Airfield House reopens following €11 million revamp

The 38-acre Dundrum estate now had a new cafe, farm centre and horticultural gardens

Wed, Oct 30, 2013, 08:55

Airfield House and Farm in Dundrum, Co Dublin has reopened to the public two years after its closure for redevelopment.

The 38-acre estate has been revamped at a cost of €11 million, with a new cafe, farm centre, horticultural gardens and an upgrade of the stately home Airfield House.

The house was purchased in 1894 by Dublin solicitor Trevor TL Overend. He and his wife Lily had three daughters, Letitia, Naomi and Constance (who died aged one).

Their eight-acre holding grew over the years as the family purchased surrounding lands. When the two sisters died, Letitia in 1974 and Naomi in 1993, they left the house and farm in trust for the public.

The story of the Overend sisters is told through inter-active, audio-visual displays throughout the house. The first room contains their doll’s house and outfits from the time.

Another room holds images and memorabilia from their travels, another focuses on their charitable works, and the library, with its rare papier-mache ceiling and Italian marble fireplace, displays books and other original items.

There is plenty of opportunity for interaction; a rocking horse that plays a tune, a writing desk with a touchpad surface, drawers that light up and cluck when opened.

The house opened yesterday, following the opening of the cafe, which uses food sourced from the farm where possible, two weeks ago. The rest of the estate will open on a phased basis.

The woodland walks are scheduled to be available from next month. Next March the kitchen garden and new farmyard opens and in April the visitor and schools programmes begin.

When it’s fully up and running, entrance will cost €10 for adults,with concessions for children, older people and students.

That’s up from €6 pre-redevelopment, though there will be a 50 per cent discount until next spring. Annual membership for a family of four will cost €150.

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