Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Laois gem with some historic ties

Loughill House, Lowhill, Ballinakill, Co Laois
Loughill House, Lowhill, Ballinakill, Co Laois
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

A guide price of €570,000 or €8,000/ac is being quoted for a 71ac farm which has just come on the market at Lowhill near Ballinakill, Co Laois.

However, Loughill House and lands are on the black and amber side of the county boundary in this border region between Kilkenny and Laois.

It's overcast and windy as I turn in the farm gate, a lovely traditionally crafted piece of ironmongery in bright red. The avenue leading to the house and yard has two fine fields at either side and the entrance to the yard itself is through an old stone arch.

Eamon Healy, a nephew of the late owner, explains that the house and yard is built on the site of a barracks, a building thought to have been destroyed by Cromwell, along with a stone church on the lands.

Indeed, one of the roads adjacent to the farm is known as Cromwell's road.

After tea, another nephew, Seamus Healy, takes me on a tour of the traditional two-storey farmhouse.

The dwelling, which extends to 1,487 sq ft, is in reasonably good condition and comes with PVC windows and central heating.

The accommodation includes an entrance hall, kitchen, utility, sitting room, dining room and a bathroom, while upstairs there are three bedrooms.

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The farmyard is dated and retains some of the features of the traditional courtyard such as a bell mounting. There is a series of stone outbuildings that include an old cowhouse, a cattle crush, a four-column haybarn, a garden, a concrete yard and a car garage.

The house and yard are at the centre of the farm and the land is all around in one block. It has over a mile of road frontage onto three roads and is divided into about 13 fields of permanent pasture.

Much of the land is slightly inclined with natural drainage and is consequently dry underfoot, although some fields bounding a stream running through the property are on the heavy side.

While the ground could do with some husbandry, a rub of a harrow, a touch of a roller and a few bags of fertiliser would go a long way.

The fences are natural hedgerow and could do with attention. There are many fine mature trees throughout the farm.

The holding is set in rolling countryside that is, in the main, populated by dairy farmers.

It is two miles from Ballinakill, while Abbeyleix, Ballyragget and Castlecomer are all within five miles.

It is expected there will be lively local interest in the place when it comes to auction at the Castlecomer auction rooms of Joseph Coogan at 3pm on Friday, May 8.

Indo Farming