They say what is rare is wonderful and the rarity Savills is bringing to the market in the form of Bellair estate is certainly a wonder to behold.
The 345ac farm at Ballycumber, Co Offaly, is a rarity given that it is a hybrid of a modern well-run commercial dairy operation combined with an exquisite period house and associated trappings.
Bellair Estate comprises an uncommon combination of assets, including a charming country house that dominates the area and is set within historic parkland and includes well-balanced and beautifully proportioned accommodation.
From an agricultural perspective, this is a turnkey purchase. And what a turnkey farming operation it is.
The 345ac (140ha) of land is in one contiguous block. A particular advantage of the estate is the extent and quality of the farmland and the fact it has been managed to such a high standard over the years. There is excellent infrastructure in place in terms of fencing, water and internal farm roadways.
While the estate and early-19th century house is from another era the farm is an extremely modern dairy complex with a 32-unit rotary parlour that has a covered collecting yard.
The winter accommodation for the entire milking herd is under one roof and comprises of 350 cow cubicles.
There is also a general purpose shed with ample silage slabs and slurry storage. The herd comprises of highly productive dairy cows and they are in the top 5% in the country for economic breeding index (EBI) with the herd having an average EBI of €191.
There are separate entrances to the main house and the farmyard. A five-bedroom modern house provides secondary residential accommodation and is located close to the yard and is presently occupied by the farm manager.
Also included in the sale is an uninhabited gate lodge which offers the potential for renovation to provide further accommodation.
It offers an abundance of further income generating options alongside the modern dairy unit and farm. The stunning seven-bedroom period residence that encompasses 10,117sq ft has a number of reception and dining or living rooms as well as an indoor courtyard and indoor swimming pool.
A series of old traditional farm buildings – which incorporate part of a castle that predates the principal dwelling – are located a short distance from the house. Included among these are a cheese plant and store rooms, estate offices and a barn.
Just inside the farm road entrance is a walled orchard and the estate itself is dotted with mature trees. Part of the land is on an elevated site that is visible from many parts of the midlands.
Bellair Estate has a deep history, from renowned owners centuries ago, to award-winning cheese production in more recent years. The most famous resident of Bellair was Sheila Beddington Wingfield, a poet who later became known as Viscountess Powerscourt and was leader of the Irish Girl Guides. Purchased by the Netherlands-based Baars family in 1980, Bellair Estate was the culmination of the late Mr Cornelis Baars childhood dream of being a farmer. He selected Ireland to establish his farming enterprise, creating a thriving dairy farm, along with a cheese making plant on the estate which lies on the border of Offaly and Westmeath.
With the M6 within 10km, the estate is pretty much equidistant from Dublin and Galway. Clara is 9km away and a 25-minute drive gets you to both Tullamore and Athlone.
According to head of Country Agency at Savills James Butler:
“Bellair Estate offers an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a large-scale, fully equipped modern dairy farm with a fine period house which extends to about 345ac and lies within a contiguous block.”
For sale as a whole by private treaty, there is a guide of €5m – or approximately €15,000/ac – on this estate. This is for the heritable assets with an opportunity for the purchaser to also acquire the livestock and machinery.