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Republic of Ireland
Showcasing the best from Ireland’s horticulture and food industry, Bord Bia’s annual Bloom festival takes place for five days over the June bank holiday weekend, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Bloom continues to blossom and grow each year as Ireland’s largest garden, food and family festival, attracting over 100,000 visitors.
Launched in 2007, by Bord Bia (Irish Food Board), The Bloom festival was primarily developed as a promotional vehicle for amenity horticulture; providing a showcase for garden plants, garden design, construction, horticulture and gardening as a hobby.
Bord Bia is an Irish state agency which promotes the sale of Irish food and horticulture on a national and international scale, acting as a link between Irish producers and their customers worldwide. Bord Bia’s wider remit across food, drink and edible horticulture has enabled the development of a consumer show that engages the public with artisan and Bord Bia Quality Assured food, Origin Green, meeting and learning from Ireland’s top chefs and cooks, tasting indigenous brewing and distilling, learning more about and experiencing Irish fruit, vegetables and potato production. For more information on Bord Bia, please log on to www.bordbia.ie
The show is based on similar successful formats such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Shows and RHS Hampton Court Palace shows, and has gone from strength to strength over the past ten years.
Remarking on the festival’s 10th Birthday celebrations in 2016, Gary Graham, Bord Bia’s Bloom Show Manager says,
“Bord Bia is delighted to celebrate Bloom’s 10th anniversary this year and is proud of how the event has evolved since it began. Bord Bia’s flagship horticulture and food event provides the ultimate platform to showcase Ireland’s incredibly talented garden designers, food producers, chefs and crafts people. We are working hard to ensure that visitors, who want to help us celebrate, are in for a real treat, and can expect to see breath-taking show gardens, sample some of Ireland’s finest food, enjoy wonderful entertainment and witness the passion of some of Ireland’s skilled producers.”
The Office of Public Works’ (OPW) support and provision of 70 acres at the heart of the Phoenix Park has facilitated Bord Bia to develop a diverse show that goes beyond the traditional ‘garden show’ seen nationally and internationally. The importance of the location cannot be over emphasised, taking into account the accessibility, central location and beautiful backdrop that the atmospheric site provides.
At the heart of Dublin’s city Centre, Bord Bia’s Bloom festival can be easily accessed by public transport including: Dublin Bus, LUAS, Iarnród Éireann, as well as a courtesy shuttle bus running from Park Gate street to Bloom and back throughout the day.
What to see and do
The show incorporates almost 30 show gardens created by Ireland’s top garden designers, over 100 delicious Irish food and drink producers, 50 nurseries within the Floral Marquee, and almost 200 retailers, all within a 70 acre site. Other highlights include floral and nursery displays, a plant village, a wide range of craft and Irish artisan food stalls, fashion stage, cookery demonstrations with some of Ireland’s finest celebrity chefs and fun activities for all the family. Throughout the festival, there is a strong focus on highlighting Bord Bia’s Origin Green initiative and how Ireland is a world-leader in terms of sustainable food and drink production.
A wide range of food and drink is available at Bloom, from dining in Bistro Bloom’s restaurant, or seafood bar, The Bloom pub, to our new Country Crest Food Restaurant. Visitors to Bloom are also able to enjoy the freshest of locally produced food in the Country Crest Food Fayre, allowing visitors to sample local food artisan foods, and select from a range of quality meats and ready meals. Another attractive area is The Chef’s Quality Kitchen, which facilitates numerous cookery demonstrations each day, by a host of well-known chefs, including:
- Edward Hayden, TV Chef and Food Writer
- Neven Maguire, MacNean House and Cookery School
- Rory O’Connell, TV Chef and Food Writer
- Paul Flynn, The Tannery Restaurant
- Oliver Dunne, Bon Appetit Restaurant
- Vanessa Greenwood, Cooks Academy
- Catherine Fulvio, Ballyknocken House and Cookery School
As children (under 16) go free, the show is wonderful attraction for all the family during the summer season. As well as a craft, picnic and playground area, other major family attractions include:
- The “Budding Bloomers” area for children, which has a vibrant mixture of features to keep children entertained and active, from toddlers to fifth 'classers'; allowing children to play, learn and grow at Bloom!
- A dedicated children’s stage featuring Irish dancing, magic shows, scientific experiments, and much more.
- A ‘fun on the farm’ area which encourages children to play with farm toys such as trailers, diggers and tractors in a designated sand pit area.
The jewel of the crown: The Show Gardens
This year’s festival will include 30 show gardens, which are often referred to as the jewel in the crown of the Bord Bia festival. The gardens will vary in size from large, medium and small gardens, each developed with a unique theme and style to inspire those who wish to create their own garden at home. Returning show garden designers confirmed to date include Fiann O’Nuallain, who is the only designer to take part in every Bloom event, Andrew Dunne, Alan Rudden, Oliver Schurmann and Brian Burke to name but a few. The show includes an international flair with gardens coming from Chicago, Chile, The United States, and the Chinese region of Yanghzou, among others. The designers continue the tradition of repeatedly raising the bar on previous years, to develop beautiful, imaginative and thought provoking designs. Organisations such as GOAL, Marie Keating Foundation, Social Farming, UCD, Fingal County Council and St. John of God Hospital have teamed up with garden designers to create spaces with powerful messages around social and cultural issues.
The Gardens you see on display at the show are the culmination of countless hours of design, planning, sourcing of materials and ultimately, hard manual labour on behalf of our garden designers, nurseries and artists. Showcasing the high horticultural standards and practices Ireland has to offer, the show gardens, nursery displays and botanical art exhibits provide visitors with inspiration and ideas that they can bring back to their own gardens and homes regardless of the size of garden or budget they are working with.
The judging panels are an integral part of the show garden process, offering their expertise and ensuring that visitors to Bloom can enjoy the highest possible quality exhibits , as well as awarding a variety of Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver and Bronze medals to worthy garden design winners.
Tickets are on sale now and visitors are encouraged to book early for discounted rates by visiting www.bloominthepark.com. Don’t forget, kids under the age of 16 go free!