The Bord Bia festival – which is Ireland’s largest and most spectacular gardening event – is set to celebrate its 17th year in Dublin’s Phoenix Park
Most Irish people know by now that Bloom is much more than a gardening event. Over the last number of years, it has developed into an innovative and world-class festival of horticulture, food, drink, entertainment, cooking and lots more with tens of thousands of people flocking to Dublin every summer to see what’s on offer.
If you’ve never been before, you’re in for a treat. Here’s what you need to know:
When is it on?
The Bloom festival takes place over the June Bank Holiday weekend (1 – 5 June) from 9am to 6pm daily.
Where can I get tickets?
Tickets are available via Ticketmaster on the Bloom website. They cost €25 (plus standard fees) per person. Children 16 and under go free with two children allowed per paying adult.
How do I get there?
You can drive to the park and purchase a car park ticket for €5 from the website. However, traffic is usually extremely heavy at the event so it is advised to get public transport or carpool with someone else if at all possible. If you are coming by train from other parts of the country, the Phoenix Park is a very short walk from Heuston station. Click here to find more transport options.
Is it wheelchair accessible?
The festival team addressed this concern in a recent Instagram post saying:
“At Bord Bia Bloom we aim to make the festival as fun and inclusive as possible. We’re delighted to welcome wheelchair users, those with disabilities, and are doing our utmost to optimise comfort for our visitors. We have our wheelchair hire in place again, where for a small deposit you can borrow a wheelchair for the day. We have parking close to the entrance for cars with a disabled badge. We will be welcoming MobiLoo back this year and we’ve worked hard to improve mobility on our ramps this year.”
What are the ‘must see’ parts of the festival?
Everyone’s preferences will vary but this is, at it’s core, a gardening event so we recommend making sure you have plenty of time to walk around the gorgeous Show Gardens. This year’s selection will feature one based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical and one by the Marie Keating Foundation called ‘Catching Cancer Early’.
Featuring among the show gardens will be AVOCA’s 300-year anniversary creation, aptly named ‘Looms & Blooms’. This remarkable garden will serve as a tribute to celebrate 300 years of AVOCA’s Wicklow Mill, Ireland’s oldest working weaving mill.
Gardening expert Brian Burke will be on hand with Woodie’s horticulturalists to offer tips and advice to visitors. He designed Woodie’s show garden, ‘As I Live and Breathe’ for the annual event and is encouraging people to come along to see it.
The Postcard Gardens are also a very popular attraction at the festival. Showcasing the talents of amateur gardeners from community groups, schools, and training groups from across Ireland, they are proof that size doesn’t matter when it comes to creating wonderful outdoor spaces.
Make sure you stop by the NDC Show Garden at Bloom as it will be a live stage for a series of exciting talks and discussions over the five days. This year’s garden will host a number of talks from Ireland’s top sports stars, broadcasters, weather experts, futurists, and scientists including Kathryn Thomas, Rob Kearney, Joe Molloy, Joanna Donnelly, Dr Edel Kennedy, Sarah Keogh and lots more!
This year, for the first time, Bloom will have a stage solely dedicated to sustainable living. Contributors on the Sustainable Living Stage will cover topics ranging from food waste and home composting to the importance of garden ponds for biodiversity and why bees matter.
There are plenty of shopping opportunities at the festival and a trip to the Irish Craft Village, displaying the work of DCCI exhibitors, as well as workshops and demos, is definitely a stop to add to your list.
Bloom also offers visitors an amazing opportunity to sample locally produced foods and see live demos from some of Ireland’s top chefs. Take your time wandering around the food tents – you never know what new Irish brands you might discover!
What kind of entertainment will be taking place over the weekend?
The Main Stage is in the Picnic Area at the centre of the 70-acre festival site. Here you can relax with a bite to eat from one of the many vendors at the event while listening to live music from an eclectic collection of artists.
This year you can expect to see a host of new talent, plus several popular regulars, including the Garda Band.
RTÉ Lyric FM is moving to the Main Stage this year where Bloom stalwart, Marty Whelan is kicking off the festival with great live music, chat, and special guests from 10-12 noon on Thursday.
Classical music lovers will enjoy Celine Byrne hosting Movies and Musicals Live on Saturday from 1-3pm. This outside broadcast special includes live music performances, a chat with Celine, and possibly a few surprises…
Sports fans will be thrilled to see George Hamilton is broadcasting his show, The Hamilton Scores, live from the RTÉ Roadcaster at the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden, on Sunday (10-1pm).
Is it suitable for children?
Apart from the wonderful colours and designs of the Show Gardens and Postcard Gardens, there is a dedicated Kids Zone where you can bring any children who are not fans of gardening and cooking demos. RTÉjr is presenting Storybud on the big screen, which is narrated by a host of well-known faces including Jason Byrne, Baz Ashmawy, Doireann Garrihy, Deirdre O’Kane, and more.
And if you have any budding DJs at home, make sure you bring to the DJ for a Day Kids Disco where the kids will take over, with guest kid DJs on rotation, dancers, and fun surprises. Meanwhile, magician Joe Daly is performing a live magic show while Mark Langtry (Let’s Find Out) is bringing his live science show to Bloom.
For more information, visit the official Bloom website here.