Bloom garden festival: Everything you need to know
What’s on, where to buy tickets, where to eat and how to get to the Dublin showground
What is it?
A highlight of the Irish horticultural year, a great coming together for garden designers, flower growers, landscapers, plantaholics, garden-furniture makers, food makers and anyone who simply likes to garden. Last year it had almost 120,000 visitors; this year’s visitors can see 22 show gardens.
When is it on?
This bank-holiday weekend, from Thursday, May 30th, until Monday, June 3rd.
Where is it on?
Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, in the northeastern corner of Dublin’s biggest park.
Where do I buy tickets?
They’re best purchased online, from bloominthepark.com, either as etickets or for collection at the box office on arrival. One-day tickets cost €20 (concessions €17/€16); two-day tickets cost €35 (concessions €29); each ticket has a €2.50 booking fee. Admission is free for up to three under-16s per paying adult. Tickets are also available at the gates; they come with a pocket guide that includes a map and full listings. Screens at the entrance gates will also show the day’s events, as does the website’s event schedule. Its exhibitor list also has location information and contact details.
How do I get there?
The easiest and most carbon-friendly ways to reach Bloom are by bike – the showground has free park-and-lock facilities – or by taking a train or Luas to Heuston station, then hopping on the free shuttle bus that runs from Parkgate Street to Bloom and back between 8.30am and 7pm each day of the festival. You can also take the 46a bus, which runs from Dún Laoghaire via Kildare Street and O’Connell Street to the park’s North Circular Road gate, which is a 20- or 30-minute walk from the Bloom site.
If you’re travelling by car you can use one of Bloom’s two car parks. The Red car park is for traffic from the Parkgate Street and North Circular Road gates. The Green car park is also for north Dublin and M50 traffic, entering via the Castleknock gate and White’s gate. The €5 parking fee funds the shuttle bus.
Wheelchairs are available free of charge (for a €20 deposit) at the showground’s information point.
Where can I eat?
The organisers say there’s something for everybody, from picnic grounds and artisan food stalls to more formal dining options, such as the Bloom Bistro, with its cafe, restaurant and seafood bar. (You can book a table in the restaurant by calling 087-4376441 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.) There’s also the Bloom Inn, which serves craft beers and spirits.
What’s the weather forecast?
It’s set to be a cloudy weekend, with both sunny spells and showers forecast at the time of publication. Thursday is due to be cloudy with rain in the afternoon. Friday should be brighter, although the afternoon will bring showers. Saturday is due to be sunnier, too, with no rain until the evening. The clouds will be heavier on Sunday, with afternoon showers. The sun returns on Monday, although it will still be cloudy, with showers forecast for the afternoon and evening. Temperatures over the weekend will range from 13 to 18 degrees.
Any other advice?
Come prepared for the changing weather by wearing both sunscreen and waterproof (and comfortable) shoes, and by bringing a raincoat or compact umbrella and a bottle of water (refillable at the showground’s water points). Bring cash, too, as there’s often a queue for the ATMs. If you’re buying plants, you can put them aside until you’re ready to leave by using one of the two free plant creches. If you’re a dedicated plantaholic, you’ll get the most bang for your buck by waiting until 4pm on Monday, when the show gardens begin to be dismantled and their plants are sold off at generous discounts.
Where can I get more information?
The Bloom website, at bloominthepark.com.