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.
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.
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…
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.
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!