Sherry FitzGerald O’Meara – Country Living: A Fresh Look at The Country

May 21, 2021
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Exploring the Great Move to the Irish Countryside, we take a fresh look at what’s going on outside the city limits. As the new Rural Plan champions better broadband and remote working, there are plenty of places where you really can have it all. We’ve selected some spots to get you thinking.

We’ll be picking more regional hot spots over the coming weeks, so let us know if there’s anywhere you’d like us to look into.

Rural Living Tips

  • Look up the Neighbourfood Network for your weekly online shop of the pick of local artisan produce near you.
  • Find a festival. From food to the arts, heritage to sports, festivals are not only great fun, but they’re also a brilliant introduction to the local community – and you’ll find the team are always delighted to meet new volunteers.
  • Join the club. Tennis, GAA, walking, golf, sailing, bird watching and more… Another good way to connect with your new neighbours, and have fun in the process.

County Waterford: Lismore and Cappoquin

On the banks of the Blackwater, Lismore and Cappoquin are less than an hour from Cork and Waterford Cities, and just twenty minutes from Dungarvan. These pretty villages are peaceful spots, where you have your pick of properties from astonishing Great Houses (the houses of the Blackwater Valley are famous) to charming cottages, to remarkably affordable fixer-uppers on the village streets.

Foodie Heaven: Lismore is home to the luxury Lismore Food Company, based at the Summer House Café. In Cappoquin, Barron’s Bakery is known for their Waterford Blaa, and is a great spot for fresh bread. The region is celebrated in the annual West Waterford Festival of Food, where dinners are hosted in some of the gorgeous houses, and at Lismore Castle.

Culture Vultures: Lismore Castle is a focal point for the arts. Find a lovely craft centre at the Market House in Cappoquin. The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival stages outdoor opera, and recitals in the beautiful houses, who also open their gardens for the occasion. Towers and Tales is an annual story festival for children, while Immrama celebrates travel writing.

How’s that for a small town?

County Carlow: Carlow Town and Around

Just an hour from Dublin, and half an hour from Kilkenny City, Carlow Town and its surrounds make a good base with plenty to offer. County Carlow is famous for its gardens with the garden trail including Altamont, Huntington Castle and the Delta Sensory Gardens designed along therapeutic lines. All these provide a clue to the richness of the lands, so if you’re feeling green-fingered, Carlow could well be the spot for you.

Catch Some Culture: Would it surprise you to discover that Carlow has the largest art space in Ireland? Visual has cutting edge exhibitions, a great kids’ programme, plus a theatre. The Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas brings brilliant writers from around the world. If you love history, you’re in a good spot, exploring the likes of Ducketts Grove, which has an award winning tearooms. Looking to the future, the Carlow Institute of Technology is one of the largest technology colleges in Ireland.

Co Mayo: Westport

Often topping lists of Most Picturesque Small Town in Ireland, Westport has direct rail connections to Dublin. One of Ireland’s first planned towns, it was developed by the Georgians as a nice place to go on holidays – so expect gracious architecture and beautiful vistas at every turn.

On Your Doorstep: pick Westport for a lovely outdoor life. At the tip of Clew Bay, with wonderful sandy beaches, and overlooked by Croagh Patrick, there are wonderful walks in abundance. Add the Achill Greenway – with 42km of walking and cycling all the way out West and you’re completely spoiled for choice. Westport House is a lovely family day out, and the kids will love the Pirate Adventure Park.

Westport Connections: make Westport your home for handy access to Castlebar (20 minutes away), or drop down into Connemara via gorgeous Leenaun. Or do a Zero Commute – Allergan, the town’s largest employer last year opened a €160 million expansion at its Westport base.

Co Clare: Ennis

On the banks of the River Fergus, and a very convenient hop to Shannon Airport, Ennis is another charming spot with excellent connections. It also lays claim to greatness – as birthplace of Muhammad Ali’s great grandfather. Ali was so delighted with the idea, the famous boxer visited and unveiled a statue – of himself, of course.

Music Makers: Ennis is celebrated as a home to traditional music. The Glór centre hosts concerts and theatre throughout the year. The pubs are lively, but Ennis is also a great place for kids, with the Burren and beaches on your doorstep. The Fleadh Nua brings ten days of music to town in May, with a Trad Festival in November.

Better Connected: As Ireland’s first (and only!) Information Age Town, Ennis benefitted from a multi million Government investment in the late 1990s. This put Ennis ahead of the rest of the country in terms of computer labs in schools, and high speed internet connections. Back in the physical world, Ennis is well served by bus and rail connections, and is a quick run to both Limerick and Galway, via the M18 and N18.

Contact us today on 090 64 75500 to help you make the move.

Take Five: Five rural gems for sale right now.

31 Sli an Aifrinn, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, N37 WN70

Hillquarter, Coosan, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, N37 A3P8

1 Glenatore, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, N37 TD91

The Willow, Harbour Court, Lecarrow, Co. Roscommon

The Willows, Bullet Road, Ballykeeran, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, N37 V825