Categories: Entertainment
| On 2 years ago

Phoenix Park Counts Down to Bloom Blast-Off!

By James Henry

All you need to know when planning your trip to the June bank holiday weekend highlight


As the gates are set to open on Bord Bia’s Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park, Dublin tomorrow, the site is buzzing with activity as the final touches are being made to the 20 show gardens, 13 postcard gardens and 200 retail stands that will include more than 100 food and drink exhibitors and some 30 plant nurseries. The construction work is almost complete on the 70-acre site of stages, marquees and pavilions that will host in the region of 150 live talks, demonstrations and family-friendly activities over the five days from Thursday, May 31st and running over the Bank Holiday Weekend until Monday, June 4th.

Weather will be on everyone’s minds over the weekend and RTÉ’s popular live weather reports will broadcast from Bloom this Thursday and Friday. According to RTÉ Weather presenter, Gerry Murphy,

‘I’m really looking forward to Bloom 2018. It will live up to its name with bright sunshine in store for most of the festival and perhaps a few showers at times. Temperatures will be around 20 degrees. So, be prepared for the sunshine and enjoy this wonderful event’.

Which Show Garden will come out tops?

The jewel in the crown at Bloom are the 20 spectacular show gardens created by leading Irish and visiting garden designers, worth some €1 million (accounting for plants, materials, sponsorship and labour). Visitors can expect garden designs that range from artfully functional to whimsically imaginative and that communicate strong topical themes. The gardens are also being judged by a prestigious independent panel of judges including RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winners Andrew Wilson and Mark Gregory. The adjudication takes place over a full two days and involves an analysis of how each garden designer met with their initial design brief, the overall impact of the design, the quality and finish and the use of planting and locally-sourced materials.

Gary Graham, Bord Bia’s Bloom Show Manager said, “We are now in our 12th year of Bloom and while the range of features on offer has steadily grown as our visitor numbers have increased, the heart of the show still lies in the magnificent works of art created by the show garden designers. We in Bord Bia are in awe of the creativity and imagination which many of the designers who return year after year exhibit. They are constantly coming up with new concepts, innovative design features and best of all, spectacular outdoor spaces which continue to captivate our visitors. And it is always exciting to have among them some garden designers who are completely new to Bloom who bring with them new influences and energies.”

What is involved in the Bloom build?

More than 4,000 people are involved in staging the epic five day event including the construction phase and the Bord Bia staff, exhibitors and volunteers on site throughout the event. The build takes just under two months from start to finish and once it’s all over, it will take 14 days to restore the site to its former glory!

The whopping site comprises:

  • 70 acres at the Phoenix Park Visitors Centre
  • 1 year in the planning by Bord Bia
  • 20 spectacular show gardens
  • 31 days to build the show gardens
  • 108 Food & Drink Exhibitors
  • 33 Plant Nurseries
  • 13 Postcard Gardens
  • 200 Retailers
  • 3.19 acres of marquees,
  • 3.6 kilometres of trackway,
  • 1 kilometre of walkway,
  • 1.7 kilometres of fencing,
  • Four bridges
  • 675 crowd control barriers

VIPs at Bloom

Bloom will be officially opened by President Michael D. Higgins with his wife Sabina tomorrow, Thursday May 31st. Festival-goers can also expect to mingle with a bevy of Ireland’s most familiar faces including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Rory O’Connell, Paul Flynn, Roz Purcell, JP McMahon, Gary O’Hanlon, Adrian Martin, RTE’s Joe Duffy, Miriam O’Callaghan, Aine Lawlor and Marty Morrissey as well as Gerry Daly, Professor Donal O’Shea (Operation Transformation), Tom Doorley, Keith Duffy, Thalia Heffernan, Louise Duffy (Today FM), The Don Baker & Rob Strong Band and the Gardiner Street Gospel Choir, to name but a few!

The best of flowers and food

In addition to the show gardens, there will be a large number of floral installations and gardening features including 13 postcard gardens designed by community groups. TheFloral & Nursery Pavilion will be brimming with flowers and plants from more than 30 of the very best plant nurseries in Ireland. The complimentary Plant Crèche ensures that those who make floral purchases can leave them in a secure location to be collected before they go home. The Garden Expert Stage will host 30 demonstrations and talks.

Alongside horticulture, Bloom by Bord Bia showcases the best of Irish food. The Food Village will host in excess of 100 stands offering visitors an opportunity to sample and take home first-class artisan food and drinks, and meet the innovative people who make them. The Quality Kitchen Stage will see 25 cookery demonstrations take place over the five days by Ireland’s best-known chefs and visitors are encouraged not to miss a stunning miniature town featuring walls made from edible plants and cereals in tribute to Bord Bia’s food and drink sustainability programme Origin Green. There will also be copious food demonstrations and talks covering topics including school lunches, gut health and food waste will be hosted on the GIY Matters Stage and elsewhere.

Planning your visit to Bloom

Bord Bia’s Bloom takes place at the Visitor Centre in the Phoenix Park, Dublin which is situated on the main Chesterfield Avenue road running from the Main Gate at Parkgate Street to the Castleknock Gate. The event is open each day from 9am-6pm.

Travel options to Bloom include:

  • Free buses: A number of courtesy shuttle buses will run from Parkgate Street to Bloom and back, from 8.30am to 7pm daily.
  • Luas: For those who can take the Luas, travel 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 Iarnród Éireann ticket or Smartcard, visitors can get €2 off ticket prices.
  • Dublin Bus: The 46a leaves you at 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.
  • By car: Parking is available at a daily rate of €5. There are two car parks available for those who wish to drive.


Tickets are on sale now on Ticketmaster and can also be purchased on the gate. Ticket prices vary from €16 – €25 and children under 16 go free.

For more information visit or follow Bloom on Facebook and Twitter @bloominthepark and #Bloom2018.

Returning sponsors for this year’s event include FBD Insurance, Irish Independent and the Office of Public Works.

James Henry