Model farm in Tipperary attracting keen interest from dairy farmers

The 127 acre farm has an extensive array of sheds.
The 127 acre farm has an extensive array of sheds.
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

I got slightly lost on my way to see a 127ac residential farm for sale at Cullen in Co Tipperary. I turned left instead of right in the village of Monard and found myself at Soloheadbeg beside the memorial commemorating the ambush that marked the outbreak of the War of Independence.

Not far from the memorial Dan Breen, Sean Treacy and members of the Third Tipperary Brigade of the IRA commandeered a consignment of gelignite being transported to the Soloheadbeg quarry by council workers. The consignment was guarded by two RIC men, Constables McConnell and O'Donnell, who were killed in the attack on January 21, 1919.

In my youth I read about the ambush in Dan Breen's memoir, My Fight for Irish Freedom. I always wondered where the event took place and was surprised to discover the spot is within a mile of the Limerick-Tipperary road, a thoroughfare I have travelled for years.

While I was delighted to come on this historic spot, my mission on that particular day was to visit the farm at Cullen. Realising I was lost I called auctioneer Matthew Ryan who told me I was at the wrong side of the N24. I crossed over and after 2km met him near the village of Cullen at the rear entrance to Ballybrenogue house and farm that is the subject of an executor sale.

Coming with entitlements of €12,800 per annum the auction is guided at €9,000-€10,000/ac.

The farm was farmed up to two years ago by its owner, a bachelor who was passionate about farming.

He built a massive array of fine sheds over the decades and turned the place into an organic operation a number of years ago.

The place was once a dairy farm and has a 14 unit milking machine and automatic feeders in a parlour that wasn't used for quite a number of years. With some modest investment it could be returned to the same use. The land is all around the house and yard except for a 22ac portion across the road that is serviced by an internal roadway system.

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The ground is in great order having been well looked after by the current tenants.

After the owner passed away in 2014, the farm was returned to conventional farming and fields where kale had been grown were reseeded.

The traditional farmhouse.
The traditional farmhouse.

The ground is in the main elevated land that is fit for early and late grazing. It is home to some fine stands of trees and hedgerows that could do with a bit of trimming.

It rises to a lovely height, especially at the far side of the road where it has plenty of road frontage and great views over the countryside.

Matthew Ryan took me through most of the fields and even after the recent inclement weather, the ground is holding well and carrying stock from bull calves to mature cattle. The paddocks are supplied with water from a private well.

Farm buildings

The yard is a sight to behold and while the buildings are dated they are structurally sound There are no slats but there is a 170,000 gallon slurry tower.

The main yard is laid out in one block in a series of big A-roofed sheds that include four 60 by 20 covered silage pits, four 60 by 22 cubicle sheds, eight calving boxes, a bull pen, a 60 by 25 calf house, a three-column haybarn and a four column machinery shed. There are also a number of stone outbuildings.

The house is a solid two-storey traditional farmhouse in need of refurbishment. The accommodation includes three reception rooms, four bedrooms and a bathroom.

The farm will be sold as an entire or in two lots with the house and yards on 104.95ac making up one lot, while 22.68ac across the road making up the second lot.

Mr Ryan says there is plenty of interest in the lots and the entire with the keenest interest coming from the dairy sector.

As we made our way back to our cars after walking the farm our chat returned to the happenings at Soloheadbeg and Mr Ryan informed me that his own family played their part in the nation's revolution years.

"My grandfather, Paddy Kelly from Ennis drove the car carrying de Valera when he escaped from Mountjoy.

Whatever about the history, he will be hoping for an historic price when Ballybrenogue is sold at auction at Ballykisteen Hotel, Limerick, Junction, Tipperary at 3pm on Wednesday, November 15.

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