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About the Farm Swallow Barn The Granary Where we are Farm News
sheep and lambs
granary kitchen
lambs with boy
mushrooms
Dillon the Irish Setter
Vikings visit Wicklow at Wicklow Arts festival
Evening sunset at Ballard

We are now well into the lambing season of 2015, with many of the ewes back in the fields with their young ones. We are happy to say it has gone very well so far with very few needing much assistance or supplementary bottles. The weather is also similar to last year, dry with some spring sunshine, perfect to set the young lambs out into the fields. It is always heartening to see them start to gather into their little evening gangs and play racing games along the hedgerows, whilst their mothers tuck into their welcomed rations.

2014 started with the launch of our fb page https://www.facebook.com/ballardfarmholidays. This has proved a really fun way to upload pictures and info about different events and occasions throughout the year. We have reached over 100 likes now so a big thank you to all who have hit the l'ike' button and for the lovely comments also.

We had a large family reunion over the Easter break, filling the Barn and the Granary with 10 days of barbeques and sunshine. All the many cousins collected in the large shared garden for some ‘friendly’, tackles and swings and tree climbing. The kitchen extension in the Granary came into its own with the extra space in the living area allowing for all the adults to collect for an evening meal and get-together. This has encouraged us to update the kitchen in the Barn also. This is close to completion and will provide guests with a more contemporary kitchen and utilities area whilst complimenting the rural charm of the Barn interior. 

2014 also saw the first summer opening of a 12 ft Yurt, hand crafted by Louisa Sloan over the previous winter months. The Yurt now has a spring / summer location in the wildflower paddock overlooking the grazing sheep and SW valleys. It is the perfect place for some reading / writing, shade or shelter and with camp beds available it is open to all guests who might like to spend a night under the stars!

All the farm animals are thriving and well. A new addition is a very friendly Irish Setter named Dillon. After some initial and stern warnings by the wise old goose, Dillon has settled in very well and loves nothing more than to lie out in the sunshine after a run around the fields with Michael Sloan and his new four legged friends, Raja, the (sort of) Springer, and Jock, the Sheepdog.

With a cool start to May, June and July more than made up for it and we had a succession of some very warm days with temperatures in the high 20’s. It was an especially hot weekend when we sheared the sheep and one can only imagine the relief it must have felt to be rid of the heavy winter geansai. The summer continued dry and the Granary and Barn greeted regular guests and those visiting for the first time with plenty of sunny days. Trips to the local beach were enjoyed as well as keeping the local ice cream vans in business!

With always a busy and varied selection of local summer festivals to be enjoyed, our highlights would be the start of the Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow Harbour, Ireland's premier offshore biennial yacht race. The Wicklow Arts festival in May has an excellent programme of live events for all ages. Last year this included a settlement of 'Vikings' for the weekend. We did admire their A-frame tents after our experience building the yurt! The Tinahealy Agricultural Show is a great family day out and always takes place on the August Bank Holiday. If you are planning a trip to Wicklow, a good place to start is the www.visitwicklow.ie where you will find a comprehensive guide and calendar to local attractions and activities in the area.

We have also noticed a growing number of quality Cafes and evening dining opportunities opening up nearby. Brittas Bay Café is proving to be hugely popular and we are eagerly anticipating the soon to be opened café in the beautiful Kilmacurragh Gardens. This wonderful hideaway is an outpost of the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin, entrance to the gardens is free with guided tours twice daily at 12:00pm and 3:00pm and only 10 minutes drive away.

Many local cafes are now opening up evening menus in the latter part of the week including the popular Donnellis (Wicklow Town) and The Happy Pear (V)(Greystones). It is worth keeping an eye out also for the increasingly popular pop-up restaurant style experience. Killruddery House and Gardens offer an enticing al fresco style Thursday menu (May to September) whilst just down the road, the local Tap Café and Bar have started a monthly heritage food tasting night showcasing Irish chefs and local produce. Of course nothing really beats packing a picnic basket and exploring the beautiful landscape of Co Wicklow for yourself .Barbeques are available with both houses so you can create your own al fresco feast!

It is lovely to feel that extra bit of warmth in the sun and the lengthening days also. We look forward as always to the year ahead and hope our guests, old and new, enjoy the farm and all its daily happenings as much as we do!

© www.ballardfarmholidays.com Last updated: March 2015
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Email the Sloans