Equestrian big hitters are racing ahead in land market
Coolmore, JP McManus and new entrants such as the Comers are buying up thousands of acres
As the 2015 auction season comes to a close it is clear that the dominant buyers in the land market are big hitters from outside the farming sector.
With the end of milk quotas there was huge expectation that dairy farmers would buy farms, large and small, up and down the country.
And while there was an initial flurry of land purchase by dairy farmers, the most active purchasers have been the horsey set.
In the past year, most of the larger farms to come on the market in Leinster and Munster have been bought by the big equestrian players.
Among the more prolific spenders and accumulators are the Comer brothers, Luke and Brian, from Glenamaddy, Co Galway who have spent in excess of €22m in late 2014 and 2015, and bought more than 1,500ac of land, all for horses.
The brothers who started their working lives as plasterers have built up a massive international property portfolio and are becoming major players in the Irish land market, especially the equine market.
Among their purchases is Courtown Demesne at Kilcock, a 400ac estate with a Georgian mansion that sold for €10.2 million, the unfinished Kiltiernan Country Club and Hotel on 400ac that cost them €7m.
Another property they added to their portfolio is Ginnets Park near Trim in Co Meath, a 410ac residential Georgian stud farm that sold at auction in 2014 for €2.21m.