Farm Ireland

Friday 21 October 2016

Stepping back in time

This classic equestrian property has the potential to become a powerful farm

Jim O'Brien

Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30

Potential: Claremount, Co Westmeath
Potential: Claremount, Co Westmeath

"You're going to take a step back in time now," says Paul Murtagh as we approach the curved hedges and railings leading to Claremont farm near Milltownpass in Co Westmeath.

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This Victorian house and farmyard on 383ac is a collector's item, if one could afford to collect items of this size and value. Time has certainly stood still here on a farm that looks as if it is under a preservation order that is maintained with puritanical rigidity.

This quaint extensive holding is for auction with a guide price of €3m or over €7,800/ac and has annual entitlements of between €28,000 and €29,000 until 2019.

Located 2km from the village of Milltownpass, between the N4 and the N6, everything about the place, the avenue, the gates and the hedges smacks of a bygone era of order and expectation.

The farm was for centuries in the ownership of the Ronaldson family, the last occupant being the famous horseman Cecil Ronaldson.

Cecil was not a man who embraced change with anything that approached fervour, according to Mr Murtagh.

As we drive into the huge courtyard behind the house, the sight that greets us is testament to a man that liked to keep things as they are.

The quadrangle is enclosed by a range of stone cut sheds with arched doorways and wooden doorways painted in a deep maroon.

"Cecil Ronaldson loved his horses, there is no doubt about that," says Mr Murtagh as we admire the warm stables with each door still boasting its original handle and hasp.

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

The house backs on to the courtyard and is a Victorian era building divided into the servants' quarters and the main house. It retains many of the relics of auld decency such as a servant bell, and while it needs refurbishment, it has great possibilities.

The elegant front of the house opens on to parkland unchanged for over a century.

The land is all under grass except for 30ac in tillage and 46ac in forestry. Mr Murtagh says it has never been limed or fertilised, and with some modern husbandry it could be transformed into a powerfully productive holding.

The large fields are divided by neatly kept hedgerows and the gates, all of which hang and latch, are of a design unique to Claremont representing the rays of the rising sun.

There has been keen interest from all parts of the country for the forthcoming auction which takes place at the Greville Arms Hotel, Mullingar at 3pm on Thursday, September 24.

Indo Farming


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