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€4m guide for Offaly Palladian estate farm

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ATTRACTION: Drumdowney Farm at Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, is expected to draw plenty of interest when it goes to sale by private treaty with a guide price of €1.1m

ATTRACTION: Drumdowney Farm at Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, is expected to draw plenty of interest when it goes to sale by private treaty with a guide price of €1.1m

ATTRACTION: Drumdowney Farm at Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, is expected to draw plenty of interest when it goes to sale by private treaty with a guide price of €1.1m

When it comes to the sale of larger farms, there is an embarrassment of riches on the market in the midlands at the moment.

Among the finest properties to hit the sales list is a 285ac tillage and grassland farm with an excellent Palladian house of Georgian vintage. Milltown House and lands in south west Offaly is for sale by private treaty with a guide price of €4m.

Located at Milltown, 11km from Roscrea and 10km from Moneygall, the ancestral village of US president Barack Obama, the farm includes 100ac of tillage, 95ac of pasture and 70ac of well-managed woodland.

Milltown Park was built in 1720 near the site of an earlier 16th century construction. The house was built by the Spunner family and remains in their possession to this day. It is one of the first small Irish Palladian houses built on four floors, and is characterised by spacious rooms and fine interior plasterwork thought to be by the Swiss stuccadores, Paul and Philip Francini.

The accommodation includes four reception rooms, eight bedrooms, two bathrooms and an extensive basement with kitchens and staff quarters.

Manageable

According to David Ashmore of selling agents Sherry Fitzgerald, the current owner has spent a considerable sum of money on the house over the past five years. Works undertaken included replacing the roof, the chimneys, the wiring and the water supply.

However, the auctioneer suggests that a new owner might want to work on the kitchen, bathrooms and the overall range of dated conveniences in the building.

According to Mr Ashmore the house appears more imposing in photographs than it is in actuality, "while larger than the average farmhouse it is extremely manageable," he said.

The farmyard was built as a 'model farm' in 1840 in a single unit with coach houses, stables, cart sheds, stores and a cottage (that needs refurbishment). Behind the traditional farmyard is a six-bay Dutch barn with a lean-to and a more modern yard with hay barns, a silage clamp and concrete hard stand. The yards require upgrading to bring them up to date with modern farming practices.

The former kitchen gardens are about 200m from the house and reached by a woodland walk. Extending to 2ac, the gardens are sheltered by high walls and include a derelict gardener's cottage and substantial greenhouses.

The land is renowned for its quality, with 100ac currently in tillage and 95ac home to a beef herd. The soil types are of the Patrickswell series, with the lower part being Finnery River alluvium. The ground is well maintained and in good heart .

The 70ac of forestry is mostly a mixture of various hardwoods of varying ages. The forestry is ready for first thinning. Premia on the forestry and the holding's single farm payments total €35,000.

"The lands are all in one block with the forestry on the periphery giving a c.200ac arable block in the centre around the house and yards," says David Ashmore.

"Front and rear laneways dissect the farm along the middle and a spur laneway gives further internal access, making the farm extremely workable and possibly suited to a dairying enterprise," he adds.

All in all, Milltown is one of the finest estate farms to come to the market in recent times and will attract huge interest.

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