About the Farm Holding
Oysterhaven Farm and Biodiversity Reserve encompass 45 acres of woodland, farmland, and a large lake. The lands are coastal, support diverse habitats for birds and other wildlife, and are bordered by the beautiful Oysterhaven Bay. Emma is local to Oysterhaven and, in 2020, bought this farm in order to protect, restore and research nature in the community and beyond. The farm is a peaceful place to spend time and fosters an ethos of care and respect for people, animals, and nature.
Half of the farm is currently managed as a wildlife habitat, and there are lots of activities planned for the coming months to enhance these habitats. These include putting up nest and roost boxes for bats and birds, planting native trees, and creating walks through the woods, amongst others.
The other half of the farm is being managed as a series of permanent meadows, using organic and regenerative farming practices. Activities on this part of the farm involve planting and harvesting wildflowers and grasses, taking care of our two beautiful ponies, Hardy and Muffin, planting native hedgerows and wild bird cover, and keeping the yard and stables tidy. Over the next 18 months, we hope to also welcome a pair of native breed Kerry Cattle (a small and gentle ancient Irish breed) to the farm to help to manage the wild meadows.
The entire farm is part of a biodiversity research project, with partners at UCC and UCD amongst others. On the research side, there are opportunities for participants to get involved in monitoring nest boxes and camera traps, and ID-ing a wide range of plants and animals.
A Social Farming Day
- Grooming Hardy, our fluffy 21yr old Connemara pony who loves a good cuddle (and a snooze)
- Planting trees, wildflowers or grasses depending on the season
- Helping to plan and prepare for the arrival of our pair of Kerry cattle
- Helping to build a chicken coup and to care for chickensHelping to plan and build hives for native Irish honeybees
- Planting and maintaining a small orchard and vegetable garden
- Caring for our two ponies and keeping the yard and paddocks tidy and well-maintained (daily)
- Cutting wildflower meadows and harvesting wildflower seed (Oct)
- Creating a species-rich embankment by cutting back and harvesting bracken (Oct-Dec)
- Planting native trees and hedgerows (Nov – Feb)
- Planning, sourcing, and installing bird boxes, duck baskets, and bat roosts (Oct – Feb)
- Installing and monitoring wildlife camera traps (daily)
- Nature walks and biodiversity monitoring (daily)
- Building compost cubes (layering plant material and dung in cubes made from pallets) (daily)
- If there are other activities that are of interest let’s discuss them and come up with something fun that suits you
Oysterhaven is a small coastal inlet and a popular holiday spot. There is a watersports activity centre (run by Emma’s family), tillage and dairy farming, and beautiful scenery. There is an active Biodiversity Group and Community Association, as well as a number of youth initiatives run by the Activity Centre. Many of the residents have a strong interest in nature and in protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the area. On the farm I also work to monitor and protect wildlife with partners at UCC, UCD, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and BirdWatch Ireland, amongst others.