. An additional bonus is a substantial detached and apex roofed double garage which also has a lofted area overhead making it perfect for a home office, removed enough from the house for privacy.
The site of just over a half acre (0.64) is in an elevated position to enhance the views of the surrounding countryside and there is a timber decked area to the rear of the house for indulging in summer barbeques.
Overall, the house spans 2,750sq ft. The heating is oil fired, the water is from the mains and an additional bonus is the central vacuum system which allows the owner to plug the nozzle hose into a slot in the wall in each room, thus saving you the bother of hauling a cleaner from room to room and then stashing it away.
The town of Newport nearby dates back more than a thousand years and much of it still bears the earmarks of the Cromwellian developer Richard Waller who occupied Cully Castle, later Castle Waller. This was when the town's name was changed from Tulach Sheasta to the Anglicised Newport.
There are two primary schools (Convent of Mercy Primary School and the Boys' National School) in the town and two second level schools (St Mary's Secondary School and St Joseph's College).
St Mary's was ranked 224 out of 400 schools in a recent poll of top secondary schools.
Via nearby Ballinahinch, the property is handy for the M7, which provides access to Limerick City and the University as well as Nenagh Town. At the same time, Shannon Airport is around 45 minutes' drive away.
Tipperary is currently one of the cheapest counties in which to buy property in the country and the price of this home at €340,000 shows you can get almost three times the space for the money than you would in the capital and twice what you'd pay in Cork or Galway.
Gortshane, Newport, Co Tipperary
Asking price: €340,000
Agent: REA J Lee (061) 378121