Soaking up the rays as Bloom blossoms in the sunshine
Bloom continued to blossom in the sunshine yesterday as thousands of visitors from across the country descended on Dublin's Phoenix Park for the penultimate day of Ireland's biggest gardening festival.
As temperatures topped 20 degrees in the capital, sunseekers of all ages were making the most of the long weekend at the outdoor extravaganza, which concludes today.
Among the lush show gardens, meanwhile, Barry Kavanagh was soaking up praise, as well as the rays, after scooping the Designer's Choice Award for his old-school creation, 'Across Boundaries'.
Speaking about the therapeutic patch, inspired by the social farming movement, the landscape designer said: "I wanted to showcase social farming in Ireland.
"That's where people in a dark place, like depression or that, come out of conventional therapy into a working family farm. So I created a little garden that feels calm, relaxed, a place you want to be.
"Getting an award was the last thing I expected. I'm absolutely blown away."
Now in its tenth year, a record 92,000 people have already joined in Bloom's birthday celebrations since Thursday.
Among them was the newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to Ireland Yue Xiaoyong who, on his first official outing yesterday, paid a visit to 'Yi (Friendship) Garden' by Meng Pan.
Gardening gloves, gazebos and grills were just some of the items being snapped up by green-fingered festival-goers in a bid to make their own back garden a bit more zen this summer. More than 200 retailers and 50 of the country's top nurseries are featured at the Bord Bía event, which continues from 9am to 6pm today.
But there was also live music by Newry rockers The Four of Us, a cookery demonstration by celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio and a fashion show by Debenhams for those who prefer to sew than mow.
Elsewhere in the Food Village, Cork company Glenilen Farm had sent to Drimoleague for an emergency supply of its new frozen yoghurt to ensure there were no disappointed punters with the forecast for more sunshine - albeit with some showers - today.
Eoin Keogh, national account manager for Glenilen Farm, said: "Lemonade sales are flying because of the weather and we had to get more of our frozen yoghurt up tonight. This and the National Ploughing Championships are the two highlights [of the year] for us."
As the sun beat down in the President's back garden, even the sheep were shedding a layer during a shearing demonstration in the Bloom Farmyard.
At a Marie Keating Foundation mobile information unit, community information nurse Ursula Clancy reminded Bloomers not to forget the sun cream on day five of the festival.
She said: "We've had a lot of people calling over - the good weather has inspired them.
"It's more difficult to get people to have an interest in skin cancer awareness when the weather isn't so sunny."
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the capital, thousands of music fans were soaking up the rays and the tunes at the Forbidden Fruit festival in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, among them Conor McGregor and Bono.
The UFC fighter was surrounded by fans as he made his way through the crowds.