Farmers are paying up to €27,000/ac for land in West Cork

A 42ac farm at Rath close to Baltimore is for sale in four lots with a guide price of €10,000 to €12,000/ac
A 42ac farm at Rath close to Baltimore is for sale in four lots with a guide price of €10,000 to €12,000/ac
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

The trend in larger farm sales seems to have slowed somewhat. As is the norm in agricultural transactions, 10ac to 50ac parcels are the constant sellers.

Clonakilty auctioneer John Hodnett has been selling plots like this in a steady trade that has seen up to €27,000/ac paid by farmers for smaller pieces of ground.

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I was in beautiful West Cork last week to meet the aforementioned Mr Hodnett.

It was just before Storm Hannah made landfall and could certainly be described in terms of the calm before the storm as John took me on a tour of properties.

The fine April morning had the landscape looking its best and our trip took us back to Baltimore from where we made our way east taking in Glandore, the Galley Head, Ardfield and Inchadoney.

The auctioneer's phone never stopped, and while everyone from the local PP to the signage man sought a word with him, the majority of calls came from farmers looking for letting land.

Prices of €300/ac and more were mentioned without a quiver in the voices at either end of the phone.

Our first 'business stop' found us at a 42ac farm at Rath, 1.6km from Baltimore. The place is set in undulating land with road frontage on to three roads including a short stretch along the Clonakilty to Baltimore road.

Longer stretches front on to two side roads with one of the latter dividing 10.37ac from the rest giving double road frontage.

The land is generally of good quality but in need of attention. Laid out in a series of 12 fields and a haggard it rises to a stony hillock in the middle but the lower fields have the makings of fine summer grazing.

Home to a derelict two-storey farmhouse and a series of derelict farm buildings the farmstead is located at one corner of the holding where it has road frontage on to the main road and a side road. The buildings consist mainly of a four-column A-roof haybarn in an overgrown yard while the house is a traditional farmhouse in need of complete renovation or replacement.

"The presence of the house adds the value to the property," John pointed out. "It should be of help if an owner wants to apply for planning."

The private treaty sale is guided at €10,000 to €12,000 /ac and the place will be sold in four lots or as an entire.

The lots will include a 10.37ac piece across the road from the main farm laid out in five fields with substantial road frontage.

Further along the same road another 10.37 piece is divided into two fields and also has road frontage.

The house and yard with frontage on two sides are set on c 4.5ac while a 16.8ac piece fronting on to a road at the rear of the property is in four fields.

John expects some interest in the entire but believes the main focus will be on the individual lots.

Along the way my host told stories about every house, pub and old forge and tales of characters past and present.

He himself is known everywhere. On the road we met one of the great trad and folk guitarists of our time out walking with his kids.

The understated and gentlemanly Jim Murray calls Ardfield home when he isn't touring with Sharon Shannon, Seamas Begley and other greats.


Our journey then took us on to an 18ac holding at Ardfield about a ten minute drive from Clonakilty and not far from the lovely Inchadoney.

Located at Mountain Common the property is divided into a number of sections by two local roads leaving a farmyard at one side and a derelict house and outhouses at the other. The holding is guided by private treaty at €10,000 to €12,000/ac.

The farmyard is set on 2.5ac and consists of a four-column enclosed haybarn with a semi derelict lean-to and a lock-up, while further along the road is a 0.6ac parcel of land and a 5.8ac parcel with dual road frontage.

Across the road is the homestead consisting of a derelict house and a number of semi-derelict outbuildings on 9.8ac with extensive road frontage.

The place is offered in a series of lots with the house and outhouses on c1ac making up one with the remaining 8.8ac making up another. The farmyard on 2.5ac can be sold separately as can the 0.6ac the 5.8ac parcels.

"This is typical of what has been selling well around here," John said. "I recently closed deals for a 10ac parcel at the Youghals, Clonakilty made in excess of €22,000/ac, and 11ac piece at Ardglehane, Clonakilty that made €18,000/ac and a 12ac holding at Cruary West, Clonakilty that finished in a private auction and netted €27,000/ac. All these places were bought by local farmers," he said.

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