Blooming marvellous despite rain
Ireland's premium gardening festival Bloom was coming up roses on its fourth and final day - despite some sudden showers.
A record 115,000 green-fingered enthusiasts attended the four-day festival - peering around the show gardens and perusing the artisan food stalls.
Helen Hearty (40) was among the 19,000 people to descend on Dublin's Phoenix Park yesterday.
"It's been a fantastic weekend," said Helen. "I was here on Saturday, and it was lovely, but it's been great here today as well despite the weather."
Sheltering from an uninvited downpour under a Cherry Blossom, the Cork native said she had never seen the yearly festival so busy.
"Other years I've been here on the Monday and while it's been busy, it's nothing like this. The crowds are definitely up."
Now in its tenth year, the festival seems to grow in popularity year on year. For Liam and Debbie Kerrigan, and their four children Liam (9), Rachel (12), Emma (11) and Hannah (16), attending Bloom has become an annual tradition.
The Navan couple said it had been wonderful seeing Bloom blossom over the past decade.
"It's a proper family day out now, not just a show for gardeners," said Liam.
"There are plenty of people here today that wouldn't have gardens but they can still get ideas about what they could do with a pot in the window or that little bit of space by their door."
As the rain beat down in the President's back garden, vendors and festival-goers alike huddled under the covered stalls and pagodas. But the rain didn't seem to dampen any of the enthusiasm.
"The kids don't care. They're here to play games, see the beautiful gardens, and just enjoy themselves," said dad-of-two Anthony Sweetman.
"It's Ireland anyway, it wouldn't be a Bank Holiday without some rain."
The final day of Bloom marked the announcement of the People's Choice Award, which was won by Barry Kavanagh from Co. Cavan.
Voted for by visitors, Barry, who also received the Designers' Choice on Sunday, said his Across Boundaries' garden was an attempt to showcase social farming as an alternative to traditional 'room therapy'.
"Getting this award was the last thing I expected. I'm absolutely blown away," he said.