Sunday 25 February 2018

Great buzz at Bloom as Kenny and Coveney spotted in crowd

Aoibheann (5) and Eleanor (6) O’Connor with Grace Weldon (6) – all from Swords – at the Fluirse Fingal Designed garden. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Aoibheann (5) and Eleanor (6) O’Connor with Grace Weldon (6) – all from Swords – at the Fluirse Fingal Designed garden. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

It is called the Glastonbury of gardening. So it was little wonder that RTÉ's Joe Duffy was mobbed like a headline act when he did an outdoor broadcast of his Radio 1 show at the Bloom festival.

It was standing room only in the RTÉ tent as his legions of fans flocked to listen to his special Funny Friday edition of his show at the Phoenix Park. Afterwards, he gamely posed for 'selfies' and chatted with members of the public, who all wanted to Talk to Joe.

He admitted though that gardening was not his forte.

"No. I can walk around the garden. That's about it. June, my wife, she's fantastic at it and she loves it and she finds it very therapeutic.

RTÉ’s Joe Duffy with fans at the Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photo: Doug O’Connor
RTÉ’s Joe Duffy with fans at the Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Photo: Doug O’Connor

"And I find it very therapeutic sitting there, having a G&T looking at her," he told the Irish Independent.

Little wonder that he is bringing his popular radio station to the small screens next Thursday when 'Liveline: Call Back' returns to RTÉ One.

The show will revisit some of the most compelling calls to the station and find out what happens afterwards.

Asked how he was spending the Bank Holiday weekend himself, the dad-of-triplets replied: "Driving children around mainly."

The sun finally made its debut on the second day of the annual festival, as soaring temperatures saw a huge 21,000 people throng through the gates to check out the sprawling event.

Running until Bank Holiday Monday, more than 100,000 are expected in.

Ervin Eustace (2) from Phibsboro Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Ervin Eustace (2) from Phibsboro Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Having spent the last few weeks trying to sow seeds of a political nature, Fine Gael leadership hopeful Simon Coveney chose the festival to spend a few hours relaxing with his family ahead of the leadership count.

His time there coincided with the outgoing Taoiseach, who had erred on the side of caution when it came to wishing both candidates all the best. Having picked up every baby in sight at the gardening festival, Enda Kenny spared a few moments to pose for a picture with Minister Coveney as the pair beamed broadly for the cameras.

However, Mr Kenny declined to answer questions from the media when asked about his future plans after stepping down as Taoiseach.

Over in the Show Gardens, Kevin Dennis was all smiles after winning a Gold Medal for his garden 'Living Oasis by Santa Rita: Living La Vida 120'. The former musician, who also worked as a taxi driver, said he now channelled his creativity into gardening and he got into it purely by chance.

"My career in gardening started late in life. I needed a career change and I needed to do something different.

"It was something that more or less happened by accident. I went to college at night to learn horticulture, worked in all the different elements, hired a few guys, won some awards and came to Bloom. It's been great."

Over at the post-card gardens, there was a hive of activity around the Friends of the Earth's exhibition 'The Bright Side of Life'.

Designed by chairperson Dr Cara Augustenborg, she said that the garden showed visitors how to create a bee-friendly garden.

"Worldwide, bees are on the decline and in Ireland too. We need to do whatever we can to give them a habitat as bees are so important for food production and our home gardens are a real opportunity to do that."

But she said Ireland was one of the few countries in the world that had a national pollination strategy.

The buzz at Bloom continues all weekend.

Irish Independent

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