Laois country house bidding war nets €1.3m jackpot

Ballymullen House.
Ballymullen House.

Jim O’Brien

A marathon bidding war was fought out last week for a substantial country house and farm in Co Laois which eventually sold under the hammer for €1.3m.

A Kilkenny solicitor acting for a farming client was the last man standing after 103 bids for Ballymullen House and its adjoining farm of 126 acres located one mile from Abbelyleix.

Auctioneer Joseph Coogan took an offer of €500,000 to open the bidding and with four bidders in the frame the price quickly moved up to €600,000.

Bidding continued in offers of €20,000 and €10,000 and four parties were still interested when the property went on the market at €900,000. Three bidders remained when the property passed the €1m mark and two buyers fought it out when the property hit €1,005,000.

From then on progress was very slow with the underbidder waging a war of attrition until the property was eventually bought for €1,300,000 by Kilkenny solicitor Martin Crotty acting for a farmer.

Auctioneer Joseph Coogan was a tired but happy man after the bidding battle. "I was hoping we would pass the €10,000/ac mark but it can be hard to do that with a sizeable property like this," he said.

Dairy farmers are continuing to dominate the agricultural property scene at the moment, Mr Coogan said. He maintained that there is strong demand from this quarter for any sizeable blocks for sale or rent at the moment.

Mr Coogan has a number of letting auctions and land auctions coming up in the next few weeks and he said the vast bulk of the interest was coming from the dairy sector.

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Dairy farmers are renting meadows to feed the increased number of heifers they will have next spring, Mr Coogan explained.

But Mr Coogan said the real crunch in land availability will come in 2016 when milk suppliers have increased cow numbers and replacements to feed.

"I believe they will have to look at buying more land or leasing grazing ground. The impact of the ending of the milk quota on the land market is only beginning," he said.

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