Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to Airfield Estate Friday, May 12th and was given a warm Irish welcome by Grainne Kelliher, CEO of Airfield Estate, John Edmonson, Chair of the Trust and Ciaran McGettrick, Chair of the Board.
The Duchess spent time touring Airfield House,with guide Irene McGrane, hearing the history of the Overend Family and their life in Dundrum, going on to meet with the gardening and farming teams at the Estate, who walked The Duchess through day to day life on a working Irish farm. Her Royal Highness, guided by Head Gardener, Colm O’Driscoll, took a stroll through the extensive food and ornamental gardens at Airfield. An avid beekeeper, Her Royal Highness paid close attention to the Bee Garden at Airfield, which is planted to entice bees throughout the season and on the day featured an Observation Hive.
While there, Kirstie McAdoo, Head of Education, introduced The Duchess to children from Queen of Angels School in Sandyford, who were taking part in the Airfield Breakfast Club, where young people collect freshly laid eggs from the resident hens, and then see the farmer milking the cows. After a visit to the bakery, they return to the Education Kitchens with home-baked breads, and prepare and eat their breakfast with the food that is harvested from the land, birds and animals of the Estate. Her Royal Highness, who is a great supporter of community outreach programmes was impressed to hear that over 10,000 children take part in Airfield’s Educational Programmes each year, promoting healthy eating and helping young people to understand the origin, simplicity and great flavour of fresh, natural food.
The Duchess then joined another group of children sowing seeds outside in the food gardens, an activity that is done with many school visits to the Estate and promotes the growing of crops and flowers to students of all ages. Passing through the food gardens, which provide produce for Overends Restaurant on the Estate, Her Royal Highness paused to enjoy a quiet moment with Connell and Carrol the rescue donkeys, a favourite with the tens of thousands of visitors to Airfield Estate every year.
Her Royal Highness completed her hour-long visit with Airfield Estate Farmer Eamon Younge and families from the British Embassy in Ireland, joining them for a fun and relaxed farmyard tour, observing the Jersey herd and their calves, a tasting of the fresh, creamy Jersey milk and visiting the other farmyard residents the Gloucester Old Spot sow and her new piglets, the Boer goats and kids and the Connemara ponies.