Ardmore Open Farm


The promoters of Ardmore Open Farm are Denis & Bridget Collins and their proposal is to develop an agricultural/tourism supporting enterprise. The end goal of their project was to create and establish Ardmore Open Farm and Activity Centre in Ardmore Co Waterford and to make it a unique experience which seeks to cater for the needs of the children, adults and tourists that flock to the area each year. The farm itself is located on 21 acres with 15 acres dedicated to open air grazing for animals with access for the public to numerous farm animals, rare breeds of animals and small animals. A purpose built building was constructed on site extending to approximately 6,500 sq. ft. which now houses a variety of animals, an indoor play facility, café and associated facilities. As the promoters live locally, they saw a clear need for the centre and believed that such a facility was required to provide an attraction for visitors to the area in a safe and supervised environment along with offering indoor facilities during periods of inclement weather.



To create an Open Farm with Play Centre in a tourist area which will provide a much needed facility in a popular sea side location. The centre will also:

-        Increase the overall tourism potential of the area

-        Provide a supervised and safe facility for visitors for 10 months of the year.

-        Provide an educational facility for visitors to the area in showcasing different varieties of animals that will be housed in the facility.

Main Activities:

-        Indoor and Outdoor play centre

-        Open Farm with different varieties of animals on show

-        Café and associated facilities

Rationale & Process:

The promoters recognised the need to develop the facility in order to enhance the offering available in the popular seaside village of Ardmore. Ardmore is an area which is popular with locals and visitors alike and is very busy at peak summer periods. In order to achieve this, they first had to secure the site where the open farm would be located. The lands were owned by the promoters’ parents who signed over the required 21 acres. The next step involved the planning process whereby the promoters applied for planning permission to develop the facilities and site which was subsequently granted. All of the above was conducted in conjunction with Local Authority and Waterford Leader Partnership. The site itself is located approximately 4 km from Ardmore, 14km from Youghal and 24km to Dungarvan. The beauty of this site is that it is located less than 0.5km from the N25 Waterford/Cork road is approximately a 45min drive to both Waterford and Cork.

Resources Required:

The promoters, Denis & Bridget Collins of the Ardmore Open Farm oversaw the project works from the beginning, which include the site works, the building and the selection of the animals that were to be housed around the farm.   Funding was sourced from private sources and a grant of 50% from Waterford Leader Partnership. This system worked well from the client’s point of view and they were able to repay the loan on time.

Challenges Overcome:

There were many challenges to this project, stemming from the following:

-        This was a relatively new concept for the promoters as their background is in farm business management and auctioneering.

-        They had a very dynamic working group involved with this project who had set clear objectives from the outset

-        Land acquisition formed a big part of the project and was required in order for it to succeed

-        The planning process was difficult as well as sourcing the stock


A dynamic business has been established in a rural area which works with the amenities on offer, i.e. the sea side village of Ardmore with its scenic coastline and bustling summer trade. There is huge scope and potential for further development going forward which can be seen from the growing numbers using the facilities on a daily basis throughout the summer and off peak also as the promoters offer summer camps, Hallowe’en parties, Easter Bunny Hunt and a Santa Experience at Christmas.

Lessons Learned:

LEADER funding through the Rural Development Programme made it possible for the development to go ahead. The tenacity of the promoters is testament to the development that now exists in Ardmore for both visitor and locals alike. It can also be seen that through sheer hard work and determination, a vision can be created and brought to life.

Additional Information:

As everyone knows, unemployment is a huge issue in rural Ireland and Ardmore is no exception. The Ardmore Open Farm will create 1 full time job and four part time jobs in year 1. In year 2, this will increase to 1 full time and 5 part time depending on how the business develops. To date, there are now 2 full time positions and 6 part time with extra required as and when needed.

Further information is available on


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