‘Remote working is creating possibilities… this is a game-changer for rural Ireland’
Framed newspaper pages on the wall of his office confirm that the milestone has indeed been reached. It’s been the proverbial ‘quick 20 years’. Time flies and all that. And it’s been an exciting journey, navigated through both choppy and calm waters.
Seamus Carthy, a well-known community figure in Roscommon, is celebrating 20 years in the auctioneering business this week. On the 3rd of August 2001, Seamus opened his first premises, in Castlerea. The framed newspaper pages are a permanent record of that entrepreneurial leap. 20 years on, the company – now REA Seamus Carthy – is now established as one of the leading auctioneers, estate agency & valuation practices in the region.
“Now people are out walking, jogging, cycling…there’s activity and momentum. It’s inspiring”
Reminiscing this week about those early steps, Seamus recalled approaching Gretta Reilly, then owner of two adjoining shop units in Castlerea. Seamus, who had already gained valuable experience working with Harrington Bannon in Dublin, transformed one of Gretta’s units into a state-of-the-art office. Carthy Auctioneers was up and running. (While Seamus grew up in Roscommon town, the Carthy family always had an affinity with Castlerea. His father, also Seamus, is a Kilmurray native; his mother, Kathleen, hails from Tubbercurry).
The new auctioneer received great support in Castlerea, a relationship that continues to flourish to this day. “We grew up in the days when Castlerea was referred to as ‘the crossroads of Connacht’” Seamus says now.
By late 2014, it was clear that the time had come to expand. Seamus – who had aligned with REA in 2005 – opened an office in Roscommon Town in January 2015.
“From a practical point of view, it made sense” he reflected this week. “I was married (to Maeve) and living in Roscommon, so by moving the office here I was better placed to juggle the demands of family life and children with the pressures of work.
“A second reason (for the move) was the economic aspect…Roscommon Town was thriving and there was strong demand for houses”.
REA Carthy moved to its present location at Goff Street in May 2019. It’s a spacious, modern and central base, placing the company in the heart of the county town. Rebecca Finnerty & Company (Solicitors) is a valued ‘neighbour’ in the upstairs outlet.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which created shockwaves for the economy and for society generally, has – ironically – begun to deliver huge dividends for rural Ireland. This is indisputable.
Seamus Carthy: “Clearly the pandemic has taken a huge human toll in terms of people’s health, and has also impacted on family incomes. We are very, very conscious of that.
“There has been a big negative side to this pandemic, but towns like Roscommon have flourished. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, people are now returning to Roscommon in big numbers. In lots of instances, couples who have two good jobs and who have links here are now returning to live in Roscommon. They are coming here for our quality of life, and because of the cost of living (relative to cities and other locations)”.
Many of these people, he says, are making enquiries “in the upper end of the market”, with some homes in the county town selling for €400k-500k.
The second boost has been provided by people who don’t necessarily have family links to Roscommon.
“The world has suddenly got smaller…we see a lot of people now moving to Roscommon for our quality of life. They are coming here to raise their children…they appreciate the value for money (in purchasing here) and the fantastic facilities in the town, ranging from schools to our parks, our sporting facilities and our roads’ network”.
He sees an opportunity now to “balance the country”. Where previously development in rural towns and villages was largely driven by incentives and related schemes, now there’s a natural rebalancing underway. It’s exciting.
“Just driving around the county, you see it. A while back, if you were in some remote areas, there was little sign of life. Now people are out walking, jogging, cycling…there’s activity and momentum. It’s inspiring”.
As the country continues the process of emerging from the pandemic, Seamus (46) is looking forward to the future with confidence. He says demand for land sales is extremely high, as is demand for house purchases and in the rental market.
Seamus: “The 20 years have flown by. There were challenges along the way, but we’re delighted to have reached this milestone. I want to thank everyone – from my family and staff to our loyal clients – for helping to make this possible.
“I’m passionate and excited about the future for Co. Roscommon. Remote working is creating endless possibilities. This is a game-changer for rural Ireland”.
*As REA Seamus Carthy celebrates 20 years in business, watch out for some exciting anniversary offers/specials on their social platforms. There will be vouchers/giveaways…both as a ‘thank you’ to the public and by way of supporting local SMEs.