Thatched cot­tage with el­e­gant in­te­rior, yours for €600k,

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Property - - FRONT PAGE - Words by Fran Power

WHEN it comes to buy­ing a house, it’s fair to say that for many of us the heart rules the head. One UK sur­vey by a mort­gage com­pany found that 25pc of pur­chasers de­cide to buy a prop­erty on their first view­ing. An­other sur­vey put the av­er­age de­ci­sion time at 17 sec­onds.

For Ro­nan Tully, the owner of The Thatch, the de­ci­sion was made in a heart­beat. At the time, he and his wife Viviene were liv­ing on a small farm in north Cork with their two young chil­dren. Ro­nan, who is orig­i­nally from Meath, was in the area vis­it­ing his fam­ily.

He said: “We passed by The Thatch and said, ‘Oh my God, it’s for sale.’ That was it. We changed jobs, we moved up and we bought it in 2005.”

Be­sides its ob­vi­ous charms — a quaint tra­di­tional thatched cot­tage set on one acre — the prop­erty has a lot go­ing for it. Just 38km from Dublin city cen­tre, it is within a few min­utes’ drive of schools and the his­toric town of Trim, as well as Na­van and Dun­shaugh­lin.

Ro­nan com­mutes ev­ery day into the city cen­tre, a jour­ney that he said takes him an av­er­age of 45 min­utes. Yet, he added, “you’re liv­ing in the coun­try­side, you’re away from ev­ery­thing. It’s very ru­ral”.

The cot­tage is be­lieved to be the old school master’s house, said Ro­nan, and would prob­a­bly have served the needs of the es­tate at Kil­carty, the lo­cal Big House. Chis­elled into the stonework of an old grain store at the back of the prop­erty is the date 1878.

For a tra­di­tional Ir­ish cot­tage, it is sur­pris­ingly el­e­gant and a sense of spa­cious­ness is en­hanced by the own­ers’ choice of sub­tle Far­row & Ball greys, and the de­ci­sion to paint the tim­bered ceil­ings through­out.

It’s a mil­lion miles away from the pine in­te­ri­ors of many tra­di­tional Ir­ish cot­tages — it has dark, pol­ished wood floors, sim­ple chan­de­liers and fine fire­places that give it more the air of a pe­riod prop­erty.

“It had gone through one hell of a restora­tion with the pre­vi­ous own­ers,” said Ro­nan. “From 2001 to 2003, they did a lot of work. It was rethatched, they did all the electrics, it had sash win­dows fit­ted, it had a com­plete over­haul.”

When Ro­nan and Viviene bought it, all that was re­quired was to put their stamp on it with fur­nish­ing and decor. The orig­i­nal part of the house con­tains an en­trance porch with a half door, a charm­ing mu­sic room with a baby grand that has been in Ro­nan’s fam­ily for 110 years. There’s also an in­ter­con­nect­ing draw­ing room and a bed­room.

The Thatch was ex­tended to the rear, prob­a­bly in the 1950s and 1960s, said Ro­nan, adding a sun room and a gen­er­ous-sized fam­ily room with three bay win­dows.

The kitchen has a Smeg oven and, of course, that sta­ple of coun­try kitchens — a Stan­ley range, which is oil fired and runs the cen­tral heat­ing. French doors lead out on to the pa­tio to the rear. New own­ers might con­sider mov­ing the kitchen to the fam­ily room to turn it into an open-plan liv­ing and din­ing area.

The master bed­room, which has four win­dows and is flooded with light, has a dress­ing room as well as an en suite with a Vic­to­rian bath and a shower. There is one fur­ther dou­ble bed­room, bring­ing the to­tal to three dou­bles, and a fam­ily bath­room.

The gar­dens are a de­light with two cot­tage-style gar­dens to the front and a big lawn at the rear, which is per­fect for chil­dren to kick a ball around on.

“We’ve done a few bits and pieces to it,” Ro­nan said of the prop­erty. “It is an old house, you have to keep on top of it even though it had been com­pletely ren­o­vated and changed around. It’s on­go­ing but is it a hand­ful? No, it’s not.”

Prospec­tive buy­ers might be daunted at the thought of main­tain­ing a thatch.“If you don’t get it looked at ev­ery year you could end up in trou­ble, but if you get it cleaned, raked and sprayed ev­ery year, it’s fine,” Ro­nan said.

The ven­dors re­placed the cap­ping on the thatch in 2014 and it should not need fur­ther work un­til 2021 or there­abouts, while the en­tire thatch was re­done in 2003 and should have a life­span of 25 years, Ro­nan added. There are cur­rently grants avail­able from the Heritage Coun­cil and the Depart­ment of Hous­ing.

The prop­erty will be of in­ter­est not just to fam­i­lies who are seek­ing a bal­ance be­tween coun­try and city life, but to foreign buy­ers in search of a slice of Ir­ish ar­chi­tec­tural his­tory.

Clock­wise from top, the two de­light­ful cot­tage-style gar­dens to the front — there is also a pa­tio and large lawn gar­den at the rear; the en­trance porch with a half door; one of the bath­rooms, the charm­ing mu­sic room with its baby grand that has been in Ro­nan’s fam­ily for 110 years; one of the three spa­cious dou­ble bed­rooms

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