UNTRY Homes estate agent David Ashmore has made a brave claim while putting Clonmel’s Marlfield House to market with its €8m price tag, and planning in place for golf course, hotel conversion, and up to 146 residences.
He says appetite for such products “is very much back in demand”. Now, while a few top sales (such as Fota Resort last year for c.€25m, and which hosted last month’s Irish Open) show some demand for top golf resort product, the market for ambitious schemes which even have yet to be built has yet to be truly tested. Or tried.
In the interim, perhaps Sherry FitzGerald’s Mr Ashmore (with Christies of London), will meet more farmers and stud-farm operators than golfers and resort developers for this prime country home estate. On 390 acres of beautiful Tipperary tillage and grassland, it has Suir river frontage and fishing and sporting estate scope with a duck pond already in place — for those who’d shoot fish in a barrel.
Marlfield is the latest big house offer on Sherry Fitz’s country home books in this area, very close to Clonmel and along the Suir: It already has the Georgian 17-bed Knocklofty House (Hotel) for sale, guiding €2.75m on 55 acres, jointly with Cork’s Dominic Daly, and a further 45 acres can be had at Knocklofty for about €3m all-in.
The sheer acreage at Marlfield, 390 acres with parkland setting and farm buildings, is the big draw, hence the decision to offer it in up to five lots, as well as an entire.
It is being sold now by the Kent family, whose electrical business, founded in 1919, grew to a now-monolithic engineering firm, Kentz, employing 14,500 worldwide and still headquartered in Clonmel.
As an offering with planning in place for a Padraig Harrington-designed parkland golf course, Marlfield has had dream-team associations from its 18th-century get-go: Its original owner, a quite colourful landowner Col John Bagwell MP who had 5,000 acres at his disposal, used top architect William Tinsley to design the Palladian mansion with wide-flung wings on either side.
It includes a glasshouse and orangery by the even more celebrated Richard Turner, whose best curvilinear wrought and cast-iron work is in London’s Kew Gardens and Dublin’s Glasnevin/ Botanic Gardens.
Now, the classical over-basement/lower ground building is in good overall condition, with very fine interior and exterior architectural detailing intact including what’s described as an Adam-style fireplaces. Marlfield has up to 13 bedrooms, and three reception rooms plus lofty glasshouse with palms and ferns; the river setting is sublime.
Some of the land is zoned and serviced given its proximity to the town of Clonmel (2km) and it has planning for 70 houses, 59 of which are new and 11 are building conversions. Plus hotel. Plus golf. Etc.
Better return in farming and horses than golf, perhaps.