The lands on the northern slopes of Inishbofin’s harbour have been continuously farmed for over 4000 years. Until the early 20th century land reforms, Inishbofin was part of the lands of a series of landlords – originally Irish chieftains but laterally Norman planters – with the island inhabitants being feudal tenants.
Among some of the island’s best land, the farm was part of the plot taken by the landlord’s agent who, in the 1700’s, built a house for himself up the fields using stone and slate scavenged from Cromwell’s Barracks on the opposite side of the harbour. Measuring approximately 7 acres and known locally as “Lacey’s” – after Paddy Lacey, its first island owner – it was one of five farms carved from that plot. The old farm cottage and shed were constructed in the 1900’s by the Congested Districts’ Board using beach gravel and cement and employing a shuttered concrete technique. Its stone sheds and the cottage porch (now Ireland’s smallest shop?) were added by Paddy Lacey.
The farm was purchased by its current owners, husband and wife team Anthony Harris and Julia Rowan, who have since developed its visitor gardens. With the help of volunteer Wwoofers, friends and family they have created a market garden growing a large variety of delicious and organically grown fruit and vegetables which they sell as primary produce and use as ingredients for Lacey’s Farm’s ever-expanding range of delicious artisan food products. Be sure to get a taste!