Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

End of era as last of Markree Demense goes under the gavel

A view of the land for sale at Markree Castle, Co Sligo
A view of the land for sale at Markree Castle, Co Sligo
Maire Rua O'Brien
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Markree Demense is one of the largest farms to come on the market in the north-west in recent times.

The 263ac property is in parkland setting in the grounds of Markree Castle Hotel in Co Sligo with mature trees and made up of excellent pasture.

Located around 1.5km from Collooney and 12km from Sligo town, the property includes 100ac in grassland, 56ac in forestry and 93ac of old woodland.

The castle and lands were in the possession of the Cooper family for 350 years, dating from Cromwellian times until recently.

John Cooper an officer in the Cromwellian army got the lands in compensation for his service to the fearsome Oliver. When Cromwell defeated the mighty O'Brien Clan in Clare, their leader Conor O'Brien was killed in the battle.

In order to protect her children and her lands, his widow, the infamous Máire Rua, married Cooper.

At the conclusion of the war Cromwell rewarded his soldiers with land and possessions and so Markree Castle and swathes of the surrounding lands were granted to John Cooper.

The place remained in the family up to recently.

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A castle since the 14th century it was redesigned in the late 1800s and the Markree Castle Hotel incorporates Victorian and Georgian architecture.

In later years further works were carried out when Charles Cooper, the last of the family to live on the estate, transformed it into one of the finer country house hotels in country.

It was sold within the last number of months and the hotel is to open under new management. The sale of the land marks the final instalment in the transaction.


The 263ac includes 100ac of pastureland described as good fertile soil suitable for all agricultural production.

A parcel of forestry extending to 56ac is divided between Scotch pine and oak, while an area in clear fell ready for reforestation extends to 14acres. Old woodland covering 93ac has a good mix of mature trees.

According to Robert Ganly of selling agents Ganly Walters, the farm has no buildings but with the necessary planning permission it would be ideal for the construction of a single dwelling.

The property can be bought in lots or as an entire with one lot consisting of 64ac of scrubland and another consisting of 199ac of pasture and forestry.

The property will be sold by public auction by Ganly Walters and John Murphy and Sons, Sligo, on Friday, June 26 at 3pm in the Sligo Park Hotel, Sligo.

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