Eyebrows will be raised

EYEBROWS will be raised at Waterford’s St James Wood development: the only reason these house aren’t unique is because there’s fifteen of them, each with distinctive arched eyebrow windows front and back.

The tall, thatched houses tap into the local thatching tradition, but go bigger and higher in the very sense, with Aga cookers for the quintessential country lifestyle and comfort taken for granted.

With hand-picked materials used and skilfully crafted, they reflect the country’s current affluence, and seek after some of it too, with sales prices starting from €820,000.

The development of 1,800/1,900 sq ft four-bed thatched homes, taken as group, is probably unique in Britain or Ireland for design and quality, says developer Pat McCoy.

Size, scale and finish mark this Stradbally scheme out as different, and from the back there certainly is a novel, and eye-catching feature - Velux windows snuggled and flashed into the Turkish water reed. They take a bit of getting used at first from the outside, but the upside is the way they drench the upstairs rooms with light.

Pat McCoy left the leafy south Dublin suburbs where he normally builds to give two and a half years to this project in scenic Stradbally. It is a picturesque, flower-decked West Waterford coastal village with coves, cliffs and the River Tay on its doorstep wending its way through ancient forest to the sea through Stradbally Cove.

The joint selling agents for the development, Harty & Co and Sherry FitzGerald Reynolds in Dungarvan, reckon buyers will come from Dublin, overseas and more locally to buy into the scheme where every detail has been considered, down to the granite sills. They reckon that even if some buyers purchase for holiday home use, there will be a year-round community formed in the well-serviced heritage village.

The houses are traditionally built, with timber windows by Rationel and matching eyebrow dormer windows under the thatch, each house has a colour variation on the warm terracotta and buttermilk spectrum, and the interior are equally warm but also high-spec with lots of wood used: simple days under an Irish thatch have never been so comfortable.

Waterford city is over half an hour away, and Cork city and airport is about an hour distant: the sales brochure says 45 minutes, but that’s by fast car, at the crack of dawn (you certainly won’t do it by horse and trap, even if it wouldn’t look too out of place by the trellised front doors and slate or clay tiled porches).

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