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Friday 9 December 2016

Property: UK buyers in the chase for €17m estate in Donegal

Jim O'Brien

Published 29/06/2016 | 02:30

An Grianán estate, Co Donegal
An Grianán estate, Co Donegal

Brexit could be good news for the sale of the biggest farm in Ireland. The 2,400ac estate, An Grianán, at Speenogue, Burt in Co Donegal could offer a UK buyer an opportunity to acquire a firm foothold in the EU as confusion reigns in Britain.

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The property comprises a 500ac lake, 200ac of foreshore and 1,700ac of the best of arable and grazing land. It is for sale as an entire for €17m and Pat O'Hagan of selling agents Savills is reporting brisk interest.

"I think Brexit might be good for the sale of farms such as An Grianán, UK buyers will want to keep a connection with the EU and what better location than across the border here in the Republic," said Mr O'Hagan.

An Ghrianán is made up of well drained and well managed land that was reclaimed from the sea by the shores of Lough Swilly in the 19th Century.

Like many parts of the Netherlands it is mainly below sea level and indeed the pumping system was installed by Dutch engineers in the 1950s.

Laid out mainly in one block of 2,270ac, the 1,700ac of 'farmable' ground comprises over 400ac in grass and over 1,200ac in tillage producing a mix of organic and conventional cereals and vegetables. The grazing is leased by the Witherow family who operate a 500 cow organic dairy herd on the ground.

Located at the centre of the farm an extensive range of farm buildings includes a milking parlour with 34 units, cubicle sheds for over 300 cows, storage sheds, silage facilities and vegetable processing facilities.

The farm hit the headlines in 1996 when repossession orders were carried out by National Irish Bank and in the wake of this the place was acquired by the current owners, the Donegal Investment Group.

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Pat O'Hagan says An Grianán will be sold as an entire and reports a range of interest from private buyers and the corporate sector from at home and abroad.

"At €17m we are guiding the place at €10,000/ac for the best of the land and the yard," he said.

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