Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 21 September 2017

The €25m farm with Georgian residence and 750 acres

This 750ac Co Kildare estate is very much a working farm

An aerial view of Harristown House and farm located in the heart of Kildare's stud farm belt
An aerial view of Harristown House and farm located in the heart of Kildare's stud farm belt
Harristown House, the restored Georgian residence which was the home to the La Touche banking family for over a century
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Recent months have seen a wealth of large farms and estates on the Irish land market. One of the largest has to be the 750ac Harristown Demense at Brannockstown, near Kilcullen in Co Kildare. This former Huguenot estate, is on the market as a unit with a price tag of €25m.

The original estate was bought by the La Touche family in 1768. The Huguenot refugees became fully engaged with the social and economic life of their adopted country and were among the founding partners of the Bank of Ireland in 1783.

The Georgian residence, designed by the famous architect Whitmore Davis, originally had three storeys but was destroyed by fire in 1891. The house was rebuilt without the third storey but with a lantern skylight that floods the upper storey with plenty of daylight.

The La Touches left Harristown in 1921 and the estate remained idle until bought in 1946 by Michael and Doreen Beaumont who completely restored the house. The property is still in the ownership of the Beaumont family.

Harristown House, the restored Georgian residence which was the home to the La Touche banking family for over a century
Harristown House, the restored Georgian residence which was the home to the La Touche banking family for over a century

On a beautiful autumn day Paddy Jordan takes me through the heart of Kildare horsey country to reach Harristown. As we pass one imposing dry-stone wall after another, the list of neighbours is a veritable who's who of the 'equestocracy' of Ireland.

Harristown, though, surpasses them all and its drystone wall encircles 750ac of pasture, tillage ground and mature woods. The River Liffey runs through the demense providing and endless supply of natural water and natural drainage to the lands.

There are literally miles of road frontage around the property with three entrances and three gate lodges; one at Brannockstown, another, the Station Lodge on the Ballymore Eustace and one at the main entrance at Carnalway.

The long avenue to the house cuts through a powerful field of grass to one side and a huge stubble field on the other. "This is a working farm," explains Paddy Jordan, "it has been in tillage and cattle for a number of years and is suitable to any type of agricultural or bloodstock pursuit. " A total of 367ac is in stubble with 197ac in permanent pasture and just under 200ac in broadleaf old forestry, yards, avenues and parkland.

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Views

The house is set on an elevated site with spectacular views of the land, the river and with the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains as a backdrop.

The reception rooms on the ground floor include a spacious hall with ornate plasterwork and columns leading to an elegant dining room at one side, a cosy library on the other and then on to a comfortable drawing room.

Upstairs are six bedrooms with marble fireplaces, a family bathroom, an ensuite bathroom, an ensuite dressing room. There is further space in the attic while the basement is home to a wine cellar, the old kitchen and a range of useful storage spaces.

Overall the house is in good, dry condition. "This is a manageable country home," remarks Paddy Jordan, "it doesn't overwhelm you like many an enormous country pile would."

The yards include a stable yard in good condition with accommodation that includes a stable-yard house, a series of four habitable cottages and a manager's house, a 2,000 sq ft 1940's brick structure with five rooms a kitchen and a bathroom.

The stable-yard also includes 12 loose boxes and a three-port garage under a hayloft.

The farmyard is typical of Georgian cut-stone courtyards with an array of sheds and stores, all in various states of repair. Other features on the property include good internal roadways, a lovely pleasure garden within the confines of the walled garden and a picturesque bridge over the Liffey along with an 80m 'secret passage' connecting the stable-yard to the basement of the house.

Paddy Jordan says he is confident that there are buyers at home and abroad with the wherewithal, the desire and the ambition to take this magnificent property in hand.

Indo Farming