See the 450ac midlands estate with prime ground and a guide price of €20m


Aerial view of the 1,120ac Abbey Leix estate
Aerial view of the 1,120ac Abbey Leix estate

Storm Powell

The spectacular Abbey Leix estate is for sale with a guide price in excess of €20m and part of the sale includes 450ac of prime grazing and tillage ground.

Situated on the outskirts of Abbeyleix, Co Laois, the 1,120ac estate is steeped in history.

It includes some of Ireland's most notable remaining ancient woodland, and can trace its origins to the 12th century. It was in the ownership of the De Vesci family from 1675 to 1995, when it was bought by international banker and businessman Sir David Davies, who has since used it as his family home.

Apart from the farmland, the remainder of the grounds are set in pleasure grounds, woodlands, gardens, avenues and a lake.

The property is home to a working beef farm
The property is home to a working beef farm

A stud farm, which is presently run by a tenant farmer, is positioned within the original farmstead and includes an attractive range of stone buildings.

The quadrangular yard contains 24 loose boxes, many of which are spacious foaling units. Nearby is a covered lunging yard and an all-weather ring for walking yearlings.

Adjacent to the stud is a separate farmyard with a range of farm sheds.

Farmland of circa 200ac is leased to another tenant farmer for cattle grazing.

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The fields are fully watered and well laid out on level, gentle, undulating land. The lands are well sheltered by the surrounding woodlands and there is excellent access throughout the estate, with substantial frontage to public roads augmented by hardcore internal roadways and tracks.

The estate is home to a small suckler herd of Irish Moiled cattle, a rare ancient breed that could be included in the sale.

The stud farm facilities include a quadrangular yard and all-weather ring.
The stud farm facilities include a quadrangular yard and all-weather ring.

Abbey Leix has one of the most important collections of trees in Ireland.

In addition to reputedly the oldest oak in Ireland, other notable trees, indigenous and exotic, include several Irish champions, a Scots pine, a field maple and a varnish tree.

The main drive threads its way through magnificent oak woodlands and open glades, and is flanked on either side by splendid wellingtonia, holme oak and cypress trees.

The gardens at Abbey Leix form a notable feature of the estate. The combination of the formal terraces with the wider parkland landscape and the vista over the lake to the mountains is one of the most glorious views anywhere in Ireland.

From the terraces, less formal pleasure grounds sweep down to the River Nore, passing an ornamental pond before intersecting with a dramatic Lime Walk.

The walled garden, comprising four compartments, has been planted with Norway maple in the geometric pattern of a repeated interlocking quincunx.

The estate has one of the most important collections of trees in Ireland
The estate has one of the most important collections of trees in Ireland

A Connoisseurs' Walk features many rare plants and a cut flower garden produces flowers for the house and includes many perennial shrubs. The mansion, positioned centrally within the estate at the end of the one-mile-long wooded drive, extends to 26,910 sq ft and has been magnificently restored by its current owner following a five-year restoration period.

A long-time advocate and campaigner of Irish heritage and historic houses, Mr Davies is president of the Irish Georgian Society, on the board of the Irish Tree Society and a trustee of the World Monuments Fund.

Approaching the restoration of the house with great energy and sensitivity, the challenge was to create a 21st century family home with comfort and informality on one hand and the grandeur for entertaining and the display of art on the other.

Abbey Leix has, for many years, been lauded as one of the most magnificent estates in Ireland.

In 2017, author William Laffan wrote: "As few places elsewhere, Abbey Leix gives a sense of the longue durée of Irish history. Having been home to French monks, O'More princes, Ormonde earls, De Vesci viscounts and a Welsh knight, the house, its park and woods form a microcosm of our past."

This private treaty sale is being handled by Colliers International in conjunction with Sotheby's International Realty.

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