Farm Ireland

Saturday 22 October 2016

A wonder of nature in Wicklow

Published 25/11/2015 | 02:30

Coollatin Estate, Co Wicklow
Coollatin Estate, Co Wicklow

An historic woodland estate that supplied oak for the English fleet, the Stadt House in Amsterdam, Westminster Hall, Trinity College and St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin is on the market.

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In what is one of the most substantial farm sales in Ireland in recent years the 1,230ac Coollattin Estate in West Wicklow is to be sold by private treaty and selling agents, Savills are guiding the price at €6m or just over €4,800/ac.

Situated beside the village of Coollattin between the towns of Shillelagh, Tinahely and Carnew in West Wicklow the property includes a modest two storey dwelling, substantial forestry and 250ac of grazing and tillage ground. The extensive woodland part of the property consists of mature and semi-mature commercial hardwood and softwood while the more arable portion is made up of lowland-rich agricultural land.

It is also home to one of the best driven pheasant and duck shoots in Ireland with some wild deer also available.

The river Derry which meanders throughout the estate is part of an extensive natural water system that includes streams, a fish pond and duck ponds. The land undulates between 213ft and 700ft above sea level creating an ideal place for growing trees.

Battleships and barrels

Primarily an old oak estate, Coollattin is steeped in history. Records from 1224 show that timber from the place was used to build the English fleet and part of the estate was declared a Royal Forest. In 1606 there was enough oak standing in Coollattin to supply the English fleet for 20 years.

Timber from here was used in some of the most renowned buildings in Europe including the roof of Stadt House in Amsterdam, Westminster Hall in London, Lincoln's Inn in London, the Kings College Chapel in Cambridge as well as Trinity College and St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

According to David Rhattigan of Savills down through the centuries the wood was used for "barges, battleships and barrels."

The current owners of the estate, Bridgefarm Company Ltd, bought it in 1983. Since then much felling and replanting was done to manage the woodland and to replant the best Oak plantations.

"The estate has been exceptionally well run and will be brought to the market in top class condition. It also comes without the added burden of a neglected mansion and yards," said David Rhattigan, "a new purchaser will reap the benefits of a carefully managed forest and shoot."


Many factors combine to give Coollattin the perfect environment for growing timber.

These factors include its height above sea level (213ft-700ft) an extensive, natural underground water system, streams and springs, a temperate climate, an even amount of rainfall and a low level of disease.

"The main reason hardwoods grow so well here is because of its own oak species and the careful selection by managers over the centuries," said Mr Rhattigan.

Since 1983 an agreed plan of planting of oaks and conifers has been carried out. The conifers nurse the oaks for up to thirty years and then are thinned out to make space for the light, which enhances the timber growth.

Since 1984, the major undertakings in timber management have included;

The extraction of 54,000 tonnes of commercial timber and 10,000 tonnes of firewood.

The planting of 300,000 young Oak, Ash, Spanish Oak and Beech saplings.

The planting of 700,000 young softwood saplings including Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and Larch.


The agricultural lands extend to approximately 249.8ac and are interspersed in three main areas around the estate and also benefit from the unique micro climate.

These particular lands are of the finest quality and are generally in normal rotation ranging from corn and cereals to root crops and grass. They can also be used as fodder crops for the game birds.

The shoot at Coollattin is known to be one of the best driven shoots in the country and currently 27,000 pheasant and 10,000 duck are released each year on the estate.

Grants and tax

Mr Rhattigan points out that since grants have been received from Coillte in respect of Coollattin any purchaser is obliged to comply with the Forestry Acts in the ongoing management of the property.

However, timber sales and forestry grant income are free of income and corporation tax and there is no capital gains tax (CGT) on growing or felled timber, although it is chargeable on the land.

While VAT is charged on forestry work and timber sales, its effect is usually neutral if the property is managed as a business. Mr Rhattigan and Savills are open to offers on Coollattin and anyone with a spare €6m should notify the agents by email or letter.

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