Fix it up: A gristmill in Meath
What is it? An early 19th-century gristmill thought to be the only occupied windmill of its type in Ireland and the tallest building in Meath. The Balrath Windmill near Navan was built in 1803 by the Balrath Estate for the war effort against Napoleon, to grind grain to feed the forces. A storm broke its sails and it went to ruin until acquired by the Madden family in 1993. They part-restored it in 2003/04. The five-floor tapered stone building has its continuous circular stairs laid against the inside walls. It has new floors, electrics and plumbing, and has been reroofed and refenestrated.
Tell me more about the place...
At 1,200 sq ft, it has a living room and kitchen at ground floor and a sitting room and storage on the first floor. Next up is the master bedroom with ensuite bathroom and a second bedroom with a mezzanine and an ensuite. The fourth floor has a third bedroom leading to the roof.
The good news?
The building has stood up to the elements for 200 years and appears to be structurally sound. The original milling stone is now the front doorstep and creates a point of interest. Most of the heavy lifting has already been done by the Maddens. The property comes with 25 acres but can be bought with as little as 0.7 acres. As it's a listed heritage building, any work you do qualifies for Section 482 relief.
And the bad news?
The structure appears to have a damp issue, which will need to be tackled and has to be entirely rendered either inside or out. This is a specialist job because of the height of the structure and the difficulty of scaffolding a tapered building. Because it's a heritage building, work must be done in accordance with proper preservation techniques.
How much to buy it?
It goes for auction on June 13 with €150,000 sought for the mill on 0.7 acres or €450,000 for the mill on 25 acres of arable land.
And to fix it up?
The current owners estimate completion costs at around €60,000 based on a €55,000 quote received from a specialist three years ago. What will I end up with? A unique home with unbeaten views, plenty of character and historic credentials, which will surely be a veritable Airbnb magnet.
Who do I talk to?
Pottertons (046) 902 7666