Bloom in the Park

Summer 2016 in Ireland will be fondly remembered for its eight consecutive days of sunshine in late May/early June and hotter than parts of the Mediterranean! These days also coincided perfectly with my first visit to Bloom, Ireland’s premier garden festival, held annually in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.


Bloom is where gardeners, horticulturists, landscape designers, and artisan food & drink producers showcase their creativity, hobbies and produce. Taking place in the Phoenix Park, Thursday 2nd June to Monday 6th June 2016 from 9am – 6pm, the festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Bloom is so much more than flowers and gardens, however despite the fact that I do not have green fingers, the show gardens are the highlight for me!

Covering a 75-acre site, the festival is divided into different zones. There is an amazing food village with so many great food producers like the Burren Smokehouse, The Dublin Cookie Company, The Chocolate Garden of Ireland and Irish Farmhouse Cheese (yum). There is lots happening in the ‘Bord Bia’ and ‘Love Irish Food’ tents. Great to check out Flahavan’s and O’Donnell Crisps too.  Glenilen Farm’s lemon cheesecake samples never disappoint – delicious. I had my first taste in West Cork and I have been hooked ever since. Visitors can also check out some great cookery demonstrations in the food village, I happened upon one of Ireland’s finest chefs, Rory O’Connell.

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All this and much more including newest attraction, the BBQ BLISS area that stays true to its name. After a burger, the ‘Bloom Inn’ full of handcrafted beers and spirits is the perfect place to check out.



A large stage area provides entertainment and live music. The RTÉ tent looks and sounds fab! There is also a good-sized children’s zone with plenty of action and competition prizes up for grabs. Lots of entertainment and Fun on the Farm for the young ones!

For fashionistas, a number of fashion shows are scheduled each day over the five-day event.

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There’s so much going on in Bloom (beekeeping, nurseries, outdoor retail, the Growfest stage) but for me, the show gardens are the best part. Twenty-three gardens designed and created, each with a unique concept under a ‘large’, ‘medium’ or ‘small’ category. Here are a few pics of my favourites…

Awarded Gold in the Small Garden Category, ‘The Legend of Tarzan’, is a miniature African jungle. If you look closely you’ll see the gorillas! Find out more here.
‘The Legend of Tarzan’
Gold in the Large Garden category for the The Savills Garden, ‘Face to Face’, designed to reconnect us with our environment and each other in an age dominated by social media. I like the way the pond looks like an iPhone screen!
‘Face to Face’
Gold in the Large Garden category for the Santa Rita garden, ‘Living La Vida 120 Garden’, bringing a taste of South America to Bloom. According to the designer, Chileans love enjoying food and wine Al Fresco (don’t we all) so the garden is designed to be a place to entertain and relax!
‘Living La Vida 120 Garden’
This beautiful garden also caught my eye, themed ‘Across Boundaries’. A Gold in the Large Garden category, it’s a representation of how the concept of Social Farming can play a vital role in therapy participants within the healthcare system. The photo doesn’t do it justice, there was so much more going on. Find out more here.
For the first time, two international gardens feature in Bloom. The Yi-Garden meaning ‘Garden of Friendship’, is my overall favourite. The garden originates from Yangzhou City in China and is known for its oddly layered rockeries.
The second international garden is from Chicago and themed, ‘Bridge the Gap’, which represents bridging the gap between Ireland and North America. The yellow band representing Ireland, the darker green band representing North America and Chicago and the blue features representing the Atlantic ocean. A Gold for this too!

Also at Bloom, organisations such as Goal and the Marie Keating Foundation collaborate with designers to create gardens to help promote their message. Goal’s Damascus Courtyard, themed ‘War & Peace’ symbolises the devastation experienced by the Syrian people in recent times. Attracting lots of attention, it was difficult to get a picture. Find out more about the garden here.

Goal’s Damascus Courtyard, ‘War and Peace’

Congratulations to Bord Bia for organising such a fantastic event. Hat tip to all the lovely Bloom Ambassadors too. Last year 100,000 people visited Bloom over five days. This year the number of visitors are +20% up on last year with one day left to go. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it!

Happy 10th Birthday, you’ve been wonderful. Looking forward to next year already!





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