(IRISH INDEPENDENT, February 19th, 2016)
Ballyell House just keeps on giving with its main dwelling, cottage and a garage with planning permission.
Wexford and the sunny south east has long been popular with well-heeled southside Dubliners or landlubbers from nearby Kilkenny and Carlow – the kind of people who frequent the upmarket Kelly’s Resort and Spa on Rosslare Strand after a day on one of the many white sandy beaches, a spot of sailing, or golf on the testing Rosslare links course. Before cheap air travel opened up the resorts of Spain, the Wexford coast was where Dublin families fled for summers in the decades up to the 1980s. Today, they come here for weekends out.
The fishing village of Tagoat, between Rosslare Strand and Rosslare Harbour, and three miles from both, is where you will find Ballyell House.
Ballyell House is an unusual property, with the main house added on in 2004 to an original solid stone Parnell cottage built in 1906. The original cottage was built under the Labourers (Ireland) Act of 1883, instigated by Parnell’s Irish Party, which became the foundation stone of the rural housing code in Ireland. Between 1883 and 1920, some 42,000 cottages were built under the Act.
The two-bedroom 800 sq ft cottage itself has been gutted, rewired, replumbed and modernised.
There is also a 525 sq ft garage with commercial planning permission, with plumbing and electricity, at the rear of the property, which could generate extra income for the new owner.
The cottage has a shower room extension, reception room and newly-fitted kitchen, and a south-facing conservatory.
The entire property now covers 4,000 sq ft, and stands on .675 acres.
The layout of the large, three-bedroom main house is mostly open plan downstairs. It is joined to the cottage by a solid wood walkway at first floor level.
The cottage is still self contained but with access also from the main house. Today it is occupied by a tenant, who also maintains the premises and, as the owners point out, ensures a year-round presence, as well as possible further extra income for the new owners. This means you can have your holiday home for weekends, earn an income from it and have someone on site to watch it when you’re not there during the rest of the week.
There is a large games room which leads to the lounge/sun room/dining room/kitchen area. A huge fireplace acts as an eye-catching centre piece.
The asking price is €225,000 and the agent is Menapia Properties (053 917 6321).
The property is situated on the Carne Beach Road, one mile off the N25, and adjacent to the coast at Carnsore and Our Lady’s Island lake, a pilgrimage site but also a renowned sedimentary lagoon where birdwatchers can spot breeding Terns and Black-headed Gulls.
Rosslare Strand, one of many beaches in the immediate vicinity, is five minutes’ drive away. Wexford town is 10 minutes’ drive, while Dublin is one hour and 40 minutes away by car. The journey will be even shorter when the Enniscorthy bypass is completed.
Rosslare Harbour will cover most of one’s shopping needs as it has a shopping centre, a SuperValu, Lloyds pharmacy, McGuires hardware and builders providers, JD Sports and Carraig Donn, and St Patrick’s church and a post office.
Rosslare Harbour has a train station and, of course, the ferry service to Cherbourg in France, and Pembroke and Fishguard in Wales.
Things to do
There really is loads to do in the area. There’s Johnstown Castle, with its beautiful gardens, in nearby Murrintown, also home to the Irish Agricultural Museum with its large collection of lovingly restored tractors, carts, ploughs, threshing machines and dairy equipment.
At Irish National Heritage Park on the Slaney in Ferrycarrig, three miles from Wexford town, you will find an interesting recreation of ancient Irish homesteads, places of ritual and burial sites.
Kids – of all ages – will love a go in the park’s little round Coracle boats, made to the original ancient design, except out of fibreglass and not animal skins.
The Big Dig is the biggest simulated excavations in Ireland and one of the biggest in Europe. Five separate ‘cuttings’ conceal full-scale archaeological features and finds spanning 8,000 years of our past.
Wexford town is, of course, home of the National Opera House and every autumn opera buffs and those who just love the buzz of it all hit the sunny south east for the renowned Wexford Festival Opera.
Sailing Ireland, based at Kilmore Quay, offers courses and facilities for everyone from the seasoned sailor to the complete beginner. Many of its courses take place around the Saltee Islands off the coast between Carnsore Point and the Hook Peninsula.
The Saltees are a haven for sea birds from Gannets and Gulls to Puffins and Manx Shearwaters.
Steeped in a maritime history, Kilmore Quay, with its quaint thatched cottages, is a hive of activity, especially in the summer.
Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa, right on Rosslare’s Blue Flag beachfront, has been run by the same family for five generations, and has been described by the Sunday Independent as “a jewel in the crown in Irish tourism”. Here, the kids can do everything from archery and crazy golf while their parents can attend cookery demonstrations, do a bit of ballroom dancing or dine in the La Marine bistro.
As well as the Rosslare links golf course, there is also St Helen’s on the coast overlooking Tuskar Rock Lighthouse, designed by former Ryder Cup player Philip Walton.
Rosslare Watersports Centre on the Strand offers group and individual lessons in windsurfing, kayaking and sailing.
The Rosslare Community & Sports Centre on the Strand has everything from a bowling green and tennis courts to an indoor sports hall, all-weather pitch and a running track. The centre also hosts a GAA Cul Camp and the FAI’s hugely popular summer camp.
Colm Murphy’s Wigeon’s Rest, in The Burrow, on Rosslare Back Strand, is a haven for sea fishing enthusiasts. As well as providing tackle, bait, lures, rods and rigs, Colm’s local knowledge is very useful.
Eat and drink
The Lobster Pot, at Ballyfane, near Carnesore Point, is an atmospheric old wood-style seafood pub and restaurant. The Dover Sole and seafood chowder are outstanding, as befits Georgina Campbell’s 2009 winner of Seafood Bar Of The Year.
Kilmore Quay is great for seafood landed locally, which ends up in quality places like Mary Barry’s Bar and the Silver Fox Seafood Restaurant. Here, the special of John Dory, Halibut and Turbot is superb.
Tides Gastro Pub, on Strand Road in Rosslare, run by Irish international footballer Stephen Hunt, has been very positively reviewed on TripAdvisor.
Posh Dubs from south Dublin, who like to kick back and eat well, and many of whom have holiday homes here. It is also Kilkenny- and Carlow-on-sea.
What’s not to like
The nearest pub to Ballyell House is Cushens in nearby Grahormack, so you will have to take a fairly long walk, or call a taxi. It’s got a great pint when you get there, though.
Rosslare Harbour, Tagoat, Co Wexford
Menapia Properties (053 917 6321)