Airfield Estate is a charitable organisation established by the Overend Family in 1974 for educational and recreational purposes. 38 acres of outstanding natural beauty, a working farm, gardens and a cafe is all tucked away between rolling fields and a fairytale woodland. It sounds like something out of novel, but it exists and nowhere epitomises it more than Airfield Estate, Dundrum Co. Dublin.
We arrived on a rather crisp dry November day for the Santa Experience, to say we were excited would be an understatement. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Every year gets more magical and I’ll never understand how people lose that.
Our day began writing and posting our Christmas letters to Santa Claus. The room was filled with Christmas trees and decorations. There was no denying the magic of Christmas was in the air. The elves skipped around chatting with everyone, posing for photos, face painting and helping the kids post their letters.
Dylan was very overwhelmed and a little over excited at first. It all became a little bit too much for him. When I am in this situation and in an unfamiliar place I need to figure out what the day entails and how structured it was going to be. I started chatting to an elf who gave me the breakdown of the day, I quickly informed the Elf that Dylan did have Autism and if we needed to go at our own pace would that be possible? I was reassured straight away and my mind was to put to ease. The leader elf who would be with our group reassured me if I needed any help or assistance to simply ask her. It was very comforting that they understood and offered a helping hand. Any parent to a child with a special needs can relate to this kind gesture.
Next stop was a walk through the beautifully decorated grounds to meet the main man himself in the beautiful setting of Airfield House. Santa Claus was sitting in an arm chair in the lounge room surrounded by a large fireplace and a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. The children sat cross legged and a little star struck. They listened to stories from Santa and his elves. Santa came around to say hi to everyone before handing out presents. He called each child up by their name, this added such a magical and personal touch. Dylan’s face running back says it all.
There was plenty of activities to keep us busy. Next we moved on to making Christmas decorations and decorating gingerbread men. We even got a family photo sitting inside a sleigh.
We took a little break in the Mrs Claus’s cafe. I could have spent hours lounging and dosing perched on these benches. Endless cups of hot chocolate and some cheeky mulled wine was consumed and let’s not talk about the homemade cupcakes. We watched the sun dipping behind clouds and the trees rustling in the wind, it was so incredibly calming and I savoured every moment. It is the simple moments like this with Dylan that I cherish.
Personally for me I was super excited to explore the grounds at Airfield Estate. The rolling fields, animals and stables, it was picturesque to say the least. Dylan loved seeing the baby lambs and calves. So much so, they have been added to his Santa wish List. Not quite sure how Santa will manage this one?
To finish our magical Santa experience we took a trip across the grounds on their magical polar express train. Dylan was a little hesitant at first as he can be nervous around this type of activity, but when I explain it was the same as his favourite Christmas movie The Polar Express he was more than happy to jump on. We may have even broke into the Hot Hot Chocolate song to help him out and put him at ease.
We finished our day by warming our bellies with a delicious classic soup in the on site Restaurant. It is a beautiful light filled surroundings with a view of the reflecting pool, animals grazing and fruit and vegetables growing in their Kitchen Field. It was a perfect end to a magical day.
I am itching to return to the peace and quiet of Airfield Estate. Looking back over these images makes me realise what a truly special destination that has been created, designed and opened up for us to experience and enjoy.
If you are looking for a magical Santa Experience, be sure to check out Airfield Estate