The most dangerous speech you can make is the ‘thank you’ speech. An omission can destroy years of good work and burn up a lifetime of goodwill.
once got sound advice on this from an old parish priest who said, “mention no one and you’ll miss no one”.
At the risk of irritating friend and acquaintance I have decided to kick off 2023 by selecting my ‘farm of the month’ for each of the 12 months of 2022.
The criteria for selecting the winners is influenced by certain factors, including scale, fertility, facilities, potential and price.
January – Home advantage counts
You don’t need to be a farming guru to know that this is the era of the Golden Cow when all things dairy have Midas-like powers.
Farm of the month for January is situated in the heart of Limerick’s dairy country. This 148ac working residential dairy farm at Breska, Clarina bounds the farm where my late mother was born and reared.
While this had no influence on my designation of the farm as the top of the class for January, it didn’t do it any harm. The land is made up of top-quality, elevated grazing ground in neat paddocks fenced by a mix of mains electric fence, stone walls, natural hedgerows and serviced by an internal roadway.
The farm buildings include cubicle accommodation for about 140 animals, a 14-unit milking parlour with automatic feeders and a 10,500l bulk tank. The residence is a traditional, hip-roofed farmhouse with a self-contained annex.
The private treaty sale was handled by GVM’s Tom Crosse, and the place sold to a West Limerick farmer for around €2.85m.
February – 140ac Louth ‘billiard table’
Dairy farmers didn’t have it all their own way and a 140ac tillage holding at Carstown, Termonfeckin, Co Louth described by Stephen Barry of Raymond Potterton as “a billiard table” and “a ploughman’s dream” made over €12,600/ac.
In two lots of 79ac and 61ac, the property has frontage on to two roads and is tilled from boundary to boundary. At auction it sold as an entire to a tillage farmer for €1.775m.
March – There’s gravel in them there fields (for €44,627/ac)
In West Cork the preferred method of sale is private treaty but in a rare foray into the auction room in early spring, the gavel nearly melted in the hand of John Hodnett during the sale of a 57.7ac residential farm.
Located at Knockaneady, Ballineen, 16km west of Bandon, the tillage farm came with a traditional house in need of attention, a dated farmyard and land with substantial sand and gravel deposits.
At auction the money on offer quickly overtook the guide and it went on to make €2.575m or €44,627/ac. The successful buyer was a businessman with an interest in aggregates.
April – A Swift ascendancy, an 18th-century house and a 21st-century yard on 341ac
This 341ac farm near Baltinglass in Co Wicklow dates back to the 18th century and was owned by the Dennis family, direct descendants of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels.
It changed hands in 2019 and is back on the market.
The property includes an 11-bedroom Georgian mansion, two lodges, a steward’s house and a ‘herder’s cottage’, while the grounds include a lake with an island and a renowned collection of trees.
The farm was a dairy operation for about 60 years and was farmed for tillage and grass for the last number of years: 145ac produced crops of beet, barley and maize, 125ac is in permanent pasture and 71ac is in parkland and meadow.
The extensive range of modern and traditional farm buildings includes 220 cubicles, slatted units and an 18-unit milking parlour.
Joe Kinsella of Kinsella auctioneers is guiding the sale at between €4.5 and €5m.
May – Primrose blooms in spring as 152ac holding makes €4.1m
The aptly named Primrose Park is a 152ac tillage farm at Kilsallaghan on the Meath /Dublin border, 5km from Ashbourne.
It has a substantial 1970s house on mature gardens and a small yard.
The land is in 10 large fields and bounded by a local river, which forms part of the county boundary.
With frontage on to three roads, the land was planted in winter crops when auctioned in May.
The equestrian sector was expected to have interest since the legendary Arkle was trained across the road.
Indeed, a local equestrian family won the day when the property made €4.1m under the gavel of Pat O’Hagan of Savills.
June – La Bella Vita on 250ac by Lough Derg
Bellevue House on 250ac is at the centre of a renovated estate at Coolbawn on the Tipperary shores of Lough Derg.
Dating from 1750 the property was bought in 1997 and the main house was fully renovated, with features including a cinema.
Many of the outbuildings were restored and the place has a small farmyard.
The land includes 50ac of mature woodland and 70ac of commercial hardwood forest. The rest is in grass.
There is 2km of frontage to Lough Derg where the estate has a jetty and a boathouse. The private treaty sale is being handled by Colliers and is guided at €4.8m.
July – 234ac Kilkenny grass farm sells for €3.1m
One of the biggest farms to come on the market in Kilkenny was this 234ac residential holding at Columbcille, 1.6km from Thomastown.
Laid out in large fields and fenced by traditional hedgerow the land is sound but could do with reseeding and general tidying.
Located at either side of a road, the major part of the farm is in grass with 30ac in forestry.
The house needs renovation while an extensive yard of old and relatively modern buildings has accommodation for up to 90 cattle.
Initially on the private treaty market it was brought to auction later in the year where it made €3.1m under the hammer of Joseph Coogan.
August – Equine winners and top pâté at 31ac Galtees gem
August can be a quiet month on the property front, but it can also be a time when little gems of places come into their own.
Knockara Stables, a lovely compact equestrian holding at Emly in Tipperary’s Galtees, includes a stone house and a small stable yard on 31.3ac were bought and renovated by Maria Mulcahy and her husband George Durrheim in 1989.
It became home to an artisan food operation producing ‘Knockara Pâtés’, and it made headlines when Maria and George bred Knockara Beau, winner of the Cleeve Hurdle in 2014.
Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes handled the sale and the property went sale agreed for a price believed to be ahead of its guide of €575,000.
September – 182ac Meath estate has it all
It isn’t often you find a large working farm with a habitable period house.
Parkstown House, a 182ac tillage estate with a period house and wide range of farm buildings at Ballivor, Co Meath has it all: an active tillage holding with the infrastructure for a beef finishing operation and plenty of dairy potential.
On the edge of Ballivor, the property includes a six-bedroom house built in 1777.
The majority of the land is in tillage; this year’s crops included winter wheat, winter barley, oats, oil seed rape, potatoes and maize.
Three grass fields are fenced and watered for livestock. The yard can accommodate 550 cattle with matching space for fodder, machinery and the capacity to store 3,000t of grain.
An auction handled jointly by Savills and Loman Dempsey Property Consultants saw the place make €3.15m or €17,300/ac.
October – No expense spared for man or beast at €6.8m Offaly stud
Shining brightly among a wide range of top-class properties facing the hammer in October was Lumville Stud near Edenderry in Co Offaly.
The 218ac is one of the series of Derrinstown Stud farms. Nothing was spared in the kitting out of the residential and equine accommodation, while its equestrian record includes 41 winners in Group 1 races.
The property includes a main residence and two staff houses. Three stable blocks accommodate 58 loose boxes in American-style barns.
There are three isolation boxes, modern barns and sheds, a vet room, a lunging ring, two horse walkers and livestock-handling facilities. The land is laid out in a series of neat stud-railed paddocks.
Lumville was sold at auction by Coonans for €6.8m, exceeding its guide by €2.5m.
November – 220ac ‘farmer’s farm’ in Galway
In Bolisheen, Corundulla, Co Galway a 220ac roadside sheep farm came on the private treaty market in a sale handled by veteran auctioneer Martin Tyrrell.
Described as “a farmer’s farm”, the place comes with €31,000 in entitlements and is guided at €2.5m.
It was originally a winterage farm for a large Mayo concern and 45 years ago became the home farm. It carries a flock of about 1,000 and is perfectly laid out as a sheep operation.
December – Shannonside ruin on 116ac sells for €1.65m
Doonass House on 116ac on the banks of the Shannon at Clonlara, Co Clare made €1.65m under the hammer of Richard Ryan of GVM Kilmallock, in one of the last auctions of 2022.
The house is a ruin, but in its day it was one of the prime estates in the environs of Limerick city. Built up by descendants of a Cromwellian soldier, it changed hands over the centuries and was destroyed by fire in 2009
One of the largest parcels to come on the market near the Treaty city for some time, it is made up of mature grassland with some old woodland fronting the Shannon near Doonass Falls.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/farm-property/farms-of-the-year-a-month-by-month-look-back-at-some-of-the-stand-out-land-sales-of-2022-42244429.html Farms of the year – a month-by-month look back at some of the stand-out land sales of 2022