Farming

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Small is beautiful as local farmers battle for €430,000 holding

The contrast between the buoyant market for smaller parcels of ground and the sluggish performance of larger farms was in clear evidence at recent sales.

Last week's auction calendar included the sale of a 42.5ac non-residential farm at Ballyboy, near Kilcormac, Co Offaly, and two large farms with period houses of 18th-century vintage. Of the latter, one is set on 125ac at Cappawhite on the Limerick/Tipperary border, while the other is on 150ac at Carrick, near Mullingar.

The 42.5ac Offaly farm was alone among the three to sell under the hammer. It was bought by a local farmer for €430,000 or over €10,000/ac.

Located less than a mile from Kilcormac, 12 miles from Tullamore and 10 miles from Birr, the Offaly farm was described by Peter Scully, of selling agents GVM, Tullamore, as excellent quality ground.

All in grass and in one field, the holding enjoys between 150m and 200m in road frontage and is secured by good boundary fencing. Mr Scully opened the auction at €300,000 and with four local farmers bidding the price soon rose to €400,000.

It then proceeded in bids of €5,000 to €420,000, when it was put on the market.

Bidding continued in smaller amounts until the hammer fell at €430,000.

Cappawhite

A different scenario played out with High Park House, at Cappawhite on the Limerick/ Tipperary border.

The beautiful 125ac residential farm was put to auction and withdrawn without a bid.

After auction, a number of clients emerged from the packed room and are in negotiation with Pat O'Hagan of selling agents Savills.

The eight-bedroom de Vere Hunt house, built as a vicarage in 1724, comes with 125ac of good grazing. The farm is currently home to a suckler herd.

The property includes two farmyards, an older courtyard style configuration and a modern yard with slatted sheds. There are also cattle-handling facilities and machinery sheds.

Originally guided at €1.5m, the property is now for sale for €995,000. According to Pat O'Hagan, the packed auction room included parties seriously interested in the property but in need of time to organise their finances.

He expects the property to sell in the near future, but until then it is on the private treaty market at the €995,000 guide.

Further north in Co Westmeath, Carrick House and 150ac was also withdrawn from auction. The property is situated on Lough Ennel, five miles from Mullingar. The house and 30ac was offered as a lot and attracted one bid of €340,000, while the entire attracted a single bid of €1m.

Built in 1725 and owned at one time by the Fetherstone Haugh family, the house was latterly in the ownership of the Armitage family. According to Mullingar auctioneer, David McDonnell, the eight-bedroom, 4,500 sq ft residence is in good structural repair having been re-roofed and extensively re-wired.

The land, much of it laid out in parkland, is described as the best of fattening ground and also suitable for tillage and dairying. The estate is serviced by an internal road and has significant outoffices and yards, as well as a boathouse on Lough Ennel.

Mr McDonnell believes that the property will be sold in smaller parcels and he is in receipt of a number of enquiries in that regard.

Irish Independent