When you mention Dundrum, Co Dublin, the majority of people will probably think of it as the location of one of Europe’s biggest shopping centres.
Well just a few minutes’ walk away from that retail mecca is one of the most idyllic locations in Dublin, the Airfield Estate.
I’d never heard of the estate before, but with the promise of open space, a farm and play areas to entertain two demanding young boys, we readily accepted an invitation to visit recently.
Firstly, it’s quite incredible to think of the geography of where you are. As you walk into 38 acres of beautiful grounds for the first time, you completely forget that you are also just 15 minutes away from the heart of Dublin on the LUAS. The tram stops just a short walk from the estate, a charitable organisation established by sisters Letitia and Naomi Overend in 1974 as a place of recreation and education.
What is most attractive about a day at Airfield is that it ticks so many boxes. It’s the perfect place to bring the family - children will love the opportunity to feed the animals, to enjoy the interactive play area or the Grey Barn, a special indoor/outdoor soft play space.
But equally, there is so much to attract the adult visitor, from the discerning lover of nature and all things horticulture, to the historian, or those who just love a long walk and the chance to get away from it all.
Our first port of call after arriving at just after midday on a warm and sunny Friday was the stunning Overend restaurant.
I challenge anyone to find a better place to lunch anywhere in Dublin.
With the produce supplied by estate’s own working farm and dairy, food gardens and food production tunnels, this was healthy eating at its most exquisite.
My wife enjoyed the chicken supreme and the most delicious carrot cake she had ever tasted for dessert. My salmon salad was delightful. The service, on a hectic Friday with every table full, was prompt and friendly.
On full stomachs it was time to tour the estate, admiring the vintage cars owned by the Overend sisters, the heritage centre, the farmyard and woodlands.
It was so enjoyable we lost track of time and hit the M50 rush hour traffic on the way back home. Never mind, it was well worth it.
FACTS: Airfield Estate is situated in Dundrum village, County Down.
The operating hours during August are between 9.30am and 7pm, with last admission at 6pm.
Airfield Estate’s admission charges are €10 for adults, €5 for children, with children under three entering for free. Airfield Estate annual membership and gift cards are available.
How to find Airfield Estate:
By Car: From M50 – J13 – R825 Overend Way. From City Centre – R825. By Luas Airfield is served by the LUAS Green Line. Exit at Balally stop.By Dublin Bus: Airfield is served by the 11, 14, 14C, 44, 44B, 75, 116 routes.
For further information log onto www.airfield.ie or follow Airfield Estate @airfielddundrum or www.facebook.com/airfielddublin