Fran has been editor of the People & Culture magazine at the Sunday Independent since it was relaunched in November 2020. She joined Mediahuis Ireland in 2015 and was previously editor of Cara magazine and other titles at IMAGE publications. She now lives in Dublin.
That smell you get in the dry cleaners? That, folks, is the sweet scent of solvents. More specifically of a chemical called Perchloroethylene, also known as Perc, or PCE or Tetrachloroethylene. Its job is to dissolve dirt from your clothes, and it does that extremely well.
Last week actor Saoirse Ronan went sale agreed on her Co Wicklow five-bed for a sum more than €100,000 over the asking price. The sale of Pine Lodge in Greystones for a reported €1.6m bucks the sales trend for Irish trophy homes.
Downsizers in search of a low maintenance, turnkey apartment close to shops, transport links, church and scenic routes for their daily constitutional might well find that the first-floor apartment of 6 The Pierre on Victoria Terrace in Dun Laoghaire repays a visit.
Nothing sparks the desire for change like hitting a new decade. Vendor Kate Dunn turns 50 next year and her landmark birthday is the reason she is putting her two-bed cottage on the market after eight years. "I'm going to take early retirement from the HSE and retire to France to live on red wine and fresh air," she says.
If you're in the market for a holiday home in a dream location, then take the advice of vendor Mark Newdow - go house hunting in winter. If a property still grabs at your heart when the skies are low and the days are short, then it's the one.
Downsizers Brian and Anne Elliott have lived at 18 Deerpark Lawn in Castleknock for a good slice of their married life. They bought the property in 2002 and shepherded their five children through school and college there.
It is hard to believe that Achill, a luxurious four-bed detached house built on generous lines, was designed by the vendor. The rooms flow into one another in a way that makes entertaining a doddle and are spacious, light-filled - the bay windows in both of the east-facing reception rooms are 19ft wide - and full of elegant design flourishes. It all speaks of an expert hand.
When David Dineen was about eight years old, his parents built Derg Lodge as a family home and B&B on one of the most sought-after spots in the country, the shores of Lough Derg in Co Tipperary. The gardens of the property run down to the lake edge where there is a private harbour, and splendid views to Co Clare on the far side.
The autumn season for new homes is up and running and, given the various market indicators, it looks like an ideal time to buy. The supply of new builds is higher than it has been for more than a decade. Prices are more or less static in Dublin. There are even price drops in some of the higher-end markets. The Help to Buy (H2B) scheme is giving a leg up to first-time buyers saving for deposits, while high rents mean that, for those who can afford to buy, it is cheaper to do so than rent. Furthermore, interest rates are forecast to stay low for the next five years, so a buyer can lock into a mortgage at an attractive fixed rate.
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