As the threat posed by Covid-19 recedes and we regain some semblance of the normality we knew prior to the pandemic, it’s clear that our lives may have changed for good.
Certainly, the most significant shift for many of us will be the way we work and where we do it.
While for some that may still involve a full-time return to the pre-pandemic workplace, for others it could be a case of working from home permanently. However, the majority of office workers are likely to look for the elusive balance promised by the hybrid model, with their working week divided between days at the employer’s base and days at home.
With that in prospect, and with no sign yet of a softening in house prices in Dublin, the capital’s commuter counties continue to benefit from buyers shopping the length and breadth of the eastern coast to get the best bang for their budget.
These counties offer a greater range of housing stock but there are other aspects for buyers to factor in. Parents of young families want their children to benefit from greater interaction with grandparents. Fans of the outdoors want ease of access to hiking and walking trails, surfing, sea swimming and many other activities. Homes outside the capital often offer more space with land or large gardens where you could try growing your own fruit and vegetables or keep ponies or llamas, whichever catches your fancy.
But two key considerations remain; access to good public transport links to Dublin and high-speed internet connectivity. On National Broadband Ireland, nbi.ie, you can use a property’s Eircode to check whether an address is going to be included in the national broadband plan. Most internet providers also offer a similar broadband checking service. However, the actual connectivity at the property may differ. A far more incisive way to determine what options may be available is to ask the local broadband installer about connectivity levels.
1. Co Louth
Address: Brooklyn House, Brook Street, Ardee Road, Dundalk A91 C7X4
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Carroll
Data: Fibre broadband
Journey time to Dublin city centre: A seven-minute walk to Clarke train station with a travel time of about 65 minutes to Connolly
The owner of this handsome house has been ahead of the hybrid working curve. She works from home several days a week in this period property designed by William Hemmingway, civil engineer and architect who worked with the Great Northern Railway of Ireland.
The property is one of a wide range of stock styles in the county town where selling agent Lesley Erskine says she’s seen a 25per cent increase in buyers looking to relocate out of Dublin. The property has many talking points from high ceilings, coving, bow windows and even a bar. The double-fronted house has a dual-aspect drawingroom, separate kitchen as well as storage sheds and a large, northwest-facing garden. Ber exempt, it extends to to 204sq m (2,196sq ft). The fireplaces in its four bedrooms, the fourth currently used as a dressingroom cum office, were made in Manistie’s iron foundry, which also made supports for the railway.
2. Co Cavan
Address: Carrakeelty Beg, Virginia, A82 X381
Agent: SherryFitzGerald Geraldine O’Reilly
Data: Fibre broadband
Journey time to Dublin city centre: A 65-minute drive
Located less than 1km from the M3, this four-bedroom detached bungalow is set on more than 1.8 acres of lawn and has a detached garage of 34sq m. It has an impressive B3 Ber and extends to 156sq m (1,679sq ft). Despite its rural setting it is within homework-forgetting distance of Carraigabruise National School and is only 800m from two local shops and garages. It is also proximate to Dun na Rí forest park and to Cabra Castle hotel. The town of Virginia is about 5km, about a six-minute drive. One of the proposed routes for the Virginia bypass will run to the rear of the house, which would further reduce the drive time to Dublin to about 50 minutes but may increase the ambient noise.
3. Co Meath
Address: Aughamore, Kilmainhamwood, Co Meath A82 RW68
Agent: Keenan Auctioneers
Data: At present it’s a fixed-line connection but National Broadband Ireland is actively working to accelerate the rollout of high-speed broadband with the anticipated date for connection between January 2025 and December 2026.
Journey time to Dublin city centre: It’s a 75km drive but there are commuter buses from Kingscourt, where Sillan Coaches offers services as far as UCD in Dublin. Journey time to Blanchardstown is about 60 minutes. Bus Éireann also offers a service to Busáras.
North of Nobber and about 6km south of Kingscourt, in Co Cavan, where there is a large SuperValu and a new secondary school, this stone and brick-fronted double-gabled dormer home has four double bedrooms and extends to 176sq m (1,894sq ft). Set on almost three-quarters of an acre, the C1-rated property already has a home office or fifth bedroom and comes with its own well water. As with many country homes it has oil-fired central heating, which could be converted to become biofuel-compatible. It is 18km from Kells and 37km from Navan.
4. Co Kildare
Price: From €395,000
Agent: Joint agents Coonan New Homes and Hooke & MacDonald
Address: Whitethorn, Naas
Data: Wired for Cat 6 fibre option broadband
Journey time to Dublin city centre: An 11-minute drive from the new M7 junction and a similar distance drive or about a 15-minute cycle to Sallins/Naas.
South of Naas town centre is Whitethorn, a development of about 100 houses by Cairn Homes. Currently there is limited availability of three-bedroom terraced homes starting from €395,000 with another phase due to launch in the summer.
These spacious A2-rated homes, which extend from about 112sq m (1,206sq ft), have a home office and are set over two storeys.
Naas is a thriving town with plenty of schools and a slew of supermarkets as well as fashion-forward boutiques such as Kalu and Gallery 9, upscale restaurants such as Vie de Chateaux and neighbourhood eateries like Lawlor’s steakhouse and The Brown Bear. It also has a thriving thoroughbred, National Hunt and pony club scene.
5. Co Wicklow
Address: 601 Bridgewater, Arklow Y1 4H62
Journey time to Dublin city centre: It’s about a 10-minute walk to Arklow train station where the journey time to Dublin Connolly on the Rosslare train is 105 minutes. There’s also a slew of commuter buses serving the capital.
City slickers can enjoy the best of maritime, rural and urban worlds in this enormous duplex penthouse which overlooks the north bank of the Avoca river. The B3-rated house offers 360-degree views across the estuary to the Irish Sea, Arklow rock and Tara Hill. The duplex, which extends to 250sq m (2,691sq ft), has three bedrooms and four bathrooms as well as a further 40sq m across its two terraces. Two of the bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, while the third can enjoy full use of the family bathroom. The upper floor is open plan, with glazing on three sides.
6. Co Carlow
Address: 42 Riverside, R93 C7R8
Agent: Kehoe Auctioneers
Data: Fibre broadband
Journey time to Dublin: The train station is about a 10-minute walk, with a travel time to Dublin Heuston of 65 minutes.
This semi-detached affordable home is about a three-minute walk from the centre of town. In good condition, it has three bedrooms and a garage that extends to about 10sq m that could be converted into an office.
There’s also scope to extend above it. Built in the 1970s the hollow-block construction has a D2 Ber rating that will be relatively easy to upgrade in terms of insulation.
Extending to 106sq m (1,141sq ft) the layout has a sittingroom to the front with double doors through to a diningroom and another door leading to the kitchen. These two rooms could be opened up to give you a decent eat-in space. The back garden, which faces northeast, needs some TLC.
7. Co Kilkenny
Address: 86 Upper Patrick Street, Kilkenny city, R95 WKH5
Agent:Sherry FitzGerald McCreery
Data: Fibre broadband
Journey time to Dublin: It’s a 25-minute walk to the train station at MacDonagh Junction on the Dublin-Waterford line with a regular service of about 1 hour 35 minutes.
This three-bed, end-of-terrace house is bang in the middle of the city. It’s only a block away from Kilkenny Castle, its park and the river. The D1-rated house has a separate sittingroom and eat-in kitchen with two good size double bedrooms upstairs. The third is a single that could be used as a home office. It has two bathrooms: the one downstairs is a wet room and could also be used as a laundry room. The house has pedestrian side access and a block-built shed, currently home to the boiler.
8. Co Wexford
Address: Cuasnóg, St John’s Road, Y35 EH21
Agent: Kearney & Co
Data: Fibre broadband
Journey time to Dublin: Commute: It’s about a seven-minute walk to O’Hanrahan train station where the journey time to Connolly station ranges from 2 hours 20 mins to 2 hours 50 mins. Driving via the bypass is 1 hour 15 minutes to Sandyford Luas stop where many commuters park and ride.
This detached 1920s cottage, rated D2, has charming period detailing, and in addition to a garden on three sides that includes raised beds and a polytunnel, should you fancy growing your own, there is plenty of living space. Extending to 115 sq m (1,238sq ft) it includes three bedrooms, all of which have en suite bathrooms, and separate sittingroom and kitchen downstairs. There is another kitchen upstairs, which could become a home office, as well as a third bedroom, with views of the town roofscape and even a glimpse of the sea. It’s a short drive across the bridge to Curracloe nature reserve, one of the many splendid beaches in this corner of the sunny southeast.
9. Co Dublin
Price: From €360,000
Address: Castleland Park, Balbriggan
Agent: Knight Frank
Data: Fibre-optic broadband
Journey time to Dublin city centre: The commuter line station is a 15-minute walk where the journey time to Dublin Connolly ranges from about 30 to 40 minutes. The M1 is a five-minute drive.
Last season housebuilder Glenveagh started selling Castleland Park, a new homes scheme situated on the outskirts of this seaside town, off the plans. Comprising 102 semi-detached and detached houses, 50 per cent of the units are already sale agreed. Construction on the estate started last autumn with the first owners due to move in later this spring, according to selling agent Riona McCaughey. Some of the yet-to-be-released A-rat