The farm that brings the animals to you!

Thank you to Aidan Coyle from Dublin Institute of Technology for sending us this lovely blog!

Wooly Ward’s is a mobile farm based in County Dublin. It is run by Mary Ward or “Scary Mary” as she likes to be known. She along with the rest of her team bring animals to different places so people of all ages can see them.


I asked her why she first set up the farm. She said: “ The idea came about 6 years ago during the recession. We brought 2 lambs to a Montessori school in Skerries during the Spring for the children to feed them.”


Mary said: “The 2 lambs caused a stir in Skerries with so many people coming to see them that I thought we were onto something. So, in June 2011 we set up our first Mobile Farm.”


Mary brings the animals around which she calls the Tardis. She said “All the animals have individual pens in the van and because they know the routine so well, they all hop into the van of their own accord.


She said: “When we are returning home they instinctively sense when we reach the end of the road and start a chorus of bleats and chirps as their excitement grows – they are so clever!”


Mary has been bringing the animals around for six years and she is much better at it now than she was when she started. “It took us about 6 hours to load the animals the first day. Now it takes us an hour!”


Mary thinks that the Wooly Ward’s can benefit people of all ages. She said: “We visit Montessori’s all the way up to Nursing Homes and everything in between. Petting animals is great therapy for everyone and the irony is that animals love to be caressed as well. All our animals are hand reared so they have no fear of humans. Of course, from an educational point of view, it is great for children to get up close to pigs and sheep etc.”

Check out the animals on RTE Today!

The animals had a great time at Newpark Nursing Home and a special visit from RTE Today.

We have been engaging with nursing homes over the past six years. and the farm regularly visits residents with a wide range of animals. Among those who visit nursing homes are small furries, poultry, and larger farm animals such as pigs, sheep, goats, and llamas.

How does it work?

Wooly Farm sets up in the nursing home residents’ day room to facilitate the petting as well as grooming of the smaller animals. The bigger animals are brought in at the end of the event to meet everyone.

Many nursing home residents are from farming backgrounds and visits from the animals facilitates reminiscing about their time spent on their family farms. Other residents simply entertain a huge love of animals, and have many stories to regale everyone with. For residents with Alzheimer’s, the animals bring joyful reactions, with sensory contact evoking a positive reaction. Residents find it very therapeutic and enjoyable to pet and hold the bunnies and chicks. Additionally, nursing homes are very proactive in engaging with Wooly Farm, and specialise in facilitating the experience the visit of the farm can bring to residents.

A recent visit to New Park Nursing Home, The Ward, proved to be a great success. Christine, the activities coordinator, quoted in her Facebook message

“Lovely staff and adorable animals. This year we got to meet 3 week old chicks, 10 day old lambs, and month old bunnies. Needless to say everyone had a ball petting, cuddling, and learning about these lovely animals.”

One of the many advantages of having the mobile visit in Nursing Homes is that it can generate excitement amongst the youth and elderly alike. Nursing homes invite residents relatives for the Farm’s visit. Grandchildren and grandparents enjoy wonderful interaction with each other and the animals, and create special memories. The pet therapy is effective as it brings people of all ages together, and memories of the visits are fun and ever-lasting.