Lonely Planet Writer

Get the wellies out! How these Cork farm tours are offering a uniquely Irish experience

Tourists from across the world are making their way to southwest Cork in Ireland to experience something rather unique. While many of those based in rural Ireland may have had plenty of experience pulling on wellington boots and getting homemade scones and jam from Granny – it seems that there are many more out there who want to get in on the action.

Consisting of a group of five family farmers, West Cork Farm Tours have opened their farm gates to tourists who’re looking to get an authentic adventure in the countryside.

Based along the stunning coastal route, Wild Atlantic Way, the farmers – three dairy, one suckler and one pig – believe that these tours offer tourists a special chance to meet and interact with locals.

Texans Denis
On tour with farmer Denis O’Donovan from Glandore Image by Donal O’Leary

“I just believe that it is a completely authentic Irish experience and a window into everyday Irish Life. The farms are all family owned for generations and farming is a massive part of Irish life,” Neil Grant, General Manager of the Celtic Ross Hotel and one of the supporters of the project, told Lonely Planet.

“Not only that, it is a real grassroots food production experience on a working farm. The landscape is second to none and the guests will meet real Irish people going about their everyday life.”

Tommy Moyles, Ardfield, Co. Cork.Photo: Donal O' Leary
Tommy Moyles, Ardfield, Co. Cork. Image by Donal O’ Leary

The five farming families involved are John Joe and Theresa O’Sullivan, Garrane, Rosscarbery; Willie and Avril Allshire of Caherbeg Farm, Rosscarbery; Michael and Marguerite Crowley, Bauravilla, Skibbereen; Tommy Moyles from Ardfield and Denis and Colette O’Donovan, Glandore.

Each tour is tailored to the season and the rhythms of the working year but you’re guaranteed to get a behind the scenes look of working farms and enjoy the hospitality of the families in their kitchen and visitor centres.

Texan Tommy
Texans on tour with Tommy Moyles from Ardfield. Image by Donal O’Leary

“West Cork is slightly off the beaten tourist track in Ireland and this experience has captured overseas guests’ imaginations and as a result, it is bringing people to West Cork that previously would have bypassed it,” continues Neil.

“It is also extending our tourist season.  All farms will provide wellies, rain jackets and a hot refreshment making it an ideal activity even if the weather is not 100% perfect!!”