Situated near the famous Chetwynd Viaduct that spans the main road to Bandon (N71) about 5km from Cork city, one of the most anticipated portions of farmland in Munster this year has just been put up for sale with Keane Mahony Smith auctioneers.
The property in question is a 46-acre holding of excellent quality land situated at Knocknamalavogue, close to Cork, where all land types are very scarce, and where there is a very strong presence of progressive farming dominated by the dairying sector.
“There are no buildings on it,” says selling agent Anthony O’Regan, “but you’re in the heart of very strong dairying country. There are very progressive farmers in that area.”
Although it’s right on the outskirts of the city, there is quite a bit of agricultural land between it and Bishopstown.
The possibility, therefore, that development zoning will reach this holding is slim in the extreme.
At the same time, it is prime agricultural land that is just about as well located as any could be.
Add to that the rarity of the particular commodity (land almost never comes up for sale in this neck of the woods), and you have an overall package for which there is, in principle at least, a ready-made market.
For the many dairying interests in the area, it will surely be the one that they have been awaiting for some years — a missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle, if you will.
Dairying is on the rise once more, with milk prices climbing, backed up by falling productivity in certain key competitor countries. The outlook is beginning to look rosy and when that happens, good dairying land in coveted locations inevitably increases in value.
The Chetwynd Viaduct just down the road from here is a powerful relic from the steam train era.
Standing almost 30 metres tall, the viaduct was built in the middle of the 19th century by the same company that built the Crystal Palace in London.
Despite suffering bomb damage during the Civil War, it proved as unmoveable as it is impressive, and has become a challenge for lofting road-bowlers over the years. The highest attempt so far was from German national Hans Bohllen, who lofted a 794g bowl over the viaduct in 1985, at a sponsored event before a crowd of 10,000, clearing the top by mre than three metres.
The land for sale here has considerable road frontage on the Spur Hill Road, and it txtends to the dual carriageway section of the N71.
The property doesn’t quite touch the main road, however, as there is a stream running in between.
It is in this area that a small wooded section is to be found but this portion (about four acres) is the only part of the land that isn’t of top quality.
“Those four acres or so aren’t of any commercial value, but then you’re left with 40 plus very good acres.”
So how does one price such a Holy Grail?
Going by the latest agricultural land value report, prices are slipping downward at an almost imperceptibly gentle rate.
The latest figures from Sherry Fitzgerald indicated a decrease of 1% in average prices nationally in the third quarter of the year, bringing land values down by 2.5% over the first three quarters of 2016.
This farm, however, is expected to buck such trends, and the expectation is that it will certainly make €15,000 per acre.
“We’d be disappointed if it doesn’t make that,” says Anthony. “From the reaction so far, I think that it’s generally expected to make that kind of money.
“Here is an opportunity that will not come again.
The guy that buys this will own the last piece of land that comes up for sale here.”
Watch this space in Knocknamalavogue!
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