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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Rich potential in this 338ac estate

This Kildare property could make one of the finest farms in the country, but prospective buyers will need deep pockets

Jim O'Brien

Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30

A panoramic view of the 338ac estate at Landenstown near Sallins, which is on the market for €6.5m
A panoramic view of the 338ac estate at Landenstown near Sallins, which is on the market for €6.5m
The sale includes an 18th Century mansion and outbuildings in need of complete renovation
The utbuildings are in need of complete renovation

Landenstown House and Estate on 338ac near Sallins in Co Kildare has everything one would want in a traditional country estate; an 18th Century Palladian mansion, gate lodges, a cut-stone courtyard of similar vintage, plenty of good arable land, lots of fine trees dotted throughout the parkland and a magnificent avenue. It can all be yours for €6.5m.

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That's the good news. However, age and time and nature have caught up with the old place with the result that the land, the house, the woods and lodges need plenty of TLC and lots of money. Nevertheless, after a short snoop around the buildings and a stroll through the rolling parkland, potential is everywhere in evidence. In the right hands, Landenstown could be one of the finest farms in the country.

Located on the banks of the Grand Canal, 5km from Sallins, the estate is 12km from Naas and 37km from Dublin. After leaving Sallins, a warren of country roads and the tow path along the canal eventually lead to the estate - thank goodness for cyber assisted guidance systems.

The entrance is beside Digby Bridge, a lovely picturesque canal crossing. Indeed the bridge gets its name from the original owners of Landenstown, the Digbys, a prominent Anglo-Irish family who counted among their number Simon Digby, a Church of Ireland Bishop who served in various dioceses between the later part of the 17th Century and the early part of the 18th Century. Driving past two dilapidated gate lodges, the partially overgrown driveway is lined with majestic chestnuts and leads to the house and the farmyard. Despite the incursion of moss and grass the grand nature of the original approach is not hard to imagine.

I am met by Phillip Guckian of selling agents Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes. He tells me that after the Digbys, the estate was owned by the O'Kellys and in the late 1940s, a German owner acquired the place and installed a caretaker/manager who lived in the house and farmed the land up to the mid 2000s. It was very much a working farm, carrying 200 cattle with a substantial portion of the land under tillage.

"Up to 10 years ago, this was a busy place with much happening in terms of farming. In the latter years, up to 100ac was under corn with the rest harvested for hay," he explains. We walk to the old courtyard past a five-column haybarn with a lean-to and a silage pit, further behind us is another loose cattle shed. The yard is a veritable warren of old-style stables, workshops, coach houses and storage sheds, all in various stages of disrepair.

Palladian

We come to the house itself; a solid, two-storey Palladian residence over two floors, uninhabited and uninhabitable in its present state. Some work in terms of dry lining has been attempted and much of the old decorative plasterwork remains intact. The windows are all boarded up.

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The ground floor accommodation includes an entrance hall, dining room, drawing room, library, study, kitchen, pantry, an office and a utility. Upstairs are six bedrooms, two bathrooms and two dressing rooms.

To the right and left of the house are two, two-storey buildings that look as if they may have been staff quarters but could be added to the main house in time to come.

The land is in need of attention but is beautiful rolling land that sweeps from a hillock down to the south-facing front of the house in a lovely expanse of parkland. According to Philip Guckian, the ground is completely dry throughout and can be farmed for tillage or grass.

The property will be sold by private treaty as an entire or in lots with the house on 260ac valued at €5.5m while a 78ac portion of ground at the far side of the Grand Canal is valued at €1m or over €12,800/ac. The entire is for sale with a price tag of €6.5m.

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