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Sunday 23 September 2018

The 'wow' factor: See behind the scenes of this magnificent 230ac farm on the market in Kildare

Rathcoffey Castle and farm commands a perfect view of the surrounding countryside.
Rathcoffey Castle and farm commands a perfect view of the surrounding countryside.
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Last Friday morning, I headed for north Kildare to visit what turned out to be a magnificent 230ac farm.

My journey took me through Sallins and Clane and on to the village of Rathcoffey and the entrance to Rathcoffey Castle and Farm.

A long, straight paved avenue leads to an elevated expanse of tillage ground and across the crown of the elevation to a ruined manor house and castle, meanwhile the finest of land sweeps down from every side.

The place undoubtedly has the ‘wow’ factor and I found myself whispering that word as the sight of the land opened up in front of me. This has to be one of the finest farms of land I’ve ever walked. Sherry FitzGerald Country is handling the sale and it is guided at €3.75m.

The property is located adjacent to the village of Rathcoffey, 5km from Clane and 8km from Maynooth. The buildings on the holding include an old manor house in ruins and an old castle, also in ruins, along with a four-column haybarn with lean-to.

One can understand why a fortified castle was built in this spot; for miles around it commands a perfect view of the surrounding countryside and looks on towards the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. The ground is the best of fertile land fit for lord, earl or squire.

The story of the place in its current form goes back to 1171 when the castle and estate came into the possession of the Herefords, a Norman family that came over with the all-conquering Strongbow.

It then passed to the Wogan family whose economic and political fortunes mirrored the course of Irish history from the Tudors to Georgian times. Even after a multitude of rebellions, dispossessions and repossessions, the Wogans hung on for centuries.

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In 1754, it was bought by Archibald Hamilton Rowan who also ran into trouble when he threw in his lot with the United Irishmen. Eventually bought by the Jesuits in nearby Clongowes Wood College, it was sold to a private owner in the 70s who transformed the land into the tillage farm it is today.

Boundaries

This most recent owner believed in expansive farming and removed all the boundaries. Although currently lying fallow, it was rented to a local farmer up to last year who tilled it to the ditch. The soil is currently under harrowed stubble where a fine powdery top layer is fed by a rich depth.

This is a farmer’s farm and could be put to any use, even where it descends to a lower level, it is well drained and bone dry. With over 600m of frontage on to a side road and in the event of obtaining the requisite planning, it would make a superb residential holding.

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