It’s ‘eyes across the ditch’ time for a crack­ing west Lim­er­ick hold­ing

Irish Independent - Farming - - PROPERTY FARMING - JIM O’BRIEN

I NEVER tire of ad­mir­ing the won­ders of the Shan­non Es­tu­ary and my jour­neys keep tak­ing me back there. Ev­ery time I see that mighty stretch of wa­ter rolling qui­etly to the sea I’m re­vived and re­newed.

Last week, I walked a 135ac res­i­den­tial farm at a place called Bal­li­nacragga over­look­ing the es­tu­ary near Foynes in Co Lim­er­ick. The farm has amaz­ing views over the river tem­pered by a bird’s-eye view of the Augh­in­ish Alu­mina plant and the port of Foynes.

I trav­elled west from Lim­er­ick city along the N69 with GVM’s Tom Crosse. Af­ter pass­ing the turn-off for Shanagolden we took the next left for Bal­li­nacragga. Sat-nav and Google maps guided us in the gen­eral di­rec­tion un­til a lo­cal farmer showed us ex­actly what we were look­ing for.

He not only recog­nised Mr Crosse but knew what brought him to the area: “Turn around, take the next sharp left and travel for a mile or so. He’s wait­ing for you.” News of the im­pend­ing sale had leaked out even be­fore a sign went up.

The land sweeps up from the road that tracks the shore­line to the fields around Knock­patrick graveyard where the de­ceased of Foynes, Leahies and the sur­round­ing town­lands have an eter­nal view that even St Peter must envy.

We ar­rived at our destination and were wel­comed into the sturdy farm­house where cof­fee and home­made ap­ple tart were wait­ing on the kitchen ta­ble. We sat and chat­ted with the ven­dors, who told us they were more than con­tent to move on from ac­tive farm­ing.

Their two sons and three daugh­ters have grown up and are liv­ing as far away as Cork city and Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. As they say in west Lim­er­ick, ‘one of them has done bet­ter than the next’, and none of them wants to go farm­ing.

In­come

The place has been in the fam­ily since 1937 and is cen­tred around the sub­stan­tial Ge­or­gian house with an old cob­bled court­yard of cut-stone build­ings to the rear. The land is all in one block and ac­cessed and bi­sected by a paved lane, a shared right of way. There is also a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion mast on the farm sit­u­ated on ground that may be sold with the hold­ing. This gen­er­ates a valu­able piece of added in­come along with the €7,500 in farm pay­ments. The place is for sale by pri­vate treaty with a guide price of €800,000.

The house is an old 19th cen­tury two-storey con­struc­tion with a new roof. The ac­com­mo­da­tion in­cludes a din­ing room/ sit­ting room fea­tur­ing tra­di­tional dec­o­ra­tive plas­ter­work. There is also a com­fort­able fam­ily room, a fam­ily bath­room down­stairs and a kitchen with back-kitchen to the rear. Up­stairs are three bed­rooms all with lovely views.

The land is all around the house with frontage on two sides of the pri­vate paved culde-sac that also gives ac­cess by right of way to neigh­bours.

The ground is un­du­lat­ing with some steep in­clines in places. The up­per part is fine, dry ground while the lower ground can be softer with some rushes. The place has been farmed ex­ten­sively in re­cent years. Stocked with black white­heads, it has plenty of po­ten­tial for the more in­ten­sive farmer.

Auc­tion­eer Tom Crosse says the hold­ing is ideal for a young farmer want­ing to make the most of cur­rent op­por­tu­ni­ties. “A farm of this size, 135ac, is a rar­ity in west Lim­er­ick and I’m sure it will at­tract huge in­ter­est. As we heard on our ap­proach to the farm, the lo­cals are throw­ing their eyes across the ditch al­ready.”

The 135ac farm has views over the Shan­non Es­tu­ary near Foynes

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