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Friday 9 December 2016

It's Tally-Ho's for €3.5m in Westmeath

Some big-name equestrian interests were in the hunt for a notable Westmeath holding last week but it eventually sold to a local couple

Jim O'Brien

Published 30/09/2015 | 02:30

An aerial view of Claremount farm, Co Westmeath which sold for €3.5 at auction last week
An aerial view of Claremount farm, Co Westmeath which sold for €3.5 at auction last week

Claremont Farm near Milltownpass, Co Westmeath, a 383ac estate with a Victorian house and farmyard, was bought at auction last week for €3.5m by Tony and Anne O'Callaghan of the nearby and renowned Tally-Ho Stud.

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According to auctioneer Paul Murtagh, the O'Callaghans fought off stiff opposition from some of the big equestrian players on both sides of the border.

The farm was for centuries in the ownership of the Ronaldson family, the last occupant being the noted horseman and bloodstock breeder Cecil Ronaldson.

"We have been watching this for years and we had no intention of letting it go," said Mr O'Callaghan who was delighted with his purchase.

"It's less than two miles from us, we couldn't let it pass," he said. Mr O'Callaghan described the ground as the best of land although he remarked that the yard needs a lot of work.

"We bought it for the land and we intend to use it as a stud farm," he said, "that's what we do."

Tally-Ho stud is a successful consignor of yearlings to the major Irish and English sales.

The property includes the main dwelling, a Victorian building in need of extensive repair.

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The extensive courtyard behind the house is enclosed by a range of stone cut sheds with arched doorways and wooden doors.

The sheds on two sides are long open structures with magnificent raftered and slated roofs while at the end of the quadrangle are two-storey storage houses, a coach house and a line of loose boxes.

There is a smaller stable yard to the rear of the main courtyard and a livestock haggard to the rear of that again.

The land is all under grass except for 30ac in tillage and 46ac in forestry.

It was always extensively farmed by Mr Ronaldson and the place has never been limed or fertilised, according to Mr Murtagh. The farm has annual entitlements of between €28,000 and €29,000 until 2019.

Mr Murtagh opened auction proceedings when he accepted a bid of €1.5m.

With five bidders taking to the field, the price went up in increments of €100,000 until it reached €2.7m at which point the bids came in amounts of €50,000.

At €3.3m the property went on the market, bidding continued in amounts of €50,000 until the hammer fell at €3.5m to a solicitor acting on behalf of the O'Callaghans.

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