278 dairy acres in east Cork

WHAT can you say about this farm at Leamlara, Co Cork — except to say that it has it all.

It has a sheltered valley location, it’s almost 280 acres, it has an enviably large milk quota, and an address that’s just 20 minutes from the Jack Lynch Tunnel.

And it’s for sale at a time when land is the only sector of the property market where business is being done — and where activity has been boosted even further by the possibility of EU income support starting from a clean sheet in 2014, in CAP reform proposals due on October 12.

Caherduggan Demesne has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. It was part of a number of estates held by the O’Callaghan family of Duhallow, who moved to this area of east Cork in the early 18th century, at about which time Caherduggan House was built.

This simple five-bay Georgian house was lived in by the O’Callaghan’s at least up until the 1911 census.

It then passed through a number or hands, and there was one owner who made good the roof on the old house, but never got around to restoring the handsome old building, which never had running water or electricity installed. The land, however, hasn’t suffered the same neglect, and for more than 20 years, it has been farmed by an extended family who created a modern, thriving dairy enterprise at Caherduggan. While the old house has been allowed to fall into ruin, an big dairy farm has been erected beside it, with a range of sheds, milking parlour, storage areas, silage tanks and pits and feed stores, all to a high level, and all easily workable.

This farm has excellent grazing stretching from the yard at its centre, in large paddocks, easily accessible by a solid central roadway.

The land is top quality, with stands of mature timber which help create a gentler micro-climate which protects the paddocks.

Nearer the house, there’s a fine shelter belt of old trees which shield the yard from sight.

With its 278 acres, Caherduggan Demesne offers a rare opportunity to purchase a ready-to-go operation in one of the best farmland quality areas of east Cork.

All around, there are large, modern dairy enterprises — this location has a lot of serious farmers.

This farm was never broken up. In 1870, Cornelius O’Callaghan of Caherduggan owned 253 acres, a shave under the present day holding.

Add in the 229,000 gallons of milk quota — and you can see how auctioneer Christy Buckley is seeking offers over €14,500 per acre for the land, including quota.

He’s already fielding calls from up the country for this farm, because — like Lisselan, Clonakilty, which sold fairly promptly this year — large, high quality dairy farms are as rare as hen’s teeth, and farmers know when to jump.

In this case, there’s a strong chance that the bidding will easily top the overall guide price of €4 million, because a walk around the demesne will show that it really is an exemplary property.

Clean, ordered and well maintained, this is a farm of happy, productive cows in a sheltered valley within minutes of Midleton, and just a quick drive from Cork city.

What more could you want? Christy Buckley is offering the property for sale by private treaty at the moment, and has already walked some clients through.

It officially hits the market this week, and the brochure outlines the details of the sale.

Caherduggan Demesne comes with three modern bungalow residences, one of them a dormer bungalow, and all of which are in excellent condition — and the ruins of Caherduggan House.

The farm has a 20-unit automatic milking parlour, a number of excellent sheds with total capacity for 325 head, all with mats and automatic scrapers, hay sheds, feed stores and miscellaneous storage options, as well as a 400,000 gallon slurry tank and three silage pits.

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