Until this year, I’d never been on a Christmas tree farm, and in the last fortnight, I’ve been on two: in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with my sister and her family and to Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm, just outside Roundwood.
Granted, at the first one I, er, stayed in the car. The baby was asleep! And I had an iced snowman cookie from Starbucks to eat while nobody was looking (Nash had pronounced that it was “disgusting”, which it was, but I ate it anyway.) So on my second foray – to Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm – it was pretty essential that I, y’know, got out of the car.
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Up on the farm, near Lough Dan just outside Roundwood in Wicklow, they’ve been growing Christmas trees for years – but this is the first year that they’ve opened it up to the public. Previously, they sold trees to trade, but now they’ve opened it up so you can drive on up, ramble around with all the family and pick out your fave from their massive selection.
We saw loads of families in Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm, having a good nose around and sizing up all of their trees (and several of them with dogs! I felt incredibly guilty that we hadn’t brought Coileán along for the ride). And they have loads, from cutesy three-footers to trees up to around 11 feet, priced at €8 per foot. I was so surprised and, I guess, kind of amused to learn that each tree grows at a different rate. We saw, right next to one another, an eight-foot tree and a three-foot tree, both of which had been planted at the exact same time.
Getting to Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm
We gave ourselves around an hour and a half to get to the farm from Dublin. Google Maps said 70 minutes, but I’ve been tricked by that before, so we erred on the side of caution (and filled up beforehand with Sunday brunch at a new favourite, Two Boys Brew). In the end, it took us around 50 minutes, and the views as you come off the N11 towards Roundwood are gorgeous, so it was a pretty lovely drive.
Picking out your tree
It’s simply a matter of figuring out your preference – pure green, or tinged with a slight blue-grey hue? Eight feet or 10? Wide or slim? (Insert obvious joke here.) You’re given a tag when you arrive, which has your name on it, and when you’ve selected your favourite, you simply peg your tag on and one of the lovely Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm staff members comes to chop it down for you. You do not, despite the above photograph, have to carry it down to your car yourself – it just seemed like a good excuse to make Stephen feel silly.
But he didn’t feel silly for long – because, in another moment when Rosemary did not understand nature: I walked into the line of trees and, looking down at some wood shavings from a recently chopped tree, said, “Oh my God, so weird – someone obviously dropped a pack of grated cheese on the ground.”
The wait – with mince pies!
We didn’t have long to wait for our tree to be chopped and wrapped, ready to pop into the car – I think it was ready in less than five minutes – but when your selection has been made, you take your little docket into the “house”: a cosy set-up with tea, coffee, hot chocolate and mince pies.
I’ll be straight with you: I love Christmas, but last year we bought our tree from a really unfriendly guy who’d opened a “pop-up” on the Luas tracks, and it kind of takes the good out of it. This was a really nice way to spend a Sunday: drinking hot chocolate, chowing down mince pies, and forcing your other half to pose for embarrassing photographs. Ah, Christmas!
We were invited to Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm to select a Christmas tree with no charge. When I offered to post to social in exchange, I was told, “there’s absolutely no obligation – we’d just like some honest feedback.” My honest verdict? It was really lovely, and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone looking for a fun family day out.
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