IT IS only four weeks into the year, but auctioneers are already predicting the €5m sale of a country estate could set a record for the whole of 2013.
Dowth Hall in Drogheda, a mansion on 420 acres, sold in an executor sale for €1.25m over its €3.75m guide price – an increase of 33pc.
Auctioneer Robert Ganly of Knight Frank predicted afterwards that the price could well be the highest paid for any country house estate at auction this year.
Its price of €11,900 per acre is also strong compared with the average of €10,000 per acre which has been paid for farms in recent times.
However, it is below the €15,000 per acre paid for a smaller 206-acre farm in Donegal just a few weeks ago. Located about 10km from Derry, the Donegal farm at Toberslane, Carrigans was bought by a potato farmer for €3.1m.
Dowth is believed to have been bought by an Irish family but Meath estate agent, John Harrington, who was bidding on their behalf at yesterday's auction, declined to confirm this or discuss the new owner's plans.
Mr Ganly said afterwards that three bidders competed with 22 bids between them.
Originally built for the sixth Viscount Netterville in the 18th century, the 650sqm (7,000sq ft) house's last owner was farmer, herdsman and Gaelic football player Patsy Pidgeon.