An enterprising Galway woman has decided to capitilise on the US trend of families attending a Pumpkin Patch to handpick their pumpkin at Halloween by establishing Pumpkin Patch at her family farm in Ardrahan, South Galway.
Galway Pumpkin Patch is the brainchild of Ardrahan native Caroline Whelan - a substitute primary school teacher and founder of an events business - and her fiancee Gerry Quinn.
Gerry has been growing pumpkins for his family business for 20 years - they have two fruit and vegetable shops in Ennis and attend Farmers Market in Moycullen and Ardrahan every week.
Caroline's father purchased the estate and this will be the first time that it has ever opened its gates to the public.
"We decided it was the perfect marriage because I am good at organising events and he has the pumpkin growing expertise." Caroline Whelan said.
“I have always felt the beautiful setting of our family farm would lend itself well to an event. There are a few pumpkin patches in Ireland but I noticed there were none in Galway so we decided to grow some extra pumpkins this year and set up this event." She added.
The idea appealed to the duo because of the space on the farm which is a good size and they also have good proximity to Galway being less than 30 minutes from the city and only 5 minutes from the motorway.
An incredible reaction
The Ardrahan woman has launched Galway Pumpkin Patch on social media with Facebook and Instagram pages and says the reaction has been incredible.
"There's always a bit of fear when you are starting something new but thank God the reaction has been absolutely fantastic.
“We have been blown away by the response to it so far. People seem to love the idea and there are lots of tickets sold. I think people like the idea of authenticity."
"I have a big interest in events and would definitely like to do more – It is something a bit different and we are all really excited about hosting Galway Pumpkin Patch on the family farm." Caroline outlined.
Keeping a tradition alive
Ms Whelan explains that there are four girls in her house, unfortunately, none of whom caught the stock bug, but how they are determined to continue farming in some shape or form.
“We are a nurse; two primary school teachers and an accountant, respectively. My parents were very into education – particularly my mother."
She acknowledged that farming is a tough industry in which to make a good living – but the flipside is it is "the most fabulous way of life."
"I won’t pretend to know a lot about livestock – and my Dad would agree with that –but I am determined to look elsewhere to keep the farm going," Caroline explained.
"I know my sisters feel the same – we want to keep it going because it is in our blood.”
Adults and children can come along for a fun Halloween-themed day out, which includes much more than just pumpkin picking.
There will be lots of decorations; fancy dress; games, and face painting. Tea; coffee and spooky treats will also be available on site between 10 am and 4.30pm.
Galway Pumpkin Patch will open to the public on Sunday, October 21 (now booked out) and over the Saturday and Sunday of October Bank Holiday Weekend (October 27th and 28th).
All details about Galway Pumpkin Patch can be found on its Facebook and Instagram pages.Tickets for the event can be purchased here. Queries can be sent to the event’s social media pages or to firstname.lastname@example.org