Galway Garden Festival this weekend

This weekend’s festival, June 1 - 2, at Claregalway castle will be the eighth year of a uniquely charming garden event which caters for specialist and eclectic tastes.

Rare and special plant traders from all across the country will convene in Galway for expert talks, a fine artisan food and crafts market, street theatre, a medieval tournament, and a whole host of musical entertainment.

Kicking things off on Saturday is internationally respected gardener and plantsman Jimi Blake, who will speak about his reknowned garden, ‘Hunting Brook through the seasons’.

Author and film-maker Dr Marina Levitina will also speak about Ireland’s native wild plants and their medicinal qualities.

Some other themes that will be discussed are, ‘Garden Design on the Edge’ with designer Anna Byrne, ‘Getting the best from your roses’ with Alan Whetham and ‘Garden Perennials - a celebration of the less well known’ with Dr Phil Havercroft.

On Sunday, Bloom Gold winner Oliver Schurmann speaks on the topic ‘From show gardens to real gardens’, botanic artist and author Jane Stark will talk about ‘Heritage Irish Plants - Plandaí dhreachta’, and gardening correspondent Patt Dunn will give some helpful hints for garden planning.

Music will be peformed by bands such as Scullion, the multi-national folk duo of Four Shillings Short, St. Patrick’s Brass Band, Strictly Dixie Trad Jazz, and award winning singer-songwriter Roesy.

The unique medieval tournament at the festival is not to be missed. Real fights will take place between knights in armour from Medieval Armed Combat Ireland.

The Fanzini Brothers Circus will also delight with their new show, Youth Ballet West will awe crowds with classical dance, and Yer Mans Puppets will entertain children of all ages.

At the artisan food and crafts market, a range of freshly cooked foods, handmade crafts, paintings, books, and assorted wares can be found.

The festival takes place between 11am and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, July 1 - 2 at Claregalway castle. Entry is €10 and children go free. There is free parking nearby and a free bus from Ceannt Station in Galway city.

For further information, see www.galwaygardenfestival.com

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