Monday 19 March 2018

Bloom-tastic: It's not just fab flowers, it's fashion, banter, food and a dancing Taoiseach at the Festival that has it all...

Enda Kenny throws a few shapes at Bloom.
Enda Kenny throws a few shapes at Bloom.
Alex Herlihy, 2 and from Rathfarnham in the Crumlin Children's Hospital Garden in association with Kildare Growers.
Children at play during Bloom 2014.
Budding Bloomers.
Bloom attracts young and old alike.
The Floral Marquee at Bloom.
Pictured enjoying the Floral Marquee last year were Cheryl Shaw and 3 year old daughter Elodie from Co Antrim. Picture Nick Bradshaw
Philomena Gribben, from Straffan Co. Kildare at Bloom 2014.
Old-fashioned lemonade at Bloom.
Keelings Growing Tips at Bloom.
Garden designer Fiann O Nuallain.

Every year at Bloom, thousands of first-time visitors are astounded at the sheer variety of different attractions on offer at the OPW's amazing Phoenix Park site.

It's the little innovations that seem to make the event a success and, in this its ninth year, things are no different with a great lineup of activities for people of all ages and tastes.

As well as the usual impressive lineup of horticulture and mouth-watering food and drink, this year Bord Bia is delighted to offer solace for the fashionistas among us with a special exhibit area showcasing beautiful summertime clothes, shoes and accessories. We hope you enjoy.

As usual there are many exciting great activities for children and all the family - the hugely popular Budding Bloomers Kids' Zone is back while a string of great names will take to the Entertainment Stage, providing fun and brilliant tunes. We're delighted to welcome RTÉ to the heart of this year's Bloom with a range of live programming and content across their TV, radio and digital platforms. Here's a roundup of the key highlights over the five days:

Craft Village

Craft demonstrations, craft workshops and a dedicated craft retail area are amongst the exciting attractions at the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland's Irish Craft Village. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet talented Irish craftspeople, to watch them working on-site in a variety of disciplines and to learn more about their works - with everything from wall art to ceramics and candles to clothing, jewellery and leather on display.

Budding Bloomers kids' zone

The 'Budding Bloomers' Kids' Zone, brought to you by Fun on the Farm, has always been popular - and this year will prove no exception! Children are invited to play, learn and grow at Bloom. It will be home to exciting activities that keep children interested and develop their green fingers. Children will get the chance to try out diggers and load-up trailers in the sand pit at Fun on the Farm, while learning the difference between a John Deere and a Massey Ferguson tractor. The Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme, the healthy eating initiative developed to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables, will play host to games all with the overall aim of encouraging children to get their five a day.

There will be a dedicated Children's Stage which will feature Irish Dancing, top magician Billy Bubbles and also Scientific Sue, who will take everyone on a zany journey of scientific discovery. No one will have to wait longer than 45 minutes to see any of these exciting performances on stage. Once again, the Little Planters Plot area will allow children to decorate their own plant pot and plant a flower to take it home with them! ClapHandies' 'Baby and Toddler chill zone' for babies up to four years of age will offer story and song time every 30 minutes. Children's Books Ireland's Book Clinic will see Book Doctors chat with kids to recommend excellent must-reads with books on hand for an instant filling of the prescription! The Doodle Doctor with his drawing projects and Carton Man, the huggable character who loves to recycle, will both make appearances too.

Fashion in Full Bloom

Bloom 2015 will see a new dedicated fashion pavilion, sponsored by Clery's, Ireland's iconic department store. Through this new and exciting partnership visitors will enjoy daily fashion and accessory shows, with summertime fashion on display from Clery's, Joules, Carrig Donn, Jack Murphy, Esther Roche and many many more. Also new for 2015 will be the dedicated fashion exhibit area, with over 20 companies displaying clothes, footwear and accessories. Visitors can not only sit back and enjoy the style but also shop till they drop at Bloom 2015. If you're looking for a real treat - don't forget to call by the Botanics skincare retreat and discover the power of plants. Boots and Kew skincare experts will be available to talk you through their range and help you find the Botanics skincare suited to your skin. Visitors are also welcome to take advantage of a complimentary Botanics hand massage!

Keelings Growing Tunnel

Visitors will be given the opportunity in the Keelings's 20-metre growing tunnel to see how fruit is grown on the Keelings Farms, with growers on hand to offer tips and answer questions on how to grow them at home. Visitors will be treated to free samples of Keelings's Irish strawberries and will be given the chance to get their hands dirty in the 'Love to Grow' planting section! For the first time, Keelings has teamed up with Glenisk to create a Smoothie Bar where you can savour some healthy smoothies or fruit yoghurts.

Bloom in transition

Fiann O Nualláin is no stranger to Bloom - having designed at least one show garden each year since the event launched in 2007. This year will be no exception, as Fiann plans to design two show gardens and a new feature entitled Bloom in Transition (BIT).

Working in conjunction with Bord Bia, over the past few months Fiann has mentored two groups of Transition Year students and each will showcase a garden at this year's Bloom event. The aim of this pilot programme is to promote the areas of horticulture, agriculture and health with 15-17 year olds. Post event, each of the gardens will be transformed into a school garden.

Horticulture highlights

'Horticulture for Health and Wellness' will demonstrate how important horticultural produce is to our health and wellness. You can learn first-hand about the planting of vegetables, fruit and potatoes and about the fresh produce enjoyed in Ireland. A 'Kitchen Garden' will host food demonstrations where you can sample some cuisine. The world of vegetable growing can seem daunting to many - what with all those strange names.

GIY volunteers will also be on hand with advice, encouraging people to give 'Grow Your Own' a try. Want to learn more about organics? Drop by the Organic School Garden and Organic Farming and Food Feature brought to you by the Organic Unit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Organic experts will be on hand to discuss all aspects of organic farming, food and garden and will look to educate visitors about the benefits of organic.

Entertainment Stage

The picnic area at Bloom is the perfect space to take some time out, relax and enjoy the entertainment on the main stage, in between making your way around the many other attractions. The stage will feature a range of musicians, with a little something for everyone, performing at regular intervals throughout the day.


Bloom is truly a shopper's paradise! For instance, over 80,000 plants were sold last year. Looking for some soft furnishings or a weekend getaway? The larger Grand Pavilion caters to all of your home, garden and travel needs. The Outdoor Retail area is dedicated to gardens and home improvements offering everything from a simple hose to paving and garden furniture, machinery and BBQs!

GroMor & The Plant Village

New for 2015, the Plant Village Square sponsored by GroMor and Cuprinol will be home to a new demonstration area. Roisin Lafferty of Super Garden will demonstrate how to upcycle using colour, Super Garden's Kevin Williams will give advice on landscaping and the many members of GroMor will be demonstrating how you can learn more about growing all types of plants.

Bloom Farm

The popular Bloom Farm returns again this year. Located within the Food Village, Bord Bia in conjunction with Agri Aware, will host a display of farm animals including a dairy cow, two beef cows and calves, sheep, lambs, pigs and chickens. There will be numerous activities taking place throughout each day, including sheep shearing demonstrations, milking the dairy cow and feeding the young animals. Visitors will also have the opportunity to talk to Irish farmers on life on the farm, how quality Irish food is produced and the importance of agriculture to the Irish economy and the environment. 

Botanical Art

The third Annual Botanical & Floral Art in Bloom Exhibition will feature 52 works from over 20 of Ireland's foremost botanical artists. Along with the paintings, there will be a selection of cards, calendars and unframed prints of exhibited works for sale at the exhibition.

RTE in Bloom

Bord Bia is delighted to announce that RTÉ will be at the heart of this year's Bloom festival entertaining in the Phoenix Park and broadcasting to the nation. Radio highlights include RTÉ Lyric FM's Marty in the Morning and Liveline's Funny Friday on RTÉ Radio 1. The RTÉ Weather team will be presenting the main weather bulletins live on Thursday and Friday from the RTÉ set.

On RTÉ One, both the Super Garden finale and Bloom Live will broadcast from the event on Thursday 28th May along with a special live stream on RTÉ Player that evening. In addition, between programming Bloom visitors can enjoy a host of live music performances throughout the five days and be entertained by RTÉjr presenters at the RTÉ set located in front of the walled garden. Follow @rte for all news and updates.

Floral Thrills

This year's Floral and Nursery Marquee will showcase the very best of plant nurseries in Ireland.

The marquee will be brimming over with a wonderful selection of floral delights, plants and flowers for sale.

Large displays from over 45 of our top nurseries and floral artists will delight and inspire you with the scents of summer.

The AOIFA (Association of Irish Floral Artists) Floral Art Stage will again give visitors advice and demonstrations on the techniques and artistry required to achieve a perfect floral display. 

This area will also be home to over 50 exhibits from some of our top floral artists. A large floral competition will also be held with top floral artists from across the country competing for the coveted Bloom Gold Award.

All of your floral fixes will be fulfilled under one roof. The Garden Expert Stage in the Grand Pavilion will host leading experts in horticulture, gardening and floristry. Speakers will include Gerry Daly from Irish Garden Magazine and Michael Kelly of GIY.

Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden

Bloom visitors can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden, located in the Phoenix Park Visitors Centre - the centre point of Bloom. Stop by to meet some of the Phoenix Park guides and gardeners.

It was originally part of the Under Secretary's Demesne and later the Papal Nuncio's residence, and was used to supply fresh fruit and vegetables to these residences.

Restoration of the walled garden to its original layout has been undertaken by the OPW Historic Parks and Gardens staff. The garden inspires, and provides an opportunity for the public to learn about the design and layout of a Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden as well as the growing of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Well worth a look.

Conservation Area

The Conservation Area at Bloom provides great insight into the work of Ireland's many conservation groups and NGOs working to protect the natural environment.

Discover anything you ever wanted to know about climate change and sustainability or habitats and amphibians from organisations such as the BirdWatch Ireland, Oxfam, Irish Wildlife Trust, the Native Woodland Trust, An Taisce and the Federation of Irish Beekeepers' Association.

The area offers the perfect environment for children and adults alike to learn how to lead a more environmentally friendly life. 


Now in its second year, BloomFringe is set to recreate the magic of Bloom in various locations around Dublin city over the bank holiday weekend.

BloomFringe will highlight Dublin's influential position as a creative, diverse and sustainable city .

It will also be aiming to inspire people to use their capital city more and recognise the enormous amount that it can give back to us as individuals and as a community.

Innovative workshops, pop-up dinners, picnics, exhibitions and garden installations will be hosted throughout the city. Visit for details.

Banter at Bloom

Bord Bia is excited and delighted to welcome Banter to Bloom 2015. Banter is a series of public talks, chats and conversations which has been running since July 2009. Over three days at Bloom (Saturday-Monday only), Banter founder and journalist Jim Carroll will entertain and enthral audiences with informal debate and discussion. The wide array of topics and talks will include everything from the Future of Bees to the Joy of Veg! For captivating conversation, call by the Banter@Bloom marquee, located close to the Food Village.

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