Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 26 February 2017

Huge 240ac Wicklow farm comes on the market

About 50m above sea level, farm is fit for the plough

Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

The 240ac coastal farm at Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow is on the private treaty market
The 240ac coastal farm at Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow is on the private treaty market

Maybe it's age and then again maybe it's just nostalgia but I find myself, more and more avoiding the motorways. Much lauded as the only worthwhile legacy of the Celtic Tiger, these industrial carriageways are just that; soulless and eminently utilitarian.

I have taken to the back-roads; to the N-this and the R-that, even resorting occasionally to the L-something-or-other. Last week my travels took me from my home in the midwest to Brittas Bay on the Wicklow coast where a lovely 240ac coastal farm is on the private treaty market.

I left the M7 at Newbridge and headed east across the plains of the Curragh through the manicured stud farms of Kildare and into the hill country of Wicklow through the Wicklow Gap. Autumn was parading herself in all her beauty as trees divested themselves of their leaves in a mix of flurries and torrents.

The verdant hills and dales of the Kildare border gave way to the bare and beautiful expanse of Wicklow mountain ground between Hollywood and Glendalough. The Spartan landscape showed all the signs of snuggling down for the winter.

When I arrived at Brittas Bay the car parks were locked and deserted, the beachballs, buckets and shovels that hung outside the seaside shops were replaced by the witches, wands and ghouls of Halloween.

I found the gateway to the 240ac farm at Ardinairy, Brittas and stood with my back against the car listening to the gentle murmur of the sea just a field away.

Auctioneer Brian Clarke arrived in a hurry, as all auctioneers do. We shook hands and climbed a five-bar gate, leading to the seaside portion of the holding. Stretching to 109ac, this parcel has plenty of coastline and 600m of road frontage on to the R750 linking Brittas Bay and Arklow.

This part of the property adjoins the European Golf Course, an exclusive club that boasts only 50 members and regards itself as among the top golf courses in Europe, if not the world.

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"The 240ac was bought from a number of local farmers and put together by a developer who had plans for a hotel, golf resort and self catering accommodation," Brian explains, "he is now in the process of settling his affairs after the downturn and disposing of this farm is part of that process."

According to Mr Clarke, in its day, the land was actively farmed with some in tillage and the rest in grazing aside from a lower portion of bogland that is now governed by the SAC regime. The ground is bone dry underfoot but shows signs of poaching thanks to a herd of mainly Friesian dry cattle that ignores us as we make our way to the coastline.

"This field was once an airfield and that was a hangar," explains Brian Clarke as we making our way across a flat coastal field and pass a shed now used for forage storage and livestock. The seashore is dotted with small coves and as we look down a pair of seals as big as bullocks are stretched on the stones enjoying the sunshine.

The land is rough looking in places and rushy but clearly has potential and would undoubtedly respond to good husbandry. The seaside portion is laid out in a series of eight to 10 fields and located a few hundred metres from Brittas Bay beach.

"The original owners of this land were all serious farmers," Brian says as we come back along the gravel internal roadway to cross the road to reach the larger lot at the land side of the R750. Climbing another gate, Brian tells me that much of this 131ac portion was once under tillage and is still good arable ground. "I am expecting interest in this to come perhaps from Wexford farmers who would like to get their hands on good quality ground without having to pay Wexford prices for it," he says.

The majority of the 131ac is elevated ground about 50m over sea level and is undoubtedly fit for the plough. It also has the remnants of a dwelling house, a small range of stone out-buildings and some cattle handling facilities. While there is interest in smaller portions Mr Clarke hopes to sell it as an entire or in the two portions of 109ac and 131ac.

Indo Farming