West’s first official pumpkin patch gearing up for another busy season

Caroline Whelan, Galway Pumpkin Patch, Ardrahan, Co Galway. Photograph by David Ruffles

Caroline Whelan, Galway Pumpkin Patch, Ardrahan, Co Galway. Photograph by David Ruffles

Galway Pumpkin Patch will open for its second season over Halloween. The pumpkin patch, which proved a big hit with the public last year, the first of its kind in the west of the country, is based on a farm in Ardrahan and opens for six dates this year. Adults and children can go along for a fun Halloween themed day out, which includes fancy dress, Halloween themed games, and farm animals on site, and much more.

Galway Pumpkin Patch is operated by Caroline Whelan and her husband Gerry Quinn. The patch is located on Ms Whelan’s family farm at Castletaylor Demesne in Ardrahan and she is really looking forward to the event. “It’s always been a dream of mine to hold an event here and it is nice to see it realised.

Last year we were actually procrastinating about opening the pumpkin patch – we could see they were so big in the States, and Halloween was getting a lot more popular here, but we thought maybe we needed to be nearer the city. However I think the fact we are quite rural is part of the allure – it is an excursion for families to come and visit us. We had people come from all over the country and we are so grateful for to all our customers who take the time out to come and visit us.”

Castletaylor is a working farm and the animals have proved a huge hit with the children. “Last year we showcased some sheep, goats, and a Shetland pony. We also have special guests who make random appearances – a pair of alpacas. When you grow up on a farm, you forget how much of a novelty that farm animals are to other children who don’t. I always say we are a very simple, rustic, outdoor experience. It’s simple fun – old Halloween games like snap the apple and toss the beanbag through the pumpkin. There is so much stimulation for children nowadays that sometimes it’s nice to just go back to basics.”

The Ardrahan woman believes people like to see the story behind the growing of the crop. “Pumpkins have only become really popular in the past two or three years,” says Ms Whelan. “Before that I think people hardly knew they were actually grown in Ireland. I share pictures of the sowing of the seed and the progress the crop is making in the field and I think people like to see that side of it too. My husband, who works full-time in his father’s fruit and veg business, trades at a number of farmers markets weekly – markets have become so popular - people love to come for the home grown veg. Now they are being offered a home grown pumpkin. People can follow us on social media to get an insight into it.”

Tickets for Galway Pumpkin Patch can be booked at www.galwaypumpkinpatch.ie Follow on Facebook and Instagram pages for regular updates.

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