Castlewood Organic Farm is an IOFGA Certified Organic farm that now supports beef cattle, pigs and sheep, has its own kitchen garden for seasonal vegetables and hens for free range organic eggs.Read Our Review
Organic Tea Rooms
Enjoy a Cuppa & Freshly Baked Pastries
Organic Farm Shop
Organic Meats and Produce
Guided Farm Walks
Enjoy Castlewoods' Walking Trails
Swapping city life in Dublin for a farm in the Irish countryside might sound like a proper case of ‘living the dream’. For Dominic Leonard it’s an everyday reality. His life totally changed when he took over his retired uncle’s farm in 2000. Prior to that, he’d had a univeristy education in Theology and was working for a charity in the capital. Dominic had never farmed before, but when the opportunity came up to keep the farm in the family, it was a case of ‘sure, I’ll give it a go!’ As he says ‘I grew up in south side Dublin, not too far from the road going up to the Dublin Mountains, so I wasn’t totally divorced from farm animals. There was livestock all around us. But actually running your own farm and working with animals isn’t the same! It’s been a steep learning curve!’
Dominic’s uncle was a conventional farmer, with beef dry stock and tillage on the land. Dominic saw the potential of the farm as an organic enterprise and decided to convert. It took two years to complete the process, which he says ‘was resonably manageable’. Castlewood Organic Farm was born. The IOFGA Certified Organic farm now supports beef cattle, pigs and sheep, has its own kitchen garden for seasonal vegetables and hens for free range organic eggs. Dominic also grows his own organic feed for the livestock, with two combi-crops sown every year. One crop combines mix of oats, barley and peas while a second mixes wheat and peas. This highly nutritious blend ensures Castlewood Organic animals get the best of fully traceable organic feed from the farm during the winter months. After slaughtering in a local abattoir, all the meat is processed by Dominic on the farm. ‘We prepare our own meats and make all our beef, lamb and pork burgers here. All our meats and burgers are available in the shop.’ he says.
In 2003, Dominic managed to persuade his now wife Alison Duck to join him on the farm. Lucky he did, because Ally turns out to be a fantastic cook who makes jams, preserves and farmhouse baking for the Castlewood Organic Farm Shop and Tea Rooms here. Planning permission for the purpose built barn to house facilities was granted in 2010, but Dominic suffered a severe injury which meant everything went on hold until he recovered. The shop and tea rooms finally came to fruition in 2015. Open Friday Saturday and Sunday, the shop sells all the Castlewood Organic meats, burgers, seasonal vegetables and pressed apple juice from the produce grown on the farm, plus local honey and specialities from other producers in the area.
Castlewood Organic Tea Rooms, also open Friday Saturday and Sunday, showcase a simple menu of Ally’s homemade farmhouse soup, created with fresh vegetables from the kitchen garden, served with homemade brown bread. She also bakes pastries and cakes, perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. This is down to earth, just-what-you-want-when-you-visit-a-farm cuisine, which echoes the conscientious farming and environmental philosophies of this husband and wife team.
Castlewood Organic Farm welcomes groups and the general public to enjoy the lovely walking trails around the farm. Dominic says ‘We cater for school and college groups, agricultural students, farmers who want to visit an organic mixed farm, and tour groups who want a taste of rural life and to see a working Irish farm. We have two routes around the farm, and one is always accessible, depending on where cattle and other livestock are located.’
Walks on Castlewood Organic farmland are idyllic, with tree lined avenues beside the River Nore, views for miles from a high point at Coon Hill. Walkers catch glimpses of the livestock from this and other farms in the area, plus wild life like rabbits, pheasants, wild birds and the occasional red squirrel. You might see swans and ducks gliding peacefully on the river, while a glance upward may reveal a hawk or buzzard soaring high overhead.
Castlewood Organic Walking Trails are available to the public when the Farm Shop and Tea Rooms are open each weekend, March through to December. This is the place to enjoy a walk in the fresh air, then sustain yourself with some hearty farmhouse fare afterwards. Visits for groups take place at quieter times, and must be pre-booked. Lunch can be pre-arranged for group visits.