Horse power: Ploughman comes to town


THESE DAYS when people tell you they are “going to Dundrum”, they are normally bound for its shopping centre, one of the most modern malls in Europe.

But hundreds of people have made their way to Dundrum this bank holiday weekend to step back in time and watch horses and ploughmen till the fields of the Airfield House urban farm in the traditional way.

Watching heavy farm horses plough and till a field under the shadow of the high-rise buildings in Dundrum was a surreal experience.

“I ploughed here for my father but it’s decades since this patch was opened and it is great to be back here showing how the job is done,” said ploughman Tom Nixon, whose father worked as manager of the estate for the Overend sisters who left the farm in trust for the public.

Over the weekend, Tom, who runs a company called Trojan Heavy Horses, in Athenry, Co Galway, is ploughing, tilling and rolling three of the Airfield’s 35 acres so that it can be reseeded.

He said a ploughman would be expected to plough an acre of ground a day and this was as much as a team of animals could be expected to do, especially if the ground was heavy.

“This patch has been fairly compacted by traffic and machinery and it is heavy enough, but ploughing with horses is the most ecologically perfect way to handle the soil,” he said.

The demonstration continues tomorrow and next weekend.