Gallery: Dairy farmers expected to be in the mix for €11m 'sale of the year'

An Irish tech millionaire spared nothing in the renovation of the 358ac Corbalton Hall estate

The multi-millionaire spared nothing in bringing the house and grounds back to its former glory.
The multi-millionaire spared nothing in bringing the house and grounds back to its former glory.
(stock photo)
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

One of the biggest fields in Ireland, covering around 100ac, is part of a top class 358ac tillage estate on the market in Meath with an €11m price tag.

Located at Skryne, the house and farm are being sold by tech entrepreneur, Pat McDonagh, best known for his firm Riverdeep. Corbalton was badly in need of attention when bought by McDonagh in 1999.

At the time the property was advertised with an asking price of £3m for the house and 300ac, with McDonagh paying in the region of £3.4m for the property.

The multi-millionaire spared nothing in bringing the house and grounds back to its former glory.

he building was designed by architect Francis Johnson, whose portfolio includes the GPO in Dublin, Áras an Uachtaráin and the Armagh Observatory.

In 1951, the estate went out of Butler ownership and changed hands a few times before being left vacant and falling into a state of dilapidation.

A German couple bought it at its lowest point and undertook some renovation work. However, it was only when the estate was bought by Pat McDonagh, the founder of Riverdeep in 1999 that its fortunes turned.

The highly successful tech entrepreneur spared nothing in terms of money and expertise in bringing it back to its former glory, incorporating modern improvements while remaining true to the provenance of the house.

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The place is for sale by public auction as an entire or in a number of lots and guided at €11m.

Located at Skryne in royal Meath in our Valley of the Kings, the farm includes some of the most fertile land in the country.

It was renowned as a serious tillage holding when McDonagh took it over and maintains that reputation.

The property is in one block, but in two portions, with an ­outer crescent of land ­extending to 227ac currently in tillage, while an inner portion extending to 131ac includes the house, the extensive grounds, gardens, parklands, outbuildings and pasture.

Glasshouses

This latter part made up of the lawned area around the residence is regarded as one of the biggest fields in the country.

The house is described as a Georgian villa and along with the entire estate, it has been meticulously renovated and restored.

From the impressive stone piers at the entrance to the glasshouses in the walled garden, every inch of the property is as new. The grounds incorporate a manicured kitchen garden with refurbished glasshouses in a fully restored walled garden.

The stable yard includes a renovated coachhouse and an apartment that both contain further accommodation.

There is also a wide range of stables and a series restored cut-stone sheds.

The property can be bought as an entire with a guide of €11m. The house and yards on 131ac guided at €8m can be bought as a separate lot, while 227ac of tillage ground is guided at almost €3m or €13,000/ac.

The sale is jointly handled by Goffs Country and Coonans of Maynooth and the auction will be held at Carton House, Maynooth, at 3pm on Thursday, June 6.

Contenders

Corbalton is one of a number of larger farms to come on the market this year where strong prices of above €11,000/ac are being paid even for bigger holdings.

The quality of the land in Skryne and the fact the holding will be offered in lots - separating the 227ac of tillage from the rest of the property - means that farmers will be serious contenders when it comes to auction in June.

Andrew Nolan of Goff's Country and Willie Coonan of joint agents Coonan's of Maynooth expect the estate will be bought in its entirety.

However, dairy farmers and cereal growers will be casting acquisitive eyes over the 227ac of arable land.

This part of the property is in top order and has plenty of access points and could easily be converted for dairying.

Dairy farmers have been spending up to €18,000/ac for land in Cork, Waterford and Wexford, while the rental price for grazing land has hit €400/ac in the midlands.

Dairy interests are expected to be serious contenders for Corbalton.

Willie Coonan of joint agents Coonans Maynooth describes Corbalton as "a magnificent place.

"I anticipate it will be the finest country estate offered for sale in Ireland this year," he said.

Andrew Nolan of Goff's Country describes it as "a class property with an outstanding tillage farm in an unrivalled location."

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