Fortgranite: A dairy farm on historic estates with a story to tell

While Fortgranite Estate, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, might seem to hold appeal for overseas buyers rather than the ‘average’ Irish dairy farmer, there has been interest from farmers in this country.

This is the case particularly for those from the east coast, according to Clive Kavanagh of Jordan Auctioneers, Newbridge.

“The buyer could be someone from overseas looking for a country estate but you also have cases where two farmers from the general periphery come together to buy bigger holdings,” Kavanagh said.

With the expansion of the dairy sector, people are bursting to get land. There are always ups and downs but farmers seem to be more resilient than others.

With a successful dairy enterprise having operated on the land for the last seven or eight years and an unusually large block of buildings, it’s attracting the interest of many who are drawn by the property’s potential, according to the agent.

Literary leanings

For sale in the first time in its history, Fortgranite is home to the Dennis family, whose members are direct descendants of Jonathan Swift, the eminent 17th century satirist and dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

Set in about 341ac of pasture, parkland and formal gardens – including an arboretum – Fortgranite is entered through a toy castle regency gate lodge, designed to replicate the family crest, and the boundary is largely walled.

The avenue meanders through parkland up to the main house, which commands views over the estate.

Fortgranite House is an imposing and historic country house built in the 1720s, remodelled in the 1870s and upgraded in 1969.

It is square in plan with a recessed bay to the front and a projecting and imposing Doric portico.

Living accommodation

The main house comprises approximately 11,802ft² / 1,096m² of living accommodation. The entrance hall incorporates an open fireplace which has an ornate timber surround and mantlepiece.

The drawing room and morning room, which interlink, are “entertaining rooms” and have views through a bay window over the formal gardens, a lake and arboretum. The focal point in the library is a marble fireplace.

The first and second floors are reached by a sweeping staircase which is a feature of the inner hall in the centre of the house.

On the first floor, there are six principal bedrooms and two bathrooms with views over the parkland and garden. There are a further four bedrooms and two bathrooms to the rear of the house.

Office potential

On the second floor there is a school room and further bedroom. The lower ground floor, originally the service floor for the house, includes a series of rooms which the agents said have potential for utility rooms, games rooms and offices.

Range of outbuildings

At the rear of the main house, is an unusually large traditional range of outbuildings, currently used as stores which have the potential, subject to permission, for a variety of purposes, according to the agent.

200-cow unit

Beyond the first range of buildings is a further assortment of traditional buildings, stables and coach-houses, currently used by the farming enterprise.

Further down the yard is a collection of modern buildings, which form the hub of the working dairy, which currently has facilities for a 200-cow unit.

The land is all in permanent pasture with shelter and piped or natural water supply to all fields. Land is laid out in about 20 divisions, with an internal road network giving access to all divisions.

Lodges

At the head of both the front and back drives are two small gate lodges, both of which have one bedroom. There are two further properties, known as the steward’s house and herd’s cottage, on the estate.

Surrounding the main house and radiating through the parkland are mature gardens which include a lake with island and a water feature, a former lawn tennis court and some of Ireland’s finest collection of Rhododendrons and living trees, collected over the years by generations of the Dennis family.

These are recognised in the Tree Council’s tree register of Ireland.

City accessible

The estate is just over 5km from Baltinglass, near the border with counties Carlow and Kildare. Dublin is 70km away.

With an asking price of €3.5 million, further information is available from joint agents Paddy Jordan of Jordan Town & Country on: 045-433550 or James Meagher of Knight Frank on: 01-6342466.

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