Leahy’s Open Farm is a family owned and run farm near Middleton, Co Cork. My sister has been a few times, bringing my daughter as well as her own, so I decided to try it out for myself with my daughter (9) and my nephew (5).
Eddie and Eileen Leahy originally ran it as a traditional Irish farm before opening to the public in the 1990’s to show their collection of antique farming machinery. They added a coffee shop soon afterwards and the venture has grown and grown from there.
When we first went in, we wandered through several rooms of old farm machinery, cooking and cleaning equipment, and school supplies. Rather than being laid out in glass cabinets like a museum, the artifacts are set up in rooms as they would have been used back in the day.
It’s not a guided tour, so you can take your time and find out about our past, or if the small ones don’t have the patience, you can move quickly on to the farm itself.
First up is a Crannog (old Irish cottage), then crazy golf. I’d like to say we didn’t get competitive, but I’ve been told I shouldn’t lie in these articles. There’s an old fire engine (popular for photos) and Eddie’s collection of vintage tractors, ploughs and other equipment.
Then come the animals. We saw pigs, one of which had just given birth to 13 piglets that morning. We also saw sheep, goats and cows in one area, while another had smaller animals like hens, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, snakes, etc.
Every couple of hours there’s petting time, where kids (and brave adults!) can pet and hold some of the above. A must for the kids is the barrel train – a convoy of half-barrels on wheels towed around the farm by a quad. It’s safer than it sounds!
After that, we had lunch in the coffee shop – nuggets & chips for the kids, a wrap for me, all of which was excellent. A nice touch is that all the cakes in the shop are made in-house, not bought in.
We then headed back out for pig racing (hilarious), more animals (camel, alpacas) and the maze (which isn’t as easy to negotiate as I thought!). There are also pedal go karts and an obstacle course, all of which we made full use of before hitting the all new chocolate and ice cream factory.
Here, they make their own chocolate products and ice cream from the cows on the farm. The ice cream is excellent and the chocolate fountain is very tempting (I managed not to stick my face in it. This time.). We finished off in the small playground.
By the end, the kids were full, happy and tired. The farm is really well laid out and suitable for toddlers up to 12 year old’s (older kids might be a bit bored). They have done a great job of mixing the quaint, old-style farm with a family feel and new playgrounds, equipment and spotless eating areas.
Entry is €9.50 per person, free for kids under 2 and includes all of the above except crazy golf.
Obviously food in the coffee shop and the chocolate factory is extra, but I found the whole place great value for money. We spent 4 hours there and went on almost everything once. You could easily spend the day there, bring picnics, etc.
Leahy’s farm also cater for birthday parties, and have special events at Christmas and Easter.
Overall, I’d highly recommend it. For more information, check out their website.