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