Padraic Cuddy found his business inspiration in Portugal before he brought it all the way back home to Co. Roscommon. More than a decade ago, after spending 10 months working on his new artificial grass company in the Iberian country, Padraic had a lightbulb moment.

Based on his Portuguese experience and after visiting a trade show in Germany, he believed Ireland was ready for a versatile and maintenance-free new product. “I’d worked with artificial grass in Portugal but when I visited the trade show, I met manufacturers from countries including China Israel and Holland.

“I saw the grass laid out in the exhibition hall and it immediately struck me that it looked like a grave. Maybe this could work in Ireland, I thought. People knew about astro-turf but were not familiar with other uses for artificial grass.”

Padraic Cuddy, Director of Class Grass

Padraic’s first customers were people looking to place the made-to-measure grass around graves, instead of using colder-looking concrete or stone. His clients soon included one of the country’s biggest graveyards – Glasnevin Cemetery – and Padraic knew he would need to expand his business.

Padraic says: “I realised there was loads of other great uses for the grass, from gardens to play areas in creches and schools, and even for use on flat roofs. People would see the product laid out and say ‘that’s class’ and Annita my wife very quickly said ‘there’s the perfect name’”.

Class Grass soon found a Chinese and Dutch manufacturer and began producing unique grasses based on designs on ideas from Padraic and his team. As well as different shades of green, customers use Class Grass to bring a twist of colour to their gardens and other projects. “We produce Class Grass in green, purple, blue, red, yellow and white,” explains Padraic. “It works very well in many different settings.”

In 2014, Padraic had another lightbulb moment. After making a toy ‘field’ for his then three-year-old son Tommy, he launched ‘The Field’ – a set of farm-themed toy fields (with artificial grass!) and complete with farm gates.

The Field toys

The product was an immediate hit and ‘The Field’ has been featured on RTE’s ‘Late Late Toy Show’ on five occasions, including during the 2020 show. Padraic says: “It was lovely to see Tommy (now nine) and our daughter Ava (seven) creating farm scenes with toy animals, having football matches and all sorts of other games. Children everywhere love these toys.”

With the help of a loan from the Western Development Commission, Padraic was able to launch The Field in the United States. “We are very thankful to the Western Development Commission as we simply couldn’t have launched into the US without the loan,” he says. “It’s important for businesses to know that they can access this kind of support and advice and that the WDC is prepared to give businesses a chance.”

The company today employs eight people including a full-time marketing manager who works remotely from the Aran Islands. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-9 pandemic, Padraic says Class Grass has continued to thrive and serve customers around the world.

The firm operates its Roscommon town warehouse on The Racecourse Road and its 3,000 sq. ft facility near his home in Castlecoote. There is plenty of room for expansion on a 13-acre field! He adds: “Not bad for a company based in Castlecoote, Co Roscommon! I am very proud of building up something from zero and we’re enjoying the success.”

Visit the Class Grass website

Visit The Field website