Strong international interest expected for one of Ireland's most expensive farms


Ballymacoll Stud, Co Meath
Ballymacoll Stud, Co Meath
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Ballymacoll Stud near Dunboyne in Co Meath, is to be sold at auction next week.

Set on 294ac, Ballymacoll is a world-renowned equestrian holding and is best known as the birthplace of the legendary National Hunt chaser Arkle.

On the market by private treaty for some time, the property is now to be sold at public auction and can be bought in three lots.

While an exact guide price was not available at the time of going to print, the selling agents hope the sale will realise between €6m and €8m.

The property is situated 7km from Maynooth and 3km from Dunboyne with access onto a quiet country road on two sides of the estate.

Ballymacoll was built by Henry Hamilton towards the end of the 18th Century and over the years had many owners and tenants including the Irish Army who occupied the farm during World War II. In 1946 it was bought by Dorothy Paget who never visited Ballymacoll but actively built its equestrian reputation until her death in 1960.

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It was then bought by industrialist and philanthropist Michael Sobell and his son-in-law Sir Arnold Weinstock who paid £250,000 for it.

The stud farm was managed for the Sobell-Weistock partnership by Charlie Rogers who concentrated on breeding from a limited number of top-class mares and targeting the Classics.

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Willie Coonan of selling agents REA Coonans Maynooth says that for over 50 years Ballymacoll Stud has a huge reputation in bloodstock circles: "It has bred 30 individual Group 1 winners internationally including Classic winners Troy, Sun Princess, North Light, Helen Street, Conduit, Spectrum and Sir John Hawkwood who won a Group 1 at Randwick."

The farm's most famous son, Arkle, was born at the farm in April 1957 and went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Leopardstown Chase in '64, '65 and '66, the Irish Grand National in '64, the Hennessy Gold Cup in '64 and '65 and the King George Chase in '65.

Equestrian facilities

In terms of equestrian facilities the stud has 62 stables set in a lovely ivy-clad Georgian courtyard on a site that incorporates everything needed for a top class equestrian operation.

The facilities include a lunging ring, exercise yard, tack rooms, veterinary room, fodder storage, office space and staff accommodation.

Set apart from the rest is an isolation farm with six boxes and a hayshed.

The substantial manager's residence is of Georgian construction and incorporates three bedrooms and two reception rooms. Other accommodation includes three staff cottages and a gate lodge all in very good condition

The land extending to almost 300ac is all in pasture and made up of the best of Co Meath land.

At auction, the farm will be offered in three lots with the first lot comprised of 269ac along with the main residence, two staff lodges, 56 boxes and ancillary buildings.

The second lot will consist of the isolation farm of 25ac with a three bedroom bungalow, six boxes and a hayshed. The final lot is comprised of the entire.

Willie Coonan is expecting huge interest. Knight Frank and REA Coonan are joint agents in the sale.

The property will be auctioned at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin at 3pm on Tuesday next, June 27.

Indo Farming

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