Tell us what inspired you to get involved in haunting
Halloween is an ancient Celtic Festival that marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Historically the main spiritual place that it was celebrated was called Tlachtga (nowadays the Hill of Ward) and this in only three miles from our farm. Because of this Samhain or Halloween has a very special place in our hearts and in 2005, we decided to run a Halloween Experience for families to mark this link. Gradually we realised that people actually wanted to be scared more than anything so we rethought our event and we have a family event called Pooka Spooka in the afternoons and the very successful Farmaphobia for teens and adults in the evening.
What’s the history of your haunt?
Farmaphobia first opened in 2010 with a mixed bag of outdoor and indoor haunts and over 3,000 visitors came that first year. Since then we have come a long way, both in confidence and ability and we attracted over 25,000 visitors last year.
What’s the most exciting new concept or area you’re adding or incorporating in your haunt this year?
We have two new haunts this year - one is called The Facility - a medical concern, which should make the patrons very concerned indeed! The other is called Evilution - where a very nasty collection of creatures have evolved to terrify the guests. These two new haunts will join the three returning ones - The House of Dolls, a nasty dolls house themed creation which we launched last year, The Mutation Morgue, our oldest haunt which never fails to deliver along with the Field of Screams, an 8 acre corn maze which will be completely updated this year.
If you could permanently transform into one character, who would it be and why?
Anne of Green Gables!!! I am not a haunter at heart ... I am far too nice!
When’s the last time you got really scared in a haunt?
Being in the business, I am not easily scared, but there is a very big guy in Alton Towers who shook his rather portly frame very close to me and totally freaked me out!
Are there any concepts or trends you are hoping to see this coming season?
While I come from a tech background, I find that the more raw and low-tech the actors and sets are, the more real they are and I suppose realness is what impresses me most when I visit haunts.
Why do you attend HAuNTcon?
It is great for getting new ideas and networking with great people. Because we are from Ireland, it is easy to chat to everyone without anyone feeling that we would be competing or being too inquisitive! I particularly love the haunt tours.