Dreaming of buying a house in Ireland? Give @CheapIrishHouses a follow.

Cheap Irish Houses is the perfect Instagram account for anyone doing some Irish house-hunting, or for people who (like me) like to scroll while daydreaming about packing your bags and heading for Ireland.

After seeing the @CheapIrishHouses account being shared on my personal Instagram feed, I reached out to the account's owner to chat. I quickly heard back from Irish woman Maggie Molloy who filled me in on the ins-and-outs of the newly-viral account and what it means to her.

How did you come up with the idea for @CheapIrishHouses?

“I’ve always had a love of old houses. A lot of it probably comes from being raised in one. There is so much history contained in their walls. Generations of children have laughed and played on their dirt floors, and you can almost feel the warmth of the stories that have echoed around their big open hearths. Every time I see the remnants of elegant roses peeping out under wild hedgerows it sets me back a step because I know there was once a little garden under there, and that that garden was some woman’s pride and joy, just as the house was. From its little shards of floral wallpaper clinging to the insides of dresser drawers, to the brightly painted windows that were layered with different colours every year.”

“As children, we spent summers in a cottage belonging to our Aunty Betty and even though our own house was old, this was like something from another time! The property she lived in wasn’t even mentioned on the estate agents listing when they went looking for a shed to use as a workshop. It was deemed as more of a hindrance than a selling point. Something that was in the way at the bottom of the plot. But as a brave young couple, they saw the potential in it and with a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old in tow, they moved straight in."

"It was such a sensible decision that seemed obvious to them as buyers, but to everyone else, it was just a bit unusual. I think growing up in our own house and spending summers in that cottage made me see that you really don’t need to be living in a big shiny new house to have a happy home.”

“When it came time for me to purchase a house of my own, saving an old cottage was really a no-brainer. No new build was ever going to resonate with me the way an old house would, and the thought that I could prevent just one family’s pride and joy from being lost to time was something that really appealed to me. To be the reason laughter once again lilted through quiet forgotten rooms, or to know that it was because of me that little bare feet would be heard running across the flagstones again would be something to be proud of right?”

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Coragh, Belturbet, Co. Cavan. €40,000. We’re on a bit of a roll this week with bargain properties & this one is no exception! Sitting on a huge 2.5 acres this cottage has 2 bedrooms,1 bathroom & by the looks of things its been lived in up to quite recently. There’s a link to google street view on the original agents listing page & hopping back in time to 2010 shows what this cottage looked like when it was still someones home. Manicured box hedging lines the boundaries & everything looks so tidy & well cared for. These pics really show what only a little hedge clipping could achieve. Looking at the pics there also seems to be an adorable little roadside shed included with the property & its all only one field away from Corrabach Lough. Perfection really! As always, the original sellers listing is linked up in the bio. #belturbet #cavan #ireland_gram #irelandinspires #irishlandscape #irelandaily #ireland #thisisireland #ireland_gram #visitireland #irishcottage #expat #irishproperty #geneology #irishrealty #irishrealestate #cheapirishhouses #under50k #cottage #cottagelife #irishcentral #irishamerican #retiretoireland

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Is @CheapIrishHouses a passion project, your job, or both?

“I suppose it’s a little bit of both. It will always be a passion project of mine but it also pays its own way. Initially, I would daydream in front of my computer about saving another cottage before it was bulldozed and replaced with a new build, and I thought maybe other people might like to see these bargains I keep finding.”

“I knew I didn’t have the money to save any of them myself, so maybe showing them to the world might give some of these cottages a better chance. I would post one find per day on Instagram, but in reality, I was discarding hundreds of other totally save-able houses each week. It’s these houses that now make up my ‘Property Digest’ newsletter. The best properties each week are posted on my feed and everything else noteworthy that I find is gathered up and sent out in the newsletter on a Wednesday night. People pay a €5 subscription per month to cover the cost of the newsletter, and the rest of the work is done in my spare time.”

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Manorcunningham, Co. Donegal. €65,000. This 3 bedroom cottage is like a little mid century time capsule. From the carpets to the wallpaper to the bathroom it has such a quirky vibe! Although the decor may not be to everyones taste, there’s no denying the great condition the interior is in & dont get me started on that curb appeal! As always, the original sellers listing is linked up in the bio. #manorcunningham #donegal #ireland_gram #irelandinspires #irishlandscape #irelandaily #ireland #thisisireland #ireland_gram #visitireland #irishcottage #expat #irishproperty #geneology #irishrealty #irishrealestate #cheapirishhouses #under100k #cottage #cottagelife #irishcentral #irishamerican #retiretoireland #renovation

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Have you ever bought / owned your own "cheap Irish house"?

“Yes, I am the very proud owner of a 200-year-old whitewashed farmhouse in north Tipperary. It sits on a quiet country lane, with grass growing down the middle of the road, surrounded by forestry on both sides, with a little stream running through the garden. I have 9 outbuildings and a full acre of gardens to keep myself occupied. I bought it for €80,000 back in 2004. It was completely derelict when I found it and I have been doing it up slowly since then.”

“I am so blown away by how many houses under €50k I find for sale nowadays, and a lot of them are in much better condition than mine was. I had no windows, no front door, no electricity, and the whole house had been stripped of every fixture and fitting before I saw it. A huge private tree-lined boundary had been cleared by the owner because he was told it would entice more buyers and if not for the fact that I accidentally bumped into him at my first viewing he would have cleared every other tree on the property to try to accommodate getting a sale. So when I say I started with a shell of a house, I genuinely mean it.”

“Some of the houses I find on my feed come fully furnished, there was even one that came complete with a bright blue original Irish Dresser! Imagine that! I would have bought the cottage for that dresser alone!”

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Garrafrauns, Tuam, Co. Galway €35,000. How adorable is this! Located in Co. Galway this traditional farm house consists of 2 bedrooms & 1 bath. It sits on 1 acre & can i say kudos to the listing agent APP Kirrane Auctioneering for actually taking the time to step foot inside the house and get some pics. 16 to be precise! So hop on up to the bio for a link to the original listing and the rest of the photos! #tuam #galway #ireland_gram #irelandinspires #irishlandscape #irelandaily #ireland #thisisireland #ireland_gram #visitireland #irishcottage #expat #irishproperty #geneology #irishrealty #irishrealestate #cheapirishhouses #under50k #cottage #cottagelife #irishcentral #irishamerican #retiretoireland #appkirrane

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Do you or did you ever work in real estate in Ireland?

“No, I’ve never worked in real estate in Ireland. I am an illustrator with a love for old houses, that’s all. The only experience I have comes from being a buyer with a very small budget and, of course, being an owner of my own cheap Irish house.”

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Keshcarrigan, Co. Leitrim. €35,000. This beauty has been on my list for a little while, so I’m delighted to get to post it for you all today. Sitting on a 0.6 acre site in the most beautiful setting, this cottage is just crying out for a little love. The quiet country lane and views alone are worth the price tag. And when you add to that the fact that its situated within walking distance of Keshcarrigan lake & has its group water scheme connection already paid, it really has a LOT of potential. As always, a link to the full original listing is up in the bio. #keshcarrigan #leitrim #ireland_gram #irelandinspires #irishlandscape #irelandaily #ireland #thisisireland #ireland_gram #visitireland #irishcottage #expat #irishproperty #geneology #irishrealty #irishrealestate #cheapirishhouses #under50k #cottage #cottagelife #irishcentral #irishamerican #retiretoireland #gordonhughes @gordonhughes1

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What, if anything, are the qualifications for a house to be included on your feed?

“The only stipulations I have when choosing houses for the feed is that they cost under €100k and that they are good value. You can have cheap houses that are bad investments and you can have ones that have unlimited potential, so it’s really about weeding through hundreds of listings to find the diamonds in the rough.”

“Houses with large parcels of land aren’t always obvious from an estate agents listing page, sea or lake views can be hidden completely in the photos, and original features go unnoticed because no interior shots are added by sellers. A little research can root out these selling points and these are the things my followers love!”

What has the response to the account been like? 

“The response to the Instagram account has been overwhelmingly positive. From Irish Americans dreaming of returning home, to young house-hunters in Ireland finally realizing there is hope for them to own a property in their lifetime. It has been truly mindblowing. These little cottages and farms are a huge part of our history and the response I’m getting from my followers is that I’m not the only buyer out there willing to save one.”

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Gaigue, Ballinamuck, Co Longford. €49,000. This cottage sits on c2.3 acres of land approx 7km from the village of Drumlish. Along with the main residence there is also a 2 bay hayshed & 2 other outbuildings on the property. I love that the estate agent took the time to step inside the house and take some photos for this listing. As someone who found my own cottage from an online listing, its so helpful to see the inside of a house before you organise a viewing trip. Especially when you’re driving over 100 miles to the viewing. The type of people who want to live in a 200 year old house know what to expect, so dont worry you won’t scare us off! As always, a link to the full original listing is up in the bio. #ballinamuck #longford #ireland_gram #irelandinspires #irishlandscape #irelandaily #ireland #thisisireland #ireland_gram #visitireland #irishcottage #expat #irishproperty #geneology #irishrealty #irishrealestate #cheapirishhouses #under50k #cottage #cottagelife #irishcentral #irishamerican #retiretoireland #daltonauctioneering

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What's your favorite house that you've come across so far? 

“My favorite so far would have to be the lighthouse keepers cottages on Ratlin O’Birne Island off the coast of Donegal. They weren’t my cheapest find ever at €75,000, but what you were getting for the price was out of this world.”

“Firstly you got 7 acres of land on top of a grassy sea stack that was connected to an island by a sheltered walkway across a sea arch. On that 7 acres were two stone lightkeepers cottages, plus a third stone outbuilding that also looked very cottage-like in its structure. There was an immaculately maintained lighthouse on the sea stack, just in front of the cottages, that was not included in the sale, because it was still used by Irish Lights, but for €75k that was to be expected. Overall it was a dream property that had a lot of my followers, myself included, dreaming of running away to Donegal to live on a sea stack.”

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Rathlin O'Birne Island, Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal. €75,000 Although close to the upper end of the price range i normally feature here on Cheap Irish Houses, this property really has to be seen to be believed! The listing is for part of Rathlin O’Birne Island, situated in Donegal Bay. The property covers 7 acres of grassy headland that is connected to the main island by a sheltered walkway across a sea arch no less! The walkway is sheltered on both sides by stone walls that stretch across the island to the small shoreline landing area. On the fantastic sea stack you could potentially call home, there sits a lighthouse (not included in sale), 2 light keepers cottages & a third stone building to the west of the cottages. The lighthouse, although not included in the listing is remotely controlled and kept in lovely condition, so the only thing you need to share your 7 acres with is the odd Irish Lights helicopter coming in to maintain the lighthouse. Sounds pretty good to me! As always, the original listing is linked up in the bio along with lots more pics. #donegal #buyanisland #lighthouse #ireland_gram #irelandinspires #irishlandscape #irelandaily #ireland #thisisireland #ireland_gram #visitireland #irishcottage #expat #irishproperty #geneology #irishrealty #irishrealestate #cheapirishhouses #under100k #cottage #cottagelife #irishcentral #irishamerican #retiretoireland

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You can learn more about Cheap Irish Houses on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Where in Ireland do you dream of moving to? Let us know in the comments!

* Originally published in Aug 2019.