Saturday 20 January 2018

Downpours and dark clouds fail to dampen spirits of the dedicated as Bloom festival draws to a close

Amelia (5), Alex (9) and Sophia (7) Hearty from Cavan;
Amelia (5), Alex (9) and Sophia (7) Hearty from Cavan;
The plant sale in the Bloom nursery
Leah (6) and Aoife (3) O’Shea from Meath
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

The dark veil of grey clouds that loomed over Bloom in the Phoenix Park unleashed its heavy load as the food and floral extravaganza drew to a close after attracting more than 94,000 visitors.

The torrential downpours and strong winds that had been predicted by weather forecasters swept across the east coast yesterday, but even that failed to dampen the spirits and energies of the final visitors to the Dublin festival on its last day.

The ninth annual event, which was opened last Thursday by President Michael D Higgins, attracted huge crowds over the last five days and organisers said that more than 92,000 plants were sold to green-fingered visitors this year.


Medals and awards were presented to 123 garden designers, nurseries, floral artists, exhibitors and botanical artists, who all participated in this year's competitions. And, there were 25 different show gardens on display across the 70-acre site. The specially constructed site will disappear in just 14 days after it took a month to build. Organisers said show gardens will now be reconstructed around the country.

In recent years, on-site sales exceeded €5m and this figure looks set to be matched this year, as many of the 125 food and drink producers who participated have reported massive sales right across the five days.

Mag Kirwan, from Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, said she had to travel back to base to replenish her stock every night as her team cooked 350 trout each day.

More than 30,000 jelly beans were sampled from the Jelly Bean Factory and 10kg of cheese was sampled every hour at the CAIS Farmhouse Cheese stand.

Creches and schools from around the country will now benefit from Joan Mallon's gold medal-winning "slum garden" for GOAL.

The garden was designed to reflect "some of the many ways the agency works with people living in slums".

The design showed people how little things like micro-gardening, bag gardening and recycling can help to generate an income and grow products.

"I think it is a great way to keep the 'slum' garden alive and help GOAL further communicate its message about making the most of the space you have to a younger generation," Joan Mallon added. And Bord Bia, the organisers of the wildly successful event, are now keen to ensure Bloom continues to blossom to mark its landmark tenth anniversary next year.

They have announced that the tenth annual festival will be held from May 26 to 30 in 2016.

Irish Independent

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