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Friday 20 October 2017

Gallery: Here's the €23,000/ac Galway farm bought by the owner of Supermacs

The most lucractive farm property deal of the year saw Supermacs' supremo Pat McDonagh pay €3.2m for a 135 acre holding near Oranmore
The most lucractive farm property deal of the year saw Supermacs' supremo Pat McDonagh pay €3.2m for a 135 acre holding near Oranmore
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Connacht-Ulster saw the most lucrative farm sale of the year at public auction with the sale of a beautiful 135ac farm at Renville near Oranmore with fine dry fields sweeping down to Galway Bay.

The day I walked the place I thought to myself that a Galway man or woman will buy this, it's a piece of the county anyone would love to own.

Pat McDonagh
Pat McDonagh

And so it came to pass, at auction a few days later it was bought by Pat McDonagh, founder of the Supermac's fast food chain and quintessential Galwayman. He paid €3.2m for the property or €23,700/ac, a substantial per acre price for a farm of this size.

When we think of the shores of Galway Bay we immediately think of Connemara but there is also a lovely southern and eastern shore to the bay from Kinvara right into Oranmore.

Along this shore near Oranmore is Renville, home to a stretch of fertile land with fine stands of trees that runs down to the shore.

One of the most prominent properties in this area is Renville House, a 19th Century period house that was once home to the Blakes, one of the Tribes of Galway, and since the 1960's was home to a Dr Lydon and his family.

The house on 135ac of fine land was for sale by public auction and had a guide price of €2m.

The house is a 19th Century period house and it has charm written all over it. I suppose its vintage, dating from 1820, makes it Georgian in provenance if not in style. Inside the house is elegant but not grand.

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The rooms are modestly proportioned with those to the side of the house built with bay windows looking out into an intimate rose garden.

The residence does need some renovation and refurbishment. The front two-up-two-down part is most probably the original house but behind is a series of extensions.

The accommodation includes two reception rooms, a sitting room and dining room at either side of a spacious hall. The sitting room has a bay window fronting on to the rose garden and the dining room has all the relics of auld decency. There is a lovely feel to the house and I sense myself turning into a cross between Francis Brennan and Dermot Bannon as I poke around the place.

Other accommodation downstairs includes an intimate lounge with a bay window to the garden, a library, study, kitchen, bathroom and a guest WC.

Upstairs are five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a nursery room, a linen cupboard and a hotpress. The rooms are in the main quite spacious but require some renovation.

Grazing ground

As for the land, in a word it is beautiful. The 135ac is laid out in a series of big fields fenced with neat, well-kept stone walls without a pebble out of place. Other fencing is provided by well-maintained hedgerow.

About 112ac is very good to excellent grazing ground that was traditionally used for sheep and cattle with 23ac in low-lying land near the sea front and part of an SAC.

The ground is undulating and self draining and while rented for a number of years is in good heart and well looked after. It may need some minor work and perhaps some re-seeding here and there; on my walk through one of the shore-side fields there are some signs of poaching under-foot.

Renville House and farm is a gorgeous place and as I write I am reminded of other lovely bits to it like the beautiful walled garden, currently under a crop of hay and a quaint little farmyard near the shore with a herder's cottage that will make a lovely retreat.

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