With more than 1,200 acres of land in total and an impressive Georgian pile in the middle of it, Kilcooley Estate in South Tipperary is a property of multiple aspects which will attract a lot of very different interested parties.
It was almost inevitable, then, that the decision would be taken to sell the property in two separate lots to address the two separate market segments that would be interested in this enormous holding.
Some 838 of the 1,263 acres are composed of mature forestry land. At the moment, this is being managed by a forestry management company, according to Roseanne de Vere Hunt of Sherry Fitzgerald Country Homes, who are selling the property jointly with Brian Carroll of Sherry Fitzgerald Carroll in Dundalk.
For the forestry lands, there is a certain specific market that is made up mostly of Irish-based forestry land specialists and individual investors in what is fast becoming one of the most popular sub-sectors in the agricultural land market.
The jewel that so many overseas buyers are after, however, is in the remaining 425 acres of farmland which contains the Georgian mansion and associated buildings of Kilcooley Estate.
The property was first built in 1790 with the express plan to have a good view overlooking 12th-century Kilcooley Abbey.
The original owners were the Barker family and later, the Ponsonbys — a colourful Anglo-Irish family who maintained ownership through the War of Independence and right up until 2006.
Since then, the property has changed hands a number of times. It was sold to Castleway International in 2008 for about €6 million.
When their development plans failed to develop, the property ended up in the hands of NAMA. Meanwhile, the forestry land was leased to Coillte.
Then, in 2013, Newry man Tommy O’Gorman stepped in and bought the property on 220 acres for €2.1 million.
He subsequently bought the remaining 950 acres that had been on long-term lease to Coillte for a figure believed to be in excess of €1 million.
The lot of 425 acres with the main house is of enormous interest to the American market, according to Roseanne, with many of them surely eyeing up the place as the next Ballyfin Manor.
“In the States, there’s a lot of obsession with Downton Abbey at the moment,” says Roseanne, “so anything that resembles that — and Kilcooley definitely has that look about it — is going to attract some interest.
“Since the start of the year, the Americans have really been the busiest of all nations that have been contacting us.”
Much of the characteristics of the interior have a more Victorian bearing — a result of fire-damage restoration in the 1840s.
The effect is impressive, with its two-storey galleried hall with glazed dome, timber panelling, delicate craftwork and cantilevered stone staircase leading to a large mezzanine.
Outside, there are various superb outbuildings also awaiting restoration, including the neo-Gothic boathouse by the private lake.
The land going with Lot 1 consists of 22.6 acres of pleasure grounds around the house, 6.3 acres of outbuildings (including two houses and stables), 200 acres of quality grassland, 118 acres of (mostly hardwood) forestry and lake and a further 90 acres of forestry to the rear that was planted in the early 1990s with Norway Spruce.
Access is good, with Thurles just 20km away, while Urlingford and the M8 are just a few kilometres from here.
The price guide for Lot 1 (Georgian mansion of Kilcooley House on 425 acres) is €2,750,000; for Lot 2 (838 acres of forestry) it’s €4,750,000 (or €5,700/acre); while the entire holding is listed at €7,500,000 to €8,000,000.
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