Tuesday 21 January 2020

A decade of wild times at Secret Valley farm

Matylda Wardynska, Iwo and Lili Wieczorkiecz, Mya and Nadia Rosolek all from New Ross.
Matylda Wardynska, Iwo and Lili Wieczorkiecz, Mya and Nadia Rosolek all from New Ross.
Secret Valley staff members John O'Doherty and Catherine Cox.
Stephen and Ellie Murphy, Barntown; Ruby Larkin, Ballymurn and Coleen Thompson, Raheenduff.
Grace and Tony Travers from Gorey.
Lenka, Verity and Eoin Corrigan, Wexford.
Susan Condron and her granddaughter Elaina Hall from Wexford saying hello to 'Penny', a whire fronted brown lemur.
Jack Reynolds, Sam and Jack Berry, Sarah Berry and Abby Reynolds, all from Glynn.

By david looby

THERE were wild celebrations at Secret Valley wildlife park in Clonroche for the tenth anniversary of the popular farm.

Opened by John and Ann O'Connor in 2007, the pet farm has grown year by year, having obtained its zoo licence in 2012.

Ann said: 'We have something back to people for supporting us.'

Everyone attending enjoyed a 10 per cent discount, along with free face painting for children and a raffle and door prize.

The venue was packed over the weekend.

'This is a family farm. My granny Ellen Doyle lived here and the farm is located on what is commonly known as Murray Hill. The pet farm was a diversification project as the land we were on was in disuse.'

It started off as an animal pet farm and is now a little zoo, featuring numerous animals including monkeys, lemurs, meerkats, raccoons, prairie dogs and macaws.

'We are unique in the region. There are other animal farms, but there is nothing like us.'

The wildlife park attracted 17,000 visitors in 2016 from across the country.

'Our expenses are very high and our business is very seasonal, but our income is improving,' Ann said.

The wildlife park employs up to 15 people, mainly part-time during peak summer months and is growing in popularity having focussed its attention on education, ecoology, school tours, hen parties and group bookings.

'There is never a dull moment,' Ann said.

Wexford People

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