Massive Tipperary farm sold after marathon auction

The original residence at Fortwilliam was partly destroyed by fire in the 1920s and rebuilt in a more modern style
The original residence at Fortwilliam was partly destroyed by fire in the 1920s and rebuilt in a more modern style
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

IRISH Olympic show jumper and Tipperary native Greg Broderick is the new owner of Fortwilliam House and its 217ac estate at Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary.

The show jumping champion was the only bidder on the entire property when it came to auction last week as he fought off nine bidders bidding on seven lots. He paid €2.2m for the house with a range of dated farm buildings and 217ac of good Tipperary ground.

Mr Broderick, who has competed on the national and international show jumping scene since his teens came to international prominence on MHS Going Global.

In 2014 he was crowned Showjumping Ireland Nation­al Champion while MHS Going Global took the Leading Horse Title that year.

In 2015 his clear round as part of the Irish Aga Khan team was instrumental in Ireland’s capturing the coveted Aga Khan Trophy. In 2016 on MHS Going Global he represented Ireland at the Rio Olympics.

The horse was recently bought by Greek heiress Athi­na Onassis Roussel, daugh­ter of Christina Onassis and granddaughter of the famous Aristotle, second husband to Jackie Kennedy. Ms Onassis is reputed to have paid in the region of €12m for the gelding.

The land is in good heart and suitable for beef, dairy or tillage
The land is in good heart and suitable for beef, dairy or tillage

Mr Broderick had a small share in the MHS Going Glob­al with the main owner Lee Kruger of Canadian based Caledonia Stables.

It is believed the new prop­erty at Fortwilliam forms part of a major expansion of Mr Broderick’s business which also includes a new stable block, offices and viewing areas at his current stables at nearby Ballypatrick. Work on this has already begun. The farm is cur­rently home to some 65 horses in training, several of which are owned by young American riders training at Ballypatrick and living in the locality.

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10 Bidders

The Fortwilliam auction was a marathon affair that lasted for two and a half hours and involved a cat and mouse game between bidders bidding for a variety of lots while Mr Broder­ick was the only customer for the entire.

On the day with local auc­tioneer Vincent Ryan swinging the gavel a total of 10 different bidders took to the fray with nine interested in the lots.

The first lot, consisting of the house on 5.99ac, was bid to €220,000. Lot two comprised of 94.86ac was bid to €770,000 while a 98ac portion making up lot 3 was bid to €670,000.

Lot 4, a landlocked field of 12.6ac was bid to €120,000, while lot 5, a 14ac parcel ac­cessed from a laneway leading to the Thurles Road attracted €210,000 or €15,000/ac. Lots 2 and 4 combined were also offered totalling 107ac and this combination was bid to €1.06m, while lots 4 and 5 combined at 26.6ac was bid to €340,000.

The entire opened with a bid of €1.06m from Mr Broderick and he stayed ahead of the lots in all their combinations throughout the sale. At the fin­ish his final bid of €2.2m beat the combined lots by €40,000.

Locals are delighted that Mr Broderick, who lives on his parents’ farm at nearby Inch (more commonly known as The Ragg), is the new owner of Fortwilliam. It is understood he is ready to start work immedi­ately constructing a gallops and establishing paddocks.

Commenting on the pur­chase, Mr Broderick said: “It is so beneficial to my business of producing horses to have a holding of this size on my doorstep. I love this area, I love the land and the house, and it is a great feeling to know that I can now grow my business at home in Ballypatrick.”

Located within 1km of Bor­risoleigh the farm is centred around a substantial mansion, the ancestral home of the Cooke family. The last surviving mem­bers of the family passed away in recent years and the place became the subject of an exec­utor sale.

The house is in need of com­plete refurbishment but has all the classic Georgian features and extensive accommodation. To the rear is a courtyard with stone cut sheds and adjacent is the original farmyard. An origi­nal walled garden, now in grass, is accessed off the courtyard and beside that a six-column hayshed is located in a haggard.

The land is fine grazing ground with lovely elevation in places descending to a lower spot with a pond.

Laid out in big fields with great stands of trees the place has 800m of road frontage on to a the L3602 Pallas Road and frontage at the other side of the village on to a laneway that leads to the R498 Thurles road. There is frontage on to the Cremogue River.

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