A pumpkin patch on a farm in Ardrahan, south Galway, that proved a big hit with families last year, will open for its second season this Halloween.

The pumpkin patch, which is based in Ardrahan, will open on six dates later this month. Adults and children can go along for a fun Halloween-themed day out that features much more than pumpkin picking. Activities will include fancy dress and Halloween-themed games, with farm animals on site.

Galway pumpkin patch is operated by Caroline Whelan and her husband Gerry Quinn. The patch is located on her family’s historic sheep and cattle farm at Castletaylor demesne in Ardrahan.

Last year we were procrastinating about opening the pumpkin patch. We could see they were so big in the US, and Halloween was getting a lot more popular here, but we thought maybe we were a bit far off the beaten track and needed to be nearer the city.

“However, I think the fact we are quite rural is all part of the allure. It is an excursion for families to come and visit us. People are enthralled by the space available for the kids to run around. We have customers come from all over the country, and are so grateful to everyone who takes the time out to visit us.”

 Simple, rustic, outdoor experience

The Ardrahan woman believes that we are all now living such fast-paced lives that the pumpkin patch is a bit of a reprieve for a few hours.

“I always say what we are offering families is a very simple, rustic, outdoor experience. There are no bouncy castles or computer games.

“It’s simple fun with farm animals on show, lots of amusing decor and picture opportunities and old Halloween games like snap the apple and toss the beanbag through the pumpkin. There is so much stimulation for children nowadays, sometimes it’s nice to pare it back to basics.”

She also thinks that people like the idea of authenticity.

“My husband who works full-time in his father’s fruit and vegetable business trades at a number of farmers’ markets weekly. They have got so popular; people love to come for their homegrown veg. Now they are being offered a homegrown pumpkin.

We are not one of the big supermarket chains. People can follow us on social media and see that Gerry takes great pride in his crop. Our pumpkins are grown and harvested with love.

Castletaylor is a working farm and the animals proved a huge hit with the kids. “Last year we showcased our vintage tractor, along with some sheep, goats and a Shetland pony. This year we are hoping to add a rabbit or two to the mix. We also have two special guests who make random appearances – a pair of alpacas.

“When you grow up on a farm, you forget yourself how much of a novelty that animals are to other children who don’t. We are really looking forward to the events and all we are crossing our fingers for now is for the rain to stop and a bit of fine weather to come our way.”

Galway pumpkin patch will open on Friday, October 18; Saturday 19; Sunday 20; Saturday 26; Sunday 27; and bank holiday Monday, October 28.

Tickets must be booked in advance at: www.galwaypumpkinpatch.ie. Also, check out Galway pumpkin patch on Facebook and Instagram.