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Thursday 20 September 2018

It's 'eyes across the ditch' time for a cracking west Limerick holding

The 135ac farm has views over the Shannon Estuary near Foynes
The 135ac farm has views over the Shannon Estuary near Foynes
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

I never tire of admiring the wonders of the Shannon Estuary and my journeys keep taking me back there. Every time I see that mighty stretch of water rolling quietly to the sea I'm revived and renewed.

Last week, I walked a 135ac residential farm at a place called Ballinacragga overlooking the estuary near Foynes in Co Limerick. The farm has amazing views over the river tempered by a bird's-eye view of the Aughinish Alumina plant and the port of Foynes.

I travelled west from Limerick city along the N69 with GVM's Tom Crosse. After passing the turn-off for Shanagolden we took the next left for Ballinacragga. Sat-nav and Google maps guided us in the general direction until a local farmer showed us exactly what we were looking for.

He not only recognised Mr Crosse but knew what brought him to the area: "Turn around, take the next sharp left and travel for a mile or so. He's waiting for you." News of the impending sale had leaked out even before a sign went up.

The land sweeps up from the road that tracks the shoreline to the fields around Knockpatrick graveyard where the deceased of Foynes, Leahies and the surrounding townlands have an eternal view that even St Peter must envy.

We arrived at our destination and were welcomed into the sturdy farmhouse where coffee and homemade apple tart were waiting on the kitchen table.

We sat and chatted with the vendors, who told us they were more than content to move on from active farming.

Their two sons and three daughters have grown up and are living as far away as Cork city and Sydney, Australia. As they say in west Limerick, 'one of them has done better than the next', and none of them wants to go farming.

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The place has been in the family since 1937 and is centred around the substantial Georgian house with an old cobbled courtyard of cut-stone buildings to the rear. The land is all in one block and accessed and bisected by a paved lane, a shared right of way.

There is also a telecommunication mast on the farm situated on ground that may be sold with the holding. This generates a valuable piece of added income along with the €7,500 in farm payments. The place is for sale by private treaty with a guide price of €800,000.

The house is an old 19th century two-storey construction with a new roof. The accommodation includes a dining room/sitting room featuring traditional decorative plasterwork.

There is also a comfortable family room, a family bathroom downstairs and a kitchen with back-kitchen to the rear. Upstairs are three bedrooms all with lovely views.

The land is all around the house with frontage on two sides of the private paved cul-de-sac that also gives access by right of way to neighbours.

The ground is undulating with some steep inclines in places. The upper part is fine, dry ground while the lower ground can be softer with some rushes. The place has been farmed extensively in recent years. Stocked with black whiteheads, it has plenty of potential for the more intensive farmer.

Auctioneer Tom Crosse says the holding is ideal for a young farmer wanting to make the most of current opportunities. "A farm of this size, 135ac, is a rarity in west Limerick and I'm sure it will attract huge interest. As we heard on our approach to the farm, the locals are throwing their eyes across the ditch already."


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