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Thousands flock to Bloom as families take time out to smell the flowers

CLOSE to 100,000 people are expected to visit the Bloom Festival this Bank Holiday weekend.

The festival attracted some 25,000 visitors yesterday and on Thursday, but tens of thousands are expected to visit the Phoenix Park event over the long weekend.

"It's been packed already and that'll be only increased at the Bank Holiday weekend," Bloom spokeswoman Roz O'Shaughnessy said.

"We're set to be on par with 2011's numbers of 90,000, which was a 50pc increase on previous years and our record number of visitors in our six years doing this."

Stylist and TV star Brendan Courtney was just one of the familiar faces there yesterday.

Brendan, who was there with Off The Rails co-presenter Sonya Lennon, said he wouldn't be getting his hands dirty just yet.

"Sonya and I have been coming here the past two years and we love it, it's a brilliant place for families to come and spend time together.

"I'd love to be into gardening and cooking myself but it's just not for me, I'd rather just go to a restaurant and have people do it all for me. I'm good with an ironing board though," he joked.

Joining Brendan and Sonya at the Bord Bia festival was a jubilant Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who called in briefly to sample the delights on offer as Ireland voted Yes to the fiscal treaty.

Punters from around Dublin and all over the country have been enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Bloom, which is showcasing 27 unique show gardens and Ireland's largest ever marquee filled with the country's best flowers and plants.

Also on offer are numerous food stands and demonstrations, and a live entertainment stage.

Lily Joyce (20) travelled up to Bloom from Galway to accompany her gardening fanatic mother.

"Mum's really into gardening so I said I'd come with her, but I probably wouldn't have come up by myself. Now that I've been here though, I've really enjoyed myself and would come again next year."

Nicolas and Suzanne Connelly, from Rush, were visiting the festival for the first time with their 11-week-old baby George.

"It's hard to find things to do as a family with a new baby, but it's been a lovely day out, it's lovely and relaxing here," she said.

Aveen Kinsella (18) from Swords and Roisin Barron (19) from Sandymount, said that it's a shame more teenagers don't attend.

"I love this place, there's a marshmallow house that I'm obsessed with," laughed Aveen.

Roisin agreed, adding: "There's not many teenagers here but they really should give it a chance because they'd probably really enjoy the place."

Bloom will run until Monday, when organisers will attempt to break a Guinness World Record for largest number of people sowing seedlings at one time.