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After we last spoke with Maria Moynihan in 2018, we ended up on the cover of Irish Country Living Magazine! At that time, we chatted about our progress since taking over the original 40 acre mixed farm here at Drumanilra in Co. Roscommon, developing the organic farm, and opening the Drumanilra Farm Kitchen, our burger bar, café and farm shop in Boyle.

It was so lovely to speak with Maria again recently, as part of her catch up with some previous cover stars. It was great to be sharing the cover, this time around, with two other fantastic food businesses in our region, Nook and Shells, along with five other food, craft and tourism businesses around the country.  Lovely to see our foodie North West featuring so strongly.  Maria was interested to hear about what we have been doing since we last spoke, and how COVID19 has impacted on us, and our businesses.

For us, here at Drumanilra, the pandemic has meant that the opening of our new organic restaurants and farm shops in Carrick-on-Shannon and Strandhill, planned for 2020, have had to be postponed, as has the redevelopment of the Drumanilra Farm Kitchen in Boyle.  However, it has enabled us to focus fully on the farm, which we have now built up to 300 acres.  It has given us the opportunity to streamline farm production  and invest in farm infrastructure.  It also gave us the opportunity to launch our Online Farm Shop.  Throughout 2020 we provided a click and collect service at pop up locations in Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo and Longford, as well as nationwide courier delivery, for the organic meat and vegetables produced on the farm, including our pedigree, Dexter beef.

With restaurants and hotels closed in this challenging time, it was great to provide a route to market for other producers, as well as selling produce from our own farm.  It was a huge success, with many items selling out early each week, and the numbers of repeat orders growing steadily, which was lovely to see.

We took the decision to pause our Online and Click and Collect sales at the end of 2020 so that we could refocus our efforts on resurrecting the plans for the permanent restaurants and farm shops. With lock-down restrictions now tighter than ever, it looks like there will be further delays.  However, we still hope to open our Farm Kitchen in Carrick-on-Shannon in 2021, followed by Strandhill and the new development in Boyle not too far behind.  Fingers crossed we can get moving again soon!

The Irish Farmers Journal has long been a source of news to the Irish agricultural sector and the families who depend on it.  We really appreciate the interest they have taken in the work we are doing here at Drumanilra and look forward to sharing our post pandemic story with the team and their readers.  Thanks so much, Maria!