Airfield farm reopens in Dundrum

Working farm in Dundrum reopens after three-year renovation

Airfield Farm in the affluent south Dublin suburb of Dundrum officially reopened to the public in mid-April following a three-year, €11 million redevelopment.

The 15-hectare working farm in the heart of suburbia contains a newly-revamped farmyard complete with milking parlour where visitors can observe the Jersey dairy herd being milked, as well as a chance to meet pigs, sheep, chickens and donkeys.

The farm's garden has been redesigned by Italian garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd who grew up in Oliveto, north of Rome, before settling in England. Airfield's garden includes a fruit maze, a damson tree walk, an experimental vineyard and even a "fairy ring". Lennox-Boyd describes her design as incorporating "classical historic aspects of the Irish landscape in a more contemporary way."

Visitors to the waterside restaurant can enjoy produce made from the farm's gardens and orchards, offering "a real-life, living example of 'from farm to fork'," according to head gardener Kitty Scully. There are also indoor and outdoor play areas for children.

The farm's heritage centre recounts the story of Airfield’s original owners, the "Misses Overend", the Rolls-Royce driving sisters Letitia and Naomi. The Overend sisters established Airfield's non-profit charitable trust in 1974, bequeathing their estate to Ireland and using their farm for educational purposes.

The Irish Times reported that the Airfield trust sold two fields for €19 million during the Celtic Tiger boom, before buying both fields back for less than half the price in 2012. The profits were ploughed back into renovating Airfield.

Inaugurating the re-opened farm, Ireland's minister for agriculture Simon Coveney said he hoped that families visiting Dundrum shopping centre would cross the road to Airfield afterwards for “a reality check”.

The farm expects to attract 200,000 visitors this year. For full details as well as admission costs see website.

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