The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is continuing to buy land in Co Wicklow, with the State body believed to have purchased more than 1,500ac in the south of the county in recent weeks.
The mountain holding at Aughavanna near Aughrim extends to 1,520ac.
Although the sale price was not disclosed, it is thought that close to €1m was paid for the property. This equates to around €600-700/ac.
The Aughavanna deal includes the freehold purchase of 1,520ac, with grazing rights on 538ac of the property.
The grazing rights for the remainder of the lands are shared by a number of local farmers.
In addition, the property comprises around eight acres of enclosed ground. It is understood that the bulk of the lands are designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).
The Aughavanna lands run close to Lugnaquilla and are also adjacent to Glenmalure.
This latest purchase illustrates the extent of State activity in the land market, particularly for designated upland and blanket bog.
The NPWS confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal that it had purchased in the region of the 720ac (290ha) since 2020.
“This includes lands adjacent to national parks, lands for LIFE projects and turf compensation, as well as conservation measures,” a spokesperson for NPWS said.
The spokesperson declined to comment on the prices paid by the NPWS for these lands.
However, landowners indicated that ground bought by the State agency generally made from €500/ac to €1,000/ac.
The NPWS is already a major landowner in Wicklow. The Wicklow Mountains National Park, which extends to 54,000ac, is all in State ownership.
In November last year the NPWS took possession from Coillte of over 11,000ac in northwest Mayo. It is now included in the Wild Nephin National Park.