The village of Sneem on the southern side of the Iveragh Peninsula (better known through its tourism-industry moniker as The Ring of Kerry) is known in Irish An tSnaidhm, meaning The Knot.
There are many stories behind the name of this alluring town but the title is most commonly thought to refer to the “knot” of the swirling waters where the River Sneem meets the currents of Kenmare Bay.
It’s a place of great beauty and history: It was the former home of the late President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh and it’s a stop-off point that is well-known to the millions of tourists who have passed through this blessed part of the world over the years.
Just 10km west of here along the rugged peninsula, a sizeable chunk of this much eulogised land is being offered for sale by Cork-based Barry Auctioneers.
Land quality in this part of Kerry varies according to the geological vagaries of the varying landscape that rolls, crags and plunges towards the sea by turn.
The famously unpredictable nature of it is far from the richer level pastures of the Golden Vale end of the county but it has its treasures nonetheless.
The 80-acre holding in question is in a typically scenic location in the townland of Bohacogram, approximately 2km off the N70 Ring of Kerry route, which twists and turns its way theatrically towards Caherdaniel and Waterville.
This property sits majestically surveying the surrounding countryside, as well as enjoying breath-taking panoramas of Kenmare Bay, the Beara Peninsula and Sherky Island.
Selling agent Tony Barry says that the property, which comes in one block, is “ideally suited to a sheep farmer” with its location and level of land quality.
That said, the farm might well suit someone looking for a good quantity of land involved in another farming enterprise. It wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility to use this ground for some summer cattle grazing.
The boundaries are secure, clearly-defined and, the agent says: “It’s very well fenced all around. This property is a unique holding, really. The location is amazing, it’s a large block of land and it really must be seen to be fully appreciated.”
On the face of it, this is a hillside farm with limited land quality, but reasonably large blocks of such land don’t come up on the Ring of Kerry Peninsula every day of the week.
Aside from the grazing qualities and the good accessibility of the holding, there are potential opportunities for the future, depending on who ends up being the next owner.
For a start, its stunning location off one of the country’s main tourist routes gives it the potential of being used as a combined farming/tourism venue.
There is already a strong and varied range of activities and attractions within a short distance of this farm.
These include water-based and land-based activities and any number of other complimentary tourism products would fit in well to the overall sophisticated tourism apparatus.
Indeed, the arrival of the ‘Star Wars’ circus to the area to film scenes for the ongoing series of big-budget American movies has guaranteed an upsurge in interest in this area from around the world.
Access to the nearby Skellig Islands, for example, has suddenly become considerably more difficult in recent times and that factor alone has already heightened tourism demand locally.
Significantly, the existence of a shed on site complete with an electricity supply would also mean that permission for a dwelling further down the line is a possibility that can’t be ruled out.
This may be of particular interest to someone thinking of having a hobby farm or a modest holding based on self-sufficiency rather than intensive productivity.
The property also comes with premiums, according to the selling agents, that derive from a number of schemes associated with the area.
The agents don’t go into any great detail on this aspect of the holding but say that figures can be provided by any potential purchasers who may be interested.
The guide price is a very reasonable figure of €280,000. At €3,500 per acre, it represents a very tempting investment opportunity for farmers and investors alike.
Despite the well-documented concerns of those in the dairying and tillage business over the last year, there has been a different narrative at play in the sector of the more marginal lands.
Here, prices have been following a more positive trend. It has become an increasingly common feature of all land sales that those with an eye to pure investment are getting involved in bidding on land of all kinds, from forestry to quality grazing.
While Europe remains in the doldrums economically speaking, it seems as if interest rates are going to remain at their very low levels.
All of this means that putting one’s money into land where a small percentage gain can be made once a year (either through rental income or through one of the aforementioned farm premiums) can make a lot more sense to an investor than leaving their money in a more traditional bank.
Bearing in mind that we’re living an era where some forestry land is fetching prices in excess of €5,000/acre, the price being asked for this piece of the Ring of Kerry seems like an offer that somebody at some point in the near future won’t refuse.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved