Killenard: Living it large in child-friendly Laois
How to manage putting your child to bed and then having some sort of adult socialisation time has always been one of the major challenges when you are on holiday.
How to manage putting your child to bed and then having some sort of adult socialisation time has always been one of the major challenges when you are on holiday.
Within minutes of us sitting down to talk, Lynn Kelly's eyes fill with tears and she chokes up, unable to speak. It is not long since the VIP...
By this stage, body positivity, or BoPo as it is also known, has been hijacked by the internet at large, and adopted as a sort of general, think positively, love yourself, life philosophy.
It has been an extremely active new homes season," says Ken MacDonald of Hooke & MacDonald. "Particularly in the first-time buyer section but also in the trade-up sector, like Fairways which launches this weekend. There is a very strong demand from families who are...
Last year was a turning point for new homes in Cork. "That was when we saw new schemes happening for the first time of any scale since the crash," says Paul Hannon, director of new...
When Thalia Heffernan signed up for the first series of RTE's Dancing with the Stars, a boyfriend was the last thing on her mind.
The theory that the dearth of new apartments is a major contributing factor to the current house crisis is gaining traction. Some market commentators believe it is an even more important factor than the lack of three or four-bed semi-detached homes.
Of all Dublin's urban villages currently undergoing a process of gentrification, the area around Arbour Hill and Stoneybatter in Dublin 7 might be the most desirable. More des res than East Wall, less prohibitively priced than Portobello, more hipster than Phibsborough, with a better atmosphere than Ringsend, for buyers who wish to live close to town, and whose budget or lifestyle doesn't stretch to a three-bed semi in the 'burbs, this area is a favourite.
It was the launch party to eclipse all others, for a magazine that was intended to reinvent the genre, and in the process become a bible for US opinion-formers on both coasts.
The trade-down buyer is one of the most important in the new apartments market, and this week sees the launch of two new developments that will appeal to this under-supplied market segment. In suburban new apartment developments, the downsizer can make up to two thirds of purchasers.
When my daughter, now three, was six weeks old, I was foolhardy enough to venture as far from home as Dingle for a family holiday.
Elizabeth Day's new book, The Party, her fourth, is the story of Martin Gilmour, a rather nondescript creature who in boarding school forms an obsessive attachment to the glamorous upper-class Ben...
Like all life's big events, weddings evoke a visceral reaction. So if your dream has always been to get married in a huge white dress purchased in a bridal store, then look away now. Because I'm going to suggest that spending thousands on a wedding dress is totally unnecessary. These days, the high...
'It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for anybody who asks her." Emma Woodhouse, Emma.
When Adamstown first launched in 2003, then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern appeared at a ceremony to celebrate the start of work on the site.
Obviously all any mother wants for Mother's Day morning is breakfast in bed and a homemade card from her little darlings.
Time's Up. #MeToo. The outing of workplace harassment, personified by the bogeyman-like spectre of Harvey Weinstein. Wearing black. Repeal the 8th. Millions marching for women's rights. Oprah at the Golden Globes, Frances McDormand at the Oscars. Larry Nassar's victims facing him down in court.
BEER facials. Leech facials. Vampire facials, using your own blood. Organically fed snail facials, sheep placenta facials (Victoria Beckham and J-Lo are fans, apparently); diamond; bird poo; urine, and ruby facials. It seems we will put anything on our faces in the quest to stop the progress of age.
It's hard to go any way into telling artist Zane Sutra's story without talking about her youngest daughter Gabriela. Several years ago, the intense years of mothering very young children beginning to pass, Zane began to look into studying art again, to reconnect with what had been a passion of hers since a young age.
No clothes, no lines, no audition - Olwen Kelly's breakout roles have been anything but typical. In 2016's The Autopsy of Jane Doe, the actor played the corpse in the title and it was a feat which won her rave reviews when the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
In new homes the first-time buyer sector receives the lion's share of the attention - most developments are built with this sector in mind, most media attention focuses on the difficulties of first-time buyers attempting to buy a home. Launches aimed at second time, trade-up buyers are less plentiful. Planning laws, apart from anything else, favour higher densities, which means developments of three- and four-bed semi-detached units.
When someone is suffering from some form of dementia it can be hard to spot the signs. If that person is an older adult, the onset of a certain forgetfulness, even the occasional out-of-character behaviour, can be easily ascribed to age. Who, after all, wants to broach the possibility of this most awful of diseases? For Deborah Veale's family, there was a whole other, terrible reason for not really clocking the first signs of the disease in her beloved father Ken Meehan. In 2000, Deborah's younger sister, Alacoque, a mother of one, was diagnosed with cancer which would eventually...
It's a rosier outlook for new home buyers this year than last, with supply beginning to increase as a result of the Help to Buy scheme. However, the number of new developments still falls far short of demand.
'I want to be treated like a model." This was the one condition Celine Dion laid down to Vogue magazine before agreeing to pose in couture for a video made for its Instagram account at this year's Paris Couture Week.
Acting is one of the world's most uncertain professions; nevertheless, its inherent vagaries have taught Aoibhin Garrihy numerous valuable life lessons: how to cope with stress, the importance of self care, and, not least, the importance of diversification - she recently graced our screens on RTE's Dancing With The Stars; she runs wellness workshops for women, and she's now the face of Knight...
Typically new homes schemes in the environs of North County Dublin are aimed at either those trading up or the more affluent first-time buyer (FTB) who is being substantially underwritten by parents, with prices usually north of €500,000. This is not the usual hunting ground for first-time buyers availing of the Government's help-to-buy scheme.
One would be justified in suggesting that we have reached a peak with lifestyle blogging. That the market for everything from beauty to fashion, food to travel blogs has been well and truly saturated. In fact though, it's saturated specifically with those in their twenties and early-thirties. Unlike Britain, whose 40-plus blogging business is booming, no one of that age here has really captured the public's imagination.
The year 2011 was not an ideal time to set up a business; five companies closed every day. And yet this is the year that iClothing, now Ireland's most successful online fashion business, launched.
'Countless individuals have noted that the president's death affected them even more deeply than the death of their own parents even. The reason, I believe, is that the latter situation most often represented a loss of the past, while the assassination of President Kennedy represented an incalculable loss of the future," said Theodore C Sorensen, President Kennedy's adviser, in December, 1963.
Kabira Allain's label Kymaia was born out of practicality. The designer's professional background was originally in the financial services. She worked part-time after having children, but once they started school, she decided to use some of her newfound spare time to study fashion.
It's fair to say that the word "unique" is somewhat overused in the world of property. In relation to new homes, which are built in bulk, and with regulations that aim to standardise quality, "unique" is a difficult thing to achieve. There is, out of necessity, a certain uniformity in housing developments. Hence it is usually through its "location", that other buzzword for property, that...
Two years ago, the manufacturing side of the Fran & Jane business closed down. Three boutiques remained open: Blackrock, Co Dublin; Clonmel, Co Tipperary; and the original store on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, which, last Friday, celebrated its 15th year in business. A complete rethink was required. Now, everything would have to be bought in - previously three-quarters of the Fran & Jane stores' stock had been their own label.
Davy Hickey Properties have been building in West Dublin for over 25 years - they are the builders responsible for the Citywest Business Campus.
Becoming a beauty queen, winning Miss Ireland and moving to New York were never part of Aoife Walsh's plan.
My dream is some day to marry Alix. I have loved her a long while and still deeper and stronger since she spent six weeks in St Petersburg." So wrote Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov, future last Tsar of Russia, in a diary entry in 1892. It seemed unlikely that the future emperor would be permitted to marry the obscure German princess Princess Alix of Hesse - his parents did not view the match favourably.
For many men, fashion trends are something to be approached with caution. Women can take up and throw off a trend as the mood takes them. But as much as they may want to look current, most men really want their clothes to be simple, functional - sensible, even.
Bertie Daly and his wife Louise have been living in Maynooth for 10 years. Originally from Cork, he moved to Dublin after being headhunted by biopharmaceutical company Wyeth, now Pfizer. "I said I'd go to Dublin for a year, to get some experience, and then go back to Cork," he explains. "Thirteen years later I'm still in Dublin." Having rented for three years in Dundrum, the couple decided to buy a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Maynooth, in a new homes development, Straffan Wood.
When Carolyn Donnelly first launched Carolyn Donnelly - The Edit, her clothing line for Dunnes Stores, the aim was to provide the perfect collection of wardrobe basics, mostly in a palette of black, navy, white and grey. Several seasons on, the line has expanded to include a full complement of wardrobe requirements, in an array of colours and prints each season.
Right at the apex of Mount Anville Road, just opposite the gates of Mount Anville School, sits the site of Knockrabo, on what was formerly the land of Mount Anville House.
Working out your wedding-day style can be a difficult business.
Can you take a toddler to the Venetian Riviera? Absolutely says Liadan Hynes - here's how she did it.
The feedback from buyers, boutique owners, and many Irish designers of the last two seasons is that the Irish customer is more confident than ever about styling her own look. Some put it down to the blogger effect, which is all about mixing it up to create an individual look.
Courtney Smith had been on friendly terms with Neil McCarthy and Audrey Murray of Buffalo Shoe Lab for years when the idea of a collaboration came about. She wore the label herself, and she used their shoes in her work as a stylist. So synonymous was Courtney with the brand that last year they nicknamed a green military boot after her, calling it the Coco boot.
Shopping at this time of year can be a little like gorging on cheap, sugary food. You're tired, your willpower has disappeared and you end up indulging in the sort of rubbish you don't actually want, which leaves behind a vague sense of free-floating guilt.
How can you host the perfect, stress-free dinner party? And what are the worst mistakes a host can make? Liadan Hynes gets some top tips from the experts
What Susan Moylett doesn't know about lingerie really isn't worth knowing. Proprietor of the deceptively small Susan Hunter Lingerie boutique in the Westbury Mall, her shop has long been one of Dublin's, if not Ireland's, leading suppliers of luxury underwear.
It is a little-known fact that Donegal brand, Magee, designs and creates some of the most sought-after luxurious fabrics for the world's finest fashion houses. Innovation, as well as heritage, has always been the heart of this family-run business. "We've got all this heritage, bags of heritage," says Charlotte Temple. This year, her family's business, Magee 1866, celebrates its 150th anniversary. It began life as a draper's shop that sold hand-woven tweed, then Robert Temple, a cousin of John Magee, bought the business in 1900, and it has been in the family since.
'Banish bread', says newly svelte Francis Brennan. 'Move away from the table', is Daniel O'Donnell's sage advance, while Roz Purcell says meal preparation is the top tip. Catherine Fulvio's advice is to downsize to fit the dress size, while Keith Barry has found visualising a fit version of himself does the trick, and stir fries are Brent Pope's secret weapon.
'It's not about being defined by what other people think is sexy, it's about being comfortable in your own skin," says Lingerie, Swimwear and Hosiery Group Buyer Roslyn Ellis, of this season's collection in the Brown Thomas Lingerie Rooms. It's an ethos that is exemplified in their shoot, which is as much about comfortable layering as it is the sexy side of scanties. "It's very much around loungewear. Relaxed, laid-back, but something really special," explains Roslyn.
As a father of five children between the ages of seven and 14, and a resident of Malahide village, Mark Elliott of Greenleaf Homes has road-tested both the requirements of a spacious family home and the environs of the new homes development, Whitegables, which he launches this weekend in the north Dublin village.
'New Homes does not do uncertainty," says David Browne, head of New Homes at Savills, reflecting that uncertainty over the Budget saw the season get off to something of a slow start as buyers and builders sat back and waited.
When they first met at an exhibition several years ago, their appreciation for each other's designs was such that Grainne Finn and Hannah Mullan, of the Irish fashion label Tissue, ended up bartering their work.
School is out and children are full of exuberance, especially given the amount of Halloween candy going around. Yet don’t panic, Liadan Hynes and Emily Hourican have your holiday sorted.
'When was the first time? I think I was 12." Louise O'Neill is recalling the first time she had a non-consensual sexual experience. "I was walking down St Patrick's Street in Cork, wearing a vest top, because it was summer.
It's hard to believe that Lucy Nagle's business is only in its third year. In an astonishingly short time, she has managed to establish herself as one of the leading Irish designers in her field, a creator of classic, contemporary knitwear.
It's easy to knock fashion bloggers and street-style stars. All that self-conscious preening and pouting for the camera, the endless selfies, the videos of shopping hauls - which is where one records oneself pulling recently purchased clothes (the 'haul') out of bags to show viewers.
Originally built in 2007 by former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely, the Priory Hall complex was revealed to be suffering from serious structural and fire safety regulation issues in 2011. The apartments were evacuated by order of the High Court, with the debts of all owners eventually being written off by the banks after a long, painful struggle for the families concerned. Buy-to-let owners received a moratorium on their mortgage payments.
We've all done it. Thrown money at the situation when inspiration, or time, fails us, when we are buying a gift for a loved one, and need to get something quickly, that looks thoughtful but expensive. Usually, it results in something the receiver has no interest in - few men consider clothes a gift, and women get far less pleasure from receiving expensive underwear than you might think.
At London Fashion Week for this season, there was a buzz around Zoe Jordan. Fashion finally turned on to her style - a mix of street-urchin-with-a-nod-to-punk and subtle femininity.
The elegant surroundings of the Hibernian Club in St Stephen's Green provided the perfect runway for Peter O'Brien. His years as a couturier in Paris showed in every garment, from the olive-green hounds-tooth check coat and his signature "New Look" numbers, to his wide variety of dresses, this time adding an early 1960s flavour to his ballet-length sunray-pleated number. His show stopper was a vivid red cocktail dress with a train from the shoulder. With Martha Lynn's Star Wars hat.
'I had to have it," says developer Neill Collins, recalling the day he first came across Bolton Hall House in Rathfarnham in Dublin 16. The site that includes the Georgian home, a listed building dating from 1818, launches this weekend as a new homes development, Bolton Park.
'So what are this season's trends?" People ask this question when you work in fashion, usually in the weary tones of someone already slightly exhausted at the very notion of having to 'nail' this season's latest. And really, to a great extent, who cares? Once you get to a certain age, the years have, hopefully, provided an accumulation of knowledge as to what works on you. Hopefully, some sort of personal style has been ratcheted up, that can stare down the latest take on Stevie Nicks or Miss Havisham, and allow you to say: Not for my wardrobe, thank you.
'I'm paying almost €900 to share a room with two other people. There are 10 of us in the house and only two bathrooms." Margaret Path is a student from the US. She has been living in Portobello but this week, along with two of her fellow students, she attended a viewing in Irishtown. Soaring rents and landlords' preference for tenants who are professionals - seen as more likely to fulfil a full year's lease and maintain the upkeep of a property - makes finding rental accommodation as a student challenging.
When Dunnes Stores came to Joanne Hynes about working with it on a collection, she recalls that Margaret Heffernan told her, "I want you to do you". "That was really important," the designer says now of that freedom to create an undiluted collection, not to have to water down her work. "I wouldn't have done it otherwise," she reflects.
She was the first 'nice girl' he had known… He found her excitingly desirable. He was at present a penniless young man without a past… but now he found that he had committed himself to the following of a grail… She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby - nothing… Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor."
Clontarf is often described as 'the Ballsbridge of the Northside' - although locals would contend Ballsbridge is the Clontarf of the Southside. And like Ballsbridge, property prices are notoriously high as demand consistently outweighs supply. The combination of abundant amenities, the seaside location, St Anne's Park, a number of good schools, proximity to town, and excellent bus and Dart transport links all make this one of the Northside's most sought-after areas.
'In my mind, time had frozen. Especially in LA; there were no seasons and I was still going out all the time. And then I came home and I was like: "What, people don't go out any more? People are getting engaged and buying houses? Oh my God, I'm not at that stage. I felt a little out of place for a little while. I still feel a little out of place, I guess," Ruth confesses with her trademark throaty chuckle.
Just over a decade ago, running a boutique had become something of a hobby. As a buyer, on buying trips, I would regularly see fellow buyers for whom running their own store was as much an extension of their social life as it was a career. They favoured the 'one for me, one for the shop, one for my BF' method of buying. But the crash separated the wheat from the chaff, and now it is mostly the pioneers who remain as boutique owners. Women who have a strong, individual aesthetic, and who tirelessly chase exclusive labels, rather than just imitating what others are doing.
'To be honest, we said we'd take a chance in 2015 because the prices were tight but we had to get going again if we wanted to stay in the house building business. You can't wait forever." After a seven-year hiatus, beginning in 2008, developer Francis Rhatigan relaunched his business early last year with a new phase of his sizeable project Dalriada in Knocklyon, Dublin 16.
'It's an overused word but the Marina Village at Greystones is 'unique'. It's the only marina in Ireland that is planned so it's not going to repeat in terms of its rarity," reflects Ivan Gaine, head of new homes at Sherry FitzGerald, of last weekend's launch of the Marina Village, the first new homes launch of the season.
'The most important thing for me was change, this season. I think we've seen lots of little changes over the years - contrast, over-sizing, feminine glamour; but this season was definitely the most diverse change," Shelly Corkery, fashion director of Brown Thomas reflects, describing the huge transition in trends for autumn/winter 2016.
Since moving home to Ireland several years ago, Helen Cody has successfully rebuilt her fashion business. Now, with her first show in almost a decade, she is about to become the only designer ever to put on a fashion show in Christ Church Cathedral. "It's a really big deal for me," she says of the event, all proceeds of which will go to St Francis Hospice. Tickets for the show are on sale now, from Havana; Costume; Só Collective, and St Francis Hospice (contact details in credits, page 37). Partly inspired by the show's location, for autumn/winter 2016, Helen has created a...
'For me, this fabric was the lynchpin of the whole collection," says Caroline Kilkenny, lifting a ballerina skirt in a vivid, abstract print. "Generally, you would build a story around all the fabrics, but in this case, the whole collection is inspired by this one. That's unusual. It just keeps giving you little treats and treasures with the colours. It's like a beautiful oil canvas; it reminds me of a [Gustav] Klimt painting."
Even at the height of her career, Louise Bowden was aware of the brutal nature of life as a performer. One day she might be starring as the lead in a West End musical, the next day, production over, she could be out on the street handing out leaflets for a living. "One minute you're on the stage, your poster's outside the theatre. The next minute you're trying to look for work to pay your bills. It doesn't matter how successful you are. I could be 55 and it would still be the same. And I just didn't see myself wanting that life."
Before moving to Ireland in 2003, photographer Agata Stoinska knew little if anything about Ireland.
So enamoured is Greg Jones with his Wicklow home that, had this been a sunny week, he might have turned down the offer of coverage on these pages - the sight of his beloved property at its very best might almost have made him doubt his decision to sell.
'I think growing up on an island, you are more relaxed than your average bear," smiles Roisin Derrane. Sister of TV presenter Maura, Roisin is one of Ireland's top make-up artists, having worked with everyone from Ali Hewson to Helena Christensen, Bradley Cooper, Mia Farrow and Barbra Streisand. It's all a long way from where she grew up, in a family of four girls, on the Aran Islands.
It was an auspicious season for new homes, but sales would have been better if strong buyer demand was not hindered by several factors. Lack of stock and difficulties accessing funding due to the Central Bank mortgage lending rules remain major obstacles. First-time buyers, most typically two professionals around the age of 34, were the most common purchasers. Their house of choice? The three- and four-bed semi-detached.
During the boom, infill sites were popular as any viable land was mined for its potential. Now, as the new homes market gets going again, infill sites provide a good entry-level way in for developers returning to the market, or for those new to building who want to move up from one-off projects or home renovations. They are also a less expensive option than a larger project - although they still require the same construction plant, much of the infrastructure and services will already be in place.
'Can you check there's nothing in that cup, that I haven't put bleach into it?" says Bryony Gordon, holding up the empty cup she's about to pour her three-year-old daughters milk into for me to check. "It's an OCD thing," she says, muttering that they don't even have bleach in the house.
Traditionally, houses on hotel and golf courses tend to be viewed as second homes, as holiday residences. However, such is the appeal of the lifestyle on offer at the beautiful 535-acre Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny that many of the homes end up seducing their owners into full time residency. Ken MacDonald of selling agency Hooke & MacDonald has owned a property on the estate for over a decade now. Originally intended as a holiday home, over the years it has become his family's main residence.
Commuter belt bashing is an easy sport, but it is undeniable that what might get you a starter three-bed semi in Dublin can bring you to the upper echelons of the new homes market in the commuter towns. Next weekend sees the launch of a new homes scheme, Limetree Hall, right in the heart of Maynooth town in north Co Kildare.
One would be hard-pressed to find a bad site in the environs of Kinsale, but it would be difficult to equal the attractions of Convent Garden, the new homes development which launched this weekend. It combines proximity to the town centre, one of Ireland's most aspirational locations, with stunning sea views.
Mary O'Brien, CEO of the Irish Landmark Trust, recalls the restoration of one their most popular buildings, the Wicklow Lighthouse. "I remember being in Wicklow when we took it on and there was a floor-and-a-half of bird droppings," she says. "It had been empty since the early 1800s."
It seems unlikely that we shall see a repeat of the dramatic leap forward in energy efficiency technologies that happened in the last decade. Now, when it comes to further streamlining the running costs of a new home and increasing its sustainable energy capabilities, it seems likely that it will be a matter of fine tuning, adding the latest technological innovations that will work to shave that little bit more from bills, rather than transformative changes that raise the BER rating of a house significantly.
It goes without saying that the location of Albany, a new homes scheme on the Killiney Hill Road that launches this weekend, is one of Dublin's most desirable addresses. At one time, the area attracted so many famous musicians that it was nicknamed Dublin's rock broker belt. Over the years, famous residents have included - and in some cases, still do include - Bono and Ali Hewson, Enya, Jim Kerr and Patsy Kensit, Van Morrison, Chris De Burgh, Lisa Stansfield and Joe Elliott.
Since having a child, I have two personal rules for all holidays. If at all possible, travel nowhere that is more than a two-and-a-half-hour car drive away. This ensures the child will nap for the majority of the journey. Second, bring numerous family members - otherwise holidaying with a child, your usual childcare obviously left behind, is a lot like hard work at times.
Deborah Veale was visiting her dad Ken at Saint Joseph's in Shankill when she was, as she puts it, "nobbled by the force that is Siobhan Grant". Fundraiser for Saint Joseph's, Siobhan explained that she was hoping Deborah might help her in her efforts on behalf of the centre, which is Ireland's only care centre solely dedicated to people suffering from dementia. Using the Butterfly Approach, which aims to create an environment that is closer to a home than a hospital, it aims to become Ireland's first Dementia Village.
Yesterday saw the launch of Silverton, a new homes development in Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. This part of Dublin is attracting a healthy amount of new homes schemes with Grange Hill, which launched early last year, up the road, and Odin's Way, opposite the Grange Golf Club, to launch later this year.
Hooke & MacDonald have brought a niche development of traditional-style spacious family homes in Castleknock to the market this week.
'I am quite convinced that I shall see you again one day - I don't know how or when - but it must happen since I so long for it…Day and night I find neither rest nor peace - if I sleep I have tormenting dreams in which I see you...Forgive me then Monsieur if I take the step of writing to you again - how can I bear my life unless I make an effort to alleviate its sufferings…If my master withdraws...
'In general, buyer demand in Galway is huge," says Niall Browne of O'Donnellan and Joyce Auctioneers. The first phase of west Galway development Maoilin, by Burkeway Homes, 13 units of which launched last autumn, sold out in hours, with the second phase of 20 units, launched in November, selling within weeks. The waiting list for the final phase numbered 262 people.
Ireland’s first ever development of new homes built to the highly energy-efficient passive house standard has hit the market. Madeira Oaks in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, is an estate of 12 three-bedroomed, semi-detached houses costing a competitive €190,000 each. Better still, they have been awarded the first A minus BER rating in Ireland.
'This site was first born in 2014," says Aidan Hora, then corrects himself with a laugh. It's a slip that acknowledges his personal investment in the Georgian Collection development.
Downsizers make up roughly 7pc of the housing market, and while buying a smaller home brings many benefits, it is also an emotional journey. Liadan Hynes asks the experts how to avoid the pitfalls and speaks to three people who have made the move
If the section of the housing market that is trading down is to have any hope of contributing to a workable solution to the current housing crisis, there needs to be an increase in the supply of apartments that offer an attractive long-term-home option. For starters, that means well-built and cleverly designed apartments that are close to the down-sizer's locality. Add lower maintenance, all-on-one floor living, a sense of community, and increased security and you have a development that might appeal to retirees. If the apartments come with good storage, a balcony with a view, a...
'Let's get the sex out of the way," says Lisa Hilton, dropping her voice to a dramatic whisper as she leans in with a playful smile over tea and scones at the Merrion Hotel. "People say. 'Oh, it's very graphic, it's very shocking'," she reflects of the reaction to the numerous sex scenes in her new book, Maestra. "Have they seen what teenagers write to each other on Snapchat? Have they seen Tinder? Have they seen how quickly a conversation can progress from, you know, 'I like your photo' to '[something very sexually graphic]?' Sometimes that's three messages. Millions and millions of...
'Really we don't have a choice. If we are going to stop Dublin heading all the way to Drogheda, and all the way to Athlone, we have to put a ring around it," says John O'Mahony, vice president of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI), and managing director of architecture firm O'Mahony Pike.
'When the recession came, it was like turning off a light switch," recalls Joseph Bourke of Bourke Builders, who brings five new four-bed detached homes, approximately 185 sqm, from €245,000, to the market this weekend as the final phase of their development The Glebe, Church Road, Ballina.
'I dropped out because it was kind of an intense time in my life," Cecelia Ahern recalls. "I just wasn't able. I was a bit nervy at the time." A bit nervy was, it turns out, a spell of panic attacks so crippling they left the then 21-year-old unable to attend her MA in film production, and increasingly reluctant to leave her mother's home in Malahide, north County Dublin, where she still lived at...
'This is the best site we have ever had," says Jim Wood of Wood Group Homes. It is not an empty boast. Positioned on the hill to your right as you enter Greystones from the M50, overlooking the village, with stunning sea views, the location of SeaGreen, which launches this weekend, is spectacular.
"WE hadn't put a bucket in the ground since 2007," says Fred Fullard, director of Burkeway Homes, one of Galway's biggest developers, which started building again 12 months ago. Fred and fellow director Michael Burke made the decision to dip their toe in the water, he says, when they felt prices were finally getting to a point where it made sense to build. They are now in phase two of Maoilin, a 73-unit development on the west side of the city. They're taking it slowly; gone are the days of huge numbers of homes launching onto the market, but so far sales have been good.
"Needs must, I suppose," says Patrick Levins with a chuckle, explaining his decision to move into property development. Levins was a quantity surveyor who had run his own building company, Broadstreet Construction, since 1995. When the downturn hit, he worked between London and Dublin for a number of years. Then, in 2012, Patrick had what he describes as "a little bit of a light bulb moment. Late 2012, I decided that [the economy] had hit rock bottom. There was only one way forward, so I started looking for a site and I found this in early 2013."
'When people ask what I do, I feel like I want to say what I used to do. Sometimes I find the conversation ends. Whereas it used to go on for a lot longer when you were working," confesses Audrey Dawson, mother of three children, who has been a stay-at-home mum for three years now.
Prestigious schools, rolling parkland, a quaint village - it isn't hard to understand why Castleknock is the jewel in the crown of Dublin 15. It sits alongside Clontarf, Malahide, Howth and Sutton in terms of aspirational northside Dublin suburbs and appeals both to those who grew up there, and anyone in the market for leafy, green homes with a genuine village feel but still close to the city centre.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the art of fitting extra furniture into a room has become something of a competitive sport among interior designers in new developments. Chaise longues sit beside dressing tables, chairs and desks in bedrooms. Sofas and armchairs gather around coffee tables in kitchen/living rooms. Occasional tables in living rooms are decked out with decorative pieces.
'So much has changed in the last decade in terms of building control, regulations and energy efficiency, that it's now completely different buying new versus second-hand," explains David Browne, director of new homes at Savills Ireland.
'What's our favourite thing about living here?" Valerie Stevenson muses aloud to her husband, Gerry. "Peace, tranquillity," she concludes. "You can't hear any- thing." Land of Lyre is a beautifully restored country farmhouse overlooking Roaring Water Bay in Aughadown, West Cork. Bought by the couple nine years ago on their retirement, it was a long way - in every sense - from their former home in Sandycove, Dublin.
'Here's a house we've created, and it's brilliant," developer Patricia Hinch of Regency says, throwing her arms open delightedly. It's a well-earned pride. On a beautiful sunny winter's day, Hollywoodrath seems exactly what a new homes development should be. Spaciously landscaped, surrounded not by acres of other new estates but rather green fields, with solid, well thought-out houses.
When the current owners of 80 Trees Road Lower bought their home 10 years ago, such was its state of disrepair that the only feature called out at the auction was a Triton T90 shower.
'You look awesome." "Perfection." "You have the most perfect figure, I'd hate you if you weren't so nice." "The dream." "You're a goddess." Just a sample of the types of comments posted recently on the Instagram feed of Rosanna Davison."You're as skinny as a pencil" is about as vicious as it gets, a comment that is roundly trounced by other followers, who immediately jump to the former Miss World's defence. Although Rosanna will regularly respond to queries about food, fitness or fashion, on this occasion, she doesn't get involved.
'As a kid, I was always really outgoing and outspoken. Not in an annoying way.You couldn't shut me up. And then we moved to Ireland and I got into this kind of shy, closed-up phase. I think a lot of that came from not knowing how to speak the language." As a child, Diana Bunici was an unlikely candidate for today's incarnation - a self-possessed, successful young woman; TV presenter, living...
'I am the youngest in a big family. Having always been shy, I've found it difficult to be heard among the big personalities around me. As I grew up, I found my voice visually through clothes. I overcompensated for years of silence with bold fashion statements."
'You're doing an assertiveness course?" several friends exclaim in surprise. Which is gratifying. Nobody wants to be thought a pushover. My editor suggested I attend the course and write about it when I decided to leave my staff job with this paper and go freelance. I was delighted; despite the aforementioned canvassing, I've always felt my assertiveness skills left something to be desired. I hate confrontation and I tend to come over all quavery voiced, or worse, I well up. Leaving the shelter of a job I'd enjoyed for nearly 12 years and venturing into the world of the self-employed,...
‘The agency told us just eat soup. I was like, and?”