The world that awaits you.

Increased demand expected for country homes post-corona.

The world that awaits you

Photo: longing for home

Working from home in your little suburban flat where you couldn’t swing a cat may have been the norm for young urbanites during corona times. But corona is going to lose. And already these beleaguered owners and ripped-off tenants, dressed only in their dark monochromatic onesies, are sharpening their wits and preparing for an assault on the traditional housing market in a post-corona onslaught. This time they are going to win. And, of course, the country owners with spacious properties are no fools: they’re already polishing the pig.

A sense of place

The Tuam area is rich in such properties and can expect a market boost before the Autumn and it just might set in earlier. Auctioneering company Sherry-Fitzgerald picked out a local millennial property worth watching out for that will be testing the waters and announcing its selling price over the coming days. Michael Mannion from their Tuam office chose a home near where the three western counties meet. “The property market is salready revving up. Go to Cloondalgan if you want to see a property that has everything the new home-workers are looking for – excellent internet, a home office convertible, a hectare of agricultural land, a huge shed, even a little sun-room outside.” I’ll take a quick look at the property Michael recommends because it is my house but I’ll focus on place because what lies at the heart of this new trend of urban escapism is more than mercenary. It is this sense of place, this newly awakened longing for home, this redefining of home that is persuading people to seek out the way of the snipe and the sweet blackbird and the runaway rabbits that delight the evening callers.

“Go to Cloondalgan if you want to see a property that has everything the new home-workers are looking for. “ Michael Mannion

Photo: out of doors

Cloondalgan country, nicely nestled in an off-road between Garrafrauns and Cloonfad, leads on to nowhere and doesn’t often come up with for sale signs. And when it does, it doesn’t break the bank. There’s only a handful of country cottages there, each one with open views and within a stone’s throw of the bog walk with its incredibly rare crimson-yellow grasses and foliage. In the old days, the local librarian Linda Morris points out, this area was covered with a large oak forest. The trees eventually got cut down. But the name Darragh - meaning oak tree – is still common here.

Photo: white light


The cottage that’s coming up for sale soon isn’t just a cottage. It is cradled in a hectare of grassland currently mowed to measure by the cheeky donkeys and the once - famous retired racehorse Washington Lad. Now if you’re looking for a nicely trimmed town garden and plenty of tarmac, you’re on the wrong page. Unless you could learn to love the wild honeysuckle bushes – now on the brink of full bloom - that thrive along the property border. Or the abundance of brambling blackberries that ramble round the centuries-old stone walls while waiting for that mixture of heavy rain and sun that will soften their hard-core harmony into September.

Photo: wild honeysucle brings an evening incense to Cloondalgan Cottage

Or you might grow to love the pine, the ash or the whins. The three - bedroomed hideaway, designed with a spartan efficiency, has windows that open onto the rising morning mists. The invaluable and unimposing front wall, made by the Cloondalgan stone artist, is poised like a custodian along the briary way.

If you lived here

The people who live in Cloondalgan know the changing face of the landscape. If you lived here, in time you’d come to know its mornings and its evenings, the shimmering mists and the shining sunsets, the whiter than white hawthorn. You’d learn to greet the pinks and purples of the smallest meadow flower, and the flaming fuchsia and the bitter blackthorn. You’d find rest in the blues and asphodel orange of an evening sky in Autumn. Thrown in for good measure with the little cottage, is a large, slatted shed once used for farming but now serving as a huge, roofed outdoor recreation space. The house itself is well-kept and turnkey.

Photo: a new place to call home

Washington lad

Washington Lad, the pride of the Cloondalgan people, who once shone like a meteor on the home straits at Fairyhouse and on many another racecourse, lives now off the land around this bungalow but, like the donkeys, is not included in the sale. The locals know that for the illustrious Washington Lad, his real story began just where everyone thinks it ended. It was a grey day in July 2010 – I think it was in Cheltenham - when the revered racehorse fell. He knew he’d never race again. The vet wanted to put him down. What happened after that? Talk to your new neighbours and see what happens when the vet points his gun at the horse’s head and prepares to shoot….

To call home

Cloondalgan is a place of stories, of her and his stories, of old deprivations and new privileges, of folks who leave their back doors on the latch. A new place to call home. If you are no longer at ease, if you feel inclined, go to a place like Cloondalgan and home in on the world that awaits you:

“Awaken your spirit to adventure; Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk; Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”

(John O Donohue)

Photo: colours of Cloondalgan

Text: Phil Coleman.

Photography Cloondalgan Cottage: Andrea Silke -

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