Heading to Bloom? Here’s all you need to know!
Read all about the need to know information for Bloom as the festival prepares to open for its 11th year
31 May 2017
With only one more sleep until the gates open on Bord Bia’s Bloom 2017 festival, the Phoenix Park is a hive of activity with finishing touches being put on the: 22 show gardens; 13 postcard gardens; 50 floral and botanical art displays and 110 food and drink stands.
The build is also almost complete on the 70 acre site of stages, marquees and pavilions which will host more than100 live talks, demonstrations and family friendly activities over the five days from June 1st – 5th 2017.
Weather will be on everyone’s minds over the weekend and RTÉ’s live weather reports will broadcast from Bloom this Thursday and Friday.
“The weather is set to be quite changeable over the five days of the festival with a mixture of dry bright intervals and scattered showers. So, best to come prepared!” according to RTÉ Weather presenter, Audrey McGrath,
However, due to the unpredictable nature of Irish weather, the Bloom site consists of 3.6kms of trackway, 1km of walkway and nearly 3 acres of marquee and covered space, allowing visitors to come and go safely in rain or shine.
Bord Bia has outlined some of what goes into planning the event as it prepares to open the festival for its 11th year:
- Bloom will have the largest marquee in Ireland which houses the floral features
- Since the first year, the show has doubled in size. Today it is a 70 acre site (including car parks)
- It takes 31 days to build the show in the middle of the Phoenix Park
- Nearly 700 people are involved in the building including show garden designers
- A total of 4,000 people work onsite over the 5 days including 200 volunteers
- Year-long planning!
VIPS at Bloom
Bloom will be officially opening by President Michael D. Higgins on Thursday June 1st. Visitors to the event can also expect to rub shoulders with a host of well known faces including: Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Edward Hayden, Rory O’Connell, Paul Flynn, Roz Purcell, Donal O’Shea, Alison Canavan, Jim Carroll (Banter), Aoife Hearne (Operation Transformation), Cathy Davey, Don Conroy, Paula Mee and Olympic Rowers, Gary and Paul Donovan who will attend the show on Friday.
RTE will also broadcast five days of live television, radio, weather bulletins, panels & music featuring Aine Lawlor, Marty Morrissey, Joe Duffy’s Funny Friday, Miriam O’Callaghan, Marty Whelan, Jacqui Hurley and Ronan Collins.
Excellence in Garden Design
At the heart of Bloom will be 22 stunning show gardens which will demonstrate excellence and innovation in Irish garden design. The gardens range from functional gardens expertly designed to fit an urban space, to concept gardens which have been designed to communicate a powerful social issue or charitable message.
In advance of opening day, each garden will be critiqued by an international panel of judges, and awards will be announced on the opening morning of the event. The panel will be chaired by Andrew Wilson, an award winning UK garden designer, who won his latest gold medal at Chelsea last week!
Celebrating Amateur Gardeners
While Bloom is a showcase for the best of Irish garden design, it also celebrates and caters for amateur gardeners, who make up the majority of the visitors to the event.
The recent Bord Bia ‘Gardening in Ireland’ study, carried out by Red C on behalf of Bord Bia, revealed that over 1.3 million Irish people, from almost 1 million households, now garden on a regular basis and that gardeners of the future will want compact gardens with almost half 43% of gardening ‘fledglings’ owning a small garden, balcony or limited space. You can read more about their report here.
In honour of this, Bloom will host some 13 ‘Postcard Gardens’ which have been designed and constructed by passionate amateur gardeners from around the country.
These “small but perfectly formed” gardens provide an opportunity for garden clubs and societies to demonstrate their abilities and to inspire other non-professional gardeners to experience the joys and benefits of gardening.
Among the Bloom 2017 ‘Postcard Gardens’ are three gardens designed by young people, including Fiona Bichard (Aged 14) from Athenry in Galway’s ‘Burren in Bloom’ garden which celebrates the magical floral orchestra that makes the Burren world famous; the ‘Drogheda on the Boyne’ garden designed by students from St. Josephs Secondary School, Drogheda; and a mindfulness garden created by students from Merlin Woods Primary School in Galway. The amateur gardens will also feature installations from PACE a voluntary sector organisation that works in the community with prisoners, offenders, ex-prisoners and ex-offenders; ACCESS 2000, a Women’s Community Education and Development Project in Wexford; the Heartbeat Trust, a national heart failure and heart failure prevention charity and a bee-friendly garden from Friends of the Earth.
In addition, some of the more than 80 flower clubs throughout the country will be represented in the Association of Irish Floral Artists (AOIFA) floral artistry competition.
Planning your visit
Bloom is open from 9am-6pm for the five days of the event. Tickets are on sale now on Ticketmaster and can also be purchased on the gate. Ticket prices vary from €16 – €22.50 and children under 16 go free.
Bloom takes place in the Visitor Centre of the Phoenix Park which is situated on the main Chesterfield Avenue road running from the Main Gate at Parkgate Street to the Castleknock Gate.
Travel options to Bloom include:
- Free busses: A number of courtesy shuttle busses will be running from Park Gate Street to Bloom and back from 8.30am to 7pm.
- Luas: Take the LUAS to the Heuston stop and then avail of the free shuttle bus from Parkgate Street.
- Train: Again those who arrive by train can avail of a free shuttle bus to Bloom. And with a valid Iarnrod Eireann ticket or Smart card visitors can get €2 off ticket prices
- Dublin Bus: The 46a leaves you to the North Circular Road Gate. Please note, it is a 30-minute walk from here to the site.
- On foot: Chesterfield Avenue is the Pedestrian Entrance to Bloom. It takes approximately 20 minutes to walk from either Parkgate Street or Castleknock Gate to the Bloom event.
- By bicycle: It is possible to cycle right up to the Bloom event site and cyclists can avail of free facilities to park and lock their bikes
- Please note that the Ashtown Gate will be closed for the duration of the Bloom event.
New and returning Bloom partners for this year’s event include FBD Insurance, The Irish Independent and the Office of Public Works.
For more information visit www.bloominthepark.com or follow Bloom on Facebook, or Twitter @bloominthepark #Bloom2017.