“Causey Farm” is the name that came up over and over when I asked for Santa recommendations a couple of years ago, and this year we decided to go along and see if it’s really as good as everyone says it is. The quick answer: yes it is – it’s absolutely wonderful.
So what is it like?
We had booked for 3pm on what turned out to be a beautiful, bright crisp Sunday in December, and the hour-long drive from Dublin flew past with Xmas FM and the promise of Santa keeping the kids happy in the back of the car. We got there twenty minutes before our time slot, checked in, and had a look around the gift shop. We were told we were part of the “Reindeer” group, and that we’d be called by name when it was time to begin.
There were five families in our group, and we started our tour with cookies, mince pies, and mulled apple juice, then we walked through the farm to the stable where Mary and Joseph were sitting in the straw with their (real) donkey. Mary and Joseph were fabulous; engaging with the kids, funny, and chatty, and they somehow managed to get all five families – adults and kids alike – singing Away in a Manger together.
Next stop was a camel – sure why not – and then we were taken to Christmas Cottage, where we were shown how houses were decorated in olden days, and the children got the chance to stir the pudding and make a wish. It was beautifully done, and a very real step back in time.
After that we went to the Post Office where an elf chatted to the kids about good letters and not so good letters, and read out some examples. This all took place in a beautifully decorated barn, complete with what looked like a ten foot tall Christmas tree – the attention to details everywhere was gorgeous.
Then we were taken to the Elves’ Control Room, and saw their bedroom complete with elf-size bunk beds, and sitting room. Next was a visit with Mrs. Claus, who had the grown-ups in fits of laughter as she chatted to the kids, then we went on to the toy-room, which was one of the highlights of the trip. I won’t give away the details – I’ll just say the kids slide into the room, and it’s a delight. And even the kids with unusual names managed to find themselves on the lists.
We were taken through to Santa’s sitting room then, where Sparkles the elf told us Santa would make his entrance, and indeed he did – I won’t say how, but it was the highlight of the visit and the smallest is still talking about it.
In the next room, we were called up family by family to meet Santa, receive gifts, and get photos taken. There was no rush – Santa took time with all the kids – and he was everything an authentic Santa should be.
Afterwards we went to a mirror maze, and then on for coffee and cake in the café before going home with three tired, happy kids.
Where is it and how much does it cost?
Causey Farm is in Co. Meath – five miles from Kells, near a village called Fordstown – the directions are here.
We paid €14 for each adult and €22 for each child – the full price list is here.
So here’s the summary – first of all, what we loved:
The beautiful surroundings: old stone cottages, high-ceilinged barns, the decorations, the lights, the many, many Christmas trees, the authentic wooden furniture – it felt exactly like Santa’s home should.
The staff: all of the elves and characters we met were absolutely wonderful with the kids. We’ve all been to Santas who are being assisted by elves who really want to be somewhere else, but not in Causey Farm – they were gorgeous with the kids, ad libbing and chatting no matter what mad questions and comments came from the crowd, or how long any particular four-year-old kept them talking…
The gifts: my kids got crafty-type sets, and were delighted with them – there were two presents in each parcel.
Anything we didn’t love?
Not really. If I had to be picky, I’d say I didn’t love the coffee. Also it’s probably good to know that the tour is quite long – almost two hours in total. If you have very small kids, this could be tiring for them. In our case it was more to do with the older ones – I suspect my girls (9 and 7) were thinking “Come on, get to the present bit” after a while, but my youngest loved it.
In fact it made me realise that our days of being enthralled by elves and Mrs Claus might be numbered. But if Causey Farm was our final big Santa experience, it was a perfect note to go out on.