Leahy’s Open Farm Dungourney Continues Success

By Claire O’Donoghue

Donal Leahy and Teresa Leahy was presented with their 2019 RDS Spring Award

Leahy’s Open Farm have won the Sustainable Living Title at the RDS Spring Agriculture Awards which took place in the RDS on April 24. The Award recognises success, innovation and dedication to the Irish rural economy. Centred on agricultural enterprise, Awards focus on three main points of sustainability, environmental, commercial and community.
In business now for over 20 years, Eddie and Eileen opened up their farm to the public back in 1996, which was a big risk but one that has certainly paid off. Now in the hands of their son, Donal and his wife, Teresa the business continues to expand with innovative ideas, keeping visitors of all generations enthralled. There is plenty of fun for children with animal petting and feeding times, milking Daisy the cow, mini JCBs operation and of course, the playgrounds. Leahy’s have now started making their own ice cream and chocolate which, of course, is a huge hit with children and adults alike. They also offer workshops where delicious products can be seen being made, from cow to cone! The Nan’s Nook Museum provides a wonderfully realistic insight into historical farming and rural life in Ireland with genuine antiques household items and clothing from a bygone era. Everything culminates in a perfect day out on the farm experience for all the family.
Tom Kirley, one of the judges at the Spring Awards said, “The Leahy’s vision and dedication has helped transform what many would see as a relatively small family farm into a thriving business that is making a difference, not just to the Leahy’s themselves, but also to the surrounding area. They are proud to provide employment in their local community, giving many young people valuable work experience and also employment to more experienced people who want to get back to work by understanding the importance of flexible hours to people with families. They are an inspiration to many and highlight the potential of agri-tourism to make a transformative difference to the economic and social development of rural Ireland.”
Speaking with The East Cork Journal Teresa Leahy said, “We were absolutely thrilled with the win and didn’t expect it at all. Donal and I had to head in that direction anyway, so we said we’d go to the Awards and make a night of it. When our name was called we were stunned. I gave a loud hurrah of delight and I thought the others in the audience seemed a bit cool and calm throughout the night. It was only when we got off the stage that the judges asked had we not gotten an email before the Awards to say we had won! No, we didn’t! If Eileen and Eddie hadn’t made that decision to diversify the farm all those years ago, things would be very different. Donal and I are merely the caretakers of the Open Farm. It was their bravery and insight that made it what it is today. We have an amazing staff that are vital to the business. Many come to us as teenagers and stay right through college. We pride ourselves on our collaborative working partnership and have ear-marked the €2,000 prize money for a day out for all the staff.”
Congratulations to everyone at Leahy’s Open Farm for their continuing support of their rural community.