It’s very possible that from now on, whenever the word “Skibbereen” is mentioned, it will be instantly associated with Olympic glory in the discipline of rowing.
Gary and Paul have become household names over the last month or so, and the home of the entertaining, silver-medal winning O’Donovan brothers is just a few kilometres to the southwest of an impressive 45-acre residential holding currently listed with Skibbereen auctioneer Charles McCarthy.
The farm, all in pasture, is in the townland of Reenamurragha, in a reasonably level and fertile section of the countryside just north of the main N71 West Cork artery (close to the Ilen Rovers GAA grounds at Church Cross), and about 6km to the west of Skibbereen.
“It’s a nice bit of land and it’s mostly south-facing as well, looking over towards Roaring Water Bay,” says selling agent Charles McCarthy of the property.
Looking southwest from this point, the fingers of land extend towards the sea, and the unique salmon-coloured tower of Kilcoe Castle (owned by film actor Jeremy Irons) stands out amidst the greens, browns and blues and beyond in the distance, the lighthouse on Fastnet Rock is a lonely, winking sentinel.
For many, this part of West Cork is the food capital of Ireland.
There is a great growing network of artisan food producers in the area, serving well-attended country markets in the nearby towns of Schull, Bantry, Leap, Ballydehob and Skibbereen.
Names such as Gubbeen, Bunalun, Durrus, Clóna, Glenilen and Milleens are some of the cornerstones of this vibrant sector.
This area has the best of both worlds, with a busy traditional farming sector (mostly dairy and beef), as well as a vibrant artisan-food production sector.
The farm has very good access, with a generous amount of public road frontage, according to the agents.
This makes it very useful should the next owner wish to dispose of parts of it, particularly if that owner doesn’t need the house and outbuildings.
The holding comes in two distinct parts. Lot 1 consists of a 20-acre residential portion. This is approached by a private laneway, and contains an attractive and large (1,800sq ft) traditional-style farmhouse, complemented by a range of stone outbuildings that hold potential for conversion to further accommodation.
The house itself is, according to the agents, in need of renovation, but appears to be sound. In addition, there are the necessary services, including well water and septic tank.
The land in this portion is described as “top quality” pasture land with extensive road frontage and good-quality water supply throughout.
Lot 2 is a 25-acre non-residential portion of good-quality pasture. Again, there is extensive road frontage for great access, and multiple options in terms of selling on or sub-letting. As with Lot 1, there a reliable water supply, say the agents, with a stream on part of the boundary.
The asking price sought is “in excess of €500,000” (€11,000/acre), say the agents.
There might be a degree of uncertainty out there in the dairying sector, but in this increasingly multi-faceted local agriculture scene, and with the options of the lots and the size of the holding in question, the interest appears to have spread wide.
It’s no surprise to hear that there is a good level of enquiries both for the separate lots and the overall package. So far, there has been an offer of “just under €400,000” for the entire property, according to the selling agent.
“There’s a house and old outbuildings that are in good order,” points out Charles, “which someone could possible sell off on an acre for €150,000.”
There are no entitlements with the farm. But it is an attractive proposition to suit a number of different-sized budgets. And the parish has two Olympic silver medallists!
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