Thursday, 21 July 2016

Fun for all the Family at Lurgybrack Farm

By Denise Henry, Marketing Assistant, Inishowen Tourism
Today's visit takes me to the wonderful Lurgybrack Farm, Donegal, a popular destination with both visitors and locals. On arrival you will be greeted by a spacious car park and directed via a path and signage to an inviting entrance with a large court yard. Immediately there is a sense of space and energy as school children buzz in and out of play areas and what appears to be rooms with animals inside. On site there is a cafe and shop, where I am greeted by Sharon, a staff member at Lurgybrack who gave me a warm welcome and an umbrella to fight off the rain.

Undeterred by the weather I venture out and explore the exotic bird display, followed by a room next door which houses some ridiculously cute animals, including guinea pigs and bunnies, pictured above.  

"No Matter What Age You Are There is Something for Everyone"

Leading on from the main courtyard you will pass a number of indoor facilities, which include spacious eating and play areas to a large outdoor complex. This section of the farm is full of attractions. The first to catch your eye will be a large play area with a range of swings, slides and other features suitable for any age group to enjoy. Taking in the sheer wealth of space and facilities on site it is unsurprising that on any particular day it is possible to hold up to 12 birthday parties on the grounds.

In the distance you will notice a number of paths leading to animals grazing in green lush fields. In this area you will be welcomed by the quirky sight of a type of barrel train. This fun and unique idea is one of many that you will encounter at Lurgybrack Farm. At the helm of the train I meet Paddy O'Loan, pictured above. Paddy has multiple roles at the property, which includes everyday maintenance of the grounds, care of the animals and entertaining visitors by driving the quirky barrel train around the property at intervals throughout the day. 

Learning About Animals at Lurgybrack Farm

Before speaking with Paddy, I take the time to wonder around on my own. Expect to feel like a child again, as you navigate around the grounds and encounter a collection of farm animal favourites like the Shetland pony pictured above to the gentle and majestic deer pictured below.

Animals on the grounds range from the powerful Clydesdale, to Jacob sheep, goats, pot belly pigs, chickens, ducks, geese and much more. Among the more exotic animals and new additions to the farm are the Emu, native of Australia and Llambas that originated in North America. At each point you will notice information panels which allow you to learn more about each colourful creature.

“Whatever the Weather Lurgybrack is a Great Location for all the Family” 

After meeting with Paddy he tells me a little of how Lurgybrack came about. Seven years ago an idea was formed "over a pint at a local pub" during a charity event and since then Lurgybrack has gone from strength to strength, with "some family's returning 2/3 times a year". School tours are also extremely popular due to an engaging list of activities, among them "milking the cow" pictured above. In regards to development at Lurgybrack, a current project underway is to expand the canteen to facilitate the needs of a growing number of visitors.

What struck me in particular at Lurgybrack was the efforts in place to ensure that the grounds are wheelchair accessible, including some of the playground equipment and vehicles used for providing tours of the property. Lurgybrack is full of surprises, from the scale of the property to the range of activities, facilities and animals on display. You will leave Lurgybrack having had a memorable experience, that was both fun, engaging and educational.

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