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Sunday 11 December 2016

A real corker: €3.75m asking price for 195ac tillage enterprise

€3.75m is the asking price for this 195ac tillage enterprise in a majestic east Cork setting, reports Jim O'Brien

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

The farmyard and other outbuildings at Bilberry House, Midleton, Co Cork
The farmyard and other outbuildings at Bilberry House, Midleton, Co Cork
Bilberry House, Co Cork

I have reason to know and to appreciate east Cork. My secondary school years were spent locally in Castlemartyr in a school that is now a luxury hotel.

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Midleton was the nearest town and a kind of a reference point for us so when I saw a 195ac residential farm for sale on the outskirts of the town I couldn't resist the opportunity to go and have a look. I had more than a sneaking suspicion that the land would be good.

I rendezvoused with Claire O'Sullivan of Sherry FitzGerald O'Donovan at the distillery in Midleton and followed her out the Dungourney road and within five minutes we are driving up the short avenue to Bilberry, an charming and elegant 18th century house.

The ivy covered Georgian residence looks out over the fine fields that make up some of the tillage farm and over the town of Midleton.

The property is extensive and luxurious and includes a six bedroom house with an indoor heated swimming pool, a one bedroom mews, a two bedroom caretaker's flat, a two bedroom gate lodge and a coach house all in perfectly habitable condition.

There are extensive gardens with some lovely features, a 15-column round-roof shed, a range of traditional stables, a tack room and a feed room.

The house and lands are for sale by private treaty with a guide price of €3.75m.

Bilberry was built in the 1770s and bought by the current owners in 1959 who were domiciled abroad but spent about six months a year here.

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Claire O'Sullivan says the family is still farming the land, which is mainly in tillage with up to 160ac in barley, oats and arable silage, with about 27ac in forestry and the rest in gardens and sheds.

"In the 60s and 70s the place was well-known as a potato farm and supplied spuds to the Dublin market in copious amounts," explains Ms O'Sullivan.

"A lot of people from the locality remember picking, sorting and bagging potatoes on the farm."

The yard contains a wide range of buildings including a long, 15-column, enclosed round roof shed.

This was where the potatoes were handled before going to the fields as seed and when they came back from the fields to be sorted and bagged. It is a wonderful workspace with many potential uses.

Other buildings include seven old stables in great condition and a range of storage sheds included a lofted shed with a dry loft. The gardens at Bilberry are magnificent and very well maintained.

They include a shrub and flower garden to the front of the house, a gorgeous garden to the side of the house, a rose garden with fruit trees to the rear and a landscaped wooded area a little way from the house complete with a waterfall and a gazebo.

The land is powerful. In the main it is elevated, sloping, free-draining ground planted to the ditch with rich crops of arable silage, spring barley and spring oats.

Forestry

The farm is serviced by an old roadway giving access to all the fields and is divided by a local road with 60ac at one side and 135ac at the other giving plenty of road frontage.

The 27ac of forestry are in ash while fine stands of trees interspersed throughout the land and hedgerows give plenty of shelter.

Ms O'Sullivan explains that the property is for sale as an entire with no divisions.

"It is a working farm with entitlements and farm payments and there is much interest both among locals and from further afield," she said.

Undoubtedly, Bilberry is a fine ready-to-go tillage farm and with some investment could be converted for livestock or dairy.

The house is in good condition and while it could do with some modernisation there is plenty of alternative accommodation on the property in which a family could reside while this is being done.

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