Aghowle Holiday Cottages are part of a converted farmyard in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. (Our website is aghowleholidaycottages.com - there's a link to it at the end of the facilities section below. We have a News page that we keep semi- up to date with what's happening here and locally.) The spacious Mews and contemporary Loft were built in the local granite and in use as farmyard buildings until recently. The Loft was a haybarn, and the Mews, which is a long single-storey building, was a turkey outhouse, a kennel and a mare foaling box. We converted the Mews gradually, as we needed an office, an extra bedroom.....until one summer we finished it properly as a real home, and I lived in it for two years. The Loft was converted a year or so later, when we realised the roof of the haybarn was not going to last another year, and the dog fell through the floor.. We made the decision, and in 2007 began the restoration, which took nearly two years. Now you walk from the farmyard through the original big wooden doors into 'a house within a house'. Double glazed internal doors invite you into a warm tiled airy landing with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and an open curved stairway. The stairs lead up to an open-plan living area, with a window that spans the gable end up to the roof, and through which sunlight pours to fill the Loft with brightness and warmth. The balcony outside is perfect for evening drinks while deer-spotting on Barnacashel Hill. There is ample space around the farmyard and gardens to walk and watch the sunset, and for children to play.
We live on the farm so, while both Mews and Loft are private, they are not isolated.
Oil-fired central heating and wood-burning stoves keep guests cosy in winter, and on any wet or cold days music centres or TV with satellite channels, or video, can offer distraction as you curl up on a couch with a fleece and watch the flames glow.
A riding-school, and a local country pub are within walking distance. The property is on the well-known walking route, the Wicklow Way. Tomnafinnogue Woods, an ancient oak forest with easy walks, is a ten-minute drive, as are other excellent walks around Tinahely.
Within an hour's drive one can get to Dublin, Glendalough (one of Ireland's most beautiful nature reserves) the medieval city of Kilkenny, or the coastal town of Wexford, famous for its international Wexford Opera Festival.
Mews: The surprising spaciousness of the Mews is often commented upon by clients, who expect it to be small from the photos. The kitchen/living room seats 3 comfortably for relaxing, and has a small table for dining. Some clients prefer to eat informally at the coffee table while they watch TV.
The large table in the summer room is perfect for spreading out, whether it's maps, jig-saw puzzles, laptops newspapers whatever. This is where some clients plan their days, while prefer to sit at it with their coffee in the mornings, looking out at the pastoral landscape - sometimes enlivened by sheep or cattle on the other side of the hedge demanding their own breakfast, and occasionally, a wild deer.
A comfortable sofa-bed in the summer-room gives people their own space and additional comfort - day and night.
Bookcases are stocked with books, games, cards etc, mostly in English though occasionally guests leave books in other languages.
Loft: The kitchen/living space of the Loft is modern, chic, and bright upstairs, while downstairs the 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms are entered via original old double doors from the yard. The whole building was extensively renovated in 2007 and had its first lets in 2011. The exterior has not been altered except for the introduction of a large gable end window upstairs, flooding the room with light and providing stunning views over the valley and hills of the surrounding countryside.
Internal doors are concealed inside the old wooden farm doors, and underfloor heating modern insulation combine to make it very warm, even in winter. A modern stove with a dramatic chimney splits the gable window with its silver column, and this stove is beautifully warm when lit.
The kitchen leads onto raised decking outside, with views over the gorse bank and up to where horses and sheep graze the hills above. Deer and fox are sometimes seen from here at sunset.
Long Lets. The Mews would be particularly suitable for people who need peace and quiet, such as writers. It's peacefulness is interrupted only by horses passing by, or the dogs lying outside the door.
Longer lets are available for writers/musicians who need tranquillity and privacy. Please apply to the owners.
The Crab Lane recording studio is within a mile.
All the gardens, except for the stables and fields where the horses graze, are available for clients' use. This includes around the house, vegetable gardens and shrubbery.
At time of writing there are 2 dogs on the property - the beloved Tara, who has featured on reviews and now alas is becoming older like the rest of us, and Pie, a little brown and white terrier pup. There is also a cat, a few horses, and a donkey. And, occasionally, us, your hosts, struggling for some control. Failing, of course, but hoping our guests enjoy their stay and depart refreshed.