Thursday 29 September 2016

A 'unique' farm in the Garden County

Jim O'Brien walks a holding that combines tillage, grazing and forestry on 125 acres of prime Wicklow land

Published 07/10/2015 | 02:30

Rathsallagh, Co Wicklow - 125 acres of prime land
Rathsallagh, Co Wicklow - 125 acres of prime land

The late summer weather has made it a great time for walking land. During the week I took myself to Co Wicklow to see a 125ac non-residential farm at Rathsallagh and Oldcourt between Dunlavin and Grangecon.

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The property includes tillage, grazing and forestry and comes to auction with a guide price of €850,000.

I meet auctioneer Paddy Jordan in Newbridge and the drive through Kilcullen and on to Dunlavin takes us through some of the most salubrious horse country in the world. We pass New Abbey Stud, the 520ac estate of Prince Khalid Abdullah and soon after we drive by the Aga Khan's properties at Sallymount Stud and Gilltown Stud extending to 800ac. As we pass an immaculate long dry stone wall Mr Jordan tells me that behind the wall lies Castlemartin, the once prized home of Tony O'Reilly and now owned by US billionaire, John Malone.

At Dunlavin we head for Grangecon and about 2km out the road we come to the road frontage of the farm. 'This is a unique place," says Mr Jordan. "It combines grazing, tillage and forestry, but it isn't planting land."

He explains that the owner planted the broadleaf forestry simply for shelter.

Elevated

As we make our way along a hardcore driveway through a belt of young ash and oak it is obvious the ground is not your typical planting land.

The passageway opens to a fine elevated field that is grazed to the board by a number of horses that come over and quietly nuzzle their way into our company.

The farm is laid out in one block stretched in a long strip. The first field is in broadleaf trees while the next is in grass followed by a fine field of stubble bounded by another parcel of trees. There is no premium left on the forestry but the plantations are thinned and in good shape.

Aside from the planted timber there are other lovely stands of trees throughout the farm providing great shelter and are visually very appealing. Underfoot the ground is firm comprised of self-draining gravelly soil.

We follow a hardcore roadway by the side of the property that leads us along by the back of Rathsallagh Hotel and on to two fields of fine elevated tillage ground. Extending to 50ac these fields are bordered symmetrically on four sides by a 20ac orderly border of trees.

"This is a fine parcel of land," says Mr Jordan. "It is of a size to attract local buyers and could also bring in someone with an interest in a stand-alone operation. It has no buildings of course, but it has good road frontage and could be converted into a residential farm, given the proper planning," he said.

The property will be sold at auction at the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge at 3pm on Thursday, October 29.

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