Ireland’s top floral, food, and family festival to Bloom on June bank holiday weekend

Garden designer Fiann Ó Nualláin launches Bloom 2013 with the help of Allan O'Kearney (five) from Lucan, Dublin. Bloom 2013 takes place at the Phoenix Park from Thursday May 30 to Monday June 3. The gardening, food, and family festival attracted 80,000 visitors last year.

Garden designer Fiann Ó Nualláin launches Bloom 2013 with the help of Allan O'Kearney (five) from Lucan, Dublin. Bloom 2013 takes place at the Phoenix Park from Thursday May 30 to Monday June 3. The gardening, food, and family festival attracted 80,000 visitors last year.

Bord Bia has this week announced the return of Bloom, its hugely successful gardening, food, and family festival, which will take place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, this June bank holiday weekend. Now in its seventh year, the event attracted more than 80,000 visitors last year.

Bloom 2013 will be officially opened by President of Ireland Michael D Higgins on Thursday May 30 and will run until Monday June 3. Visitors will have the opportunity to view 28 spectacular show gardens, sample a wide range of artisan food as well as craft beers and spirits from over 100 Irish food and drink producers, and attend some 25 cookery demonstrations by some of Ireland’s best loved chefs. The popular floral marquee will also return featuring 50 nurseries along with almost 200 retailers.

“Our show garden designers are working hard to ensure visitors to Bloom 2013 will be both entertained and inspired,” said Gary Graham, Bord Bia’s Bloom show manager. “We have a great show lined up with gardens that focus on sustainability, times gone by, and fashion. We also have some wonderful show gardens from charities such as Aspire, the Asperger Syndrome Association of Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, the Jack & Jill Foundation, and Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, which we’re hoping will raise awareness of these great causes.”

This year, Bloom is also inviting 1,000 people to the Gathering of Gardeners, offering people who are passionate about gardening a chance to bring together their friends and family to share in the wonderful experience that is Bloom in the Park.

Horticultural happenings

New features this year include an expanded concept garden space, allowing garden designers to explore creative ideas; postcard garden exhibitions created by community garden groups from all around Ireland; and a botanical art exhibition.

The winner of RTE's Super Garden show will also be revealed at Bloom — see www.bloominthepark.com for the full list of this year’s designers.

In keeping with tradition, the Bloom show gardens will be complemented by a spectacular floral marquee, featuring displays of the best of Irish flowers and plants, while leading experts in the horticulture, gardening, and floristry industries will appear on the garden expert stage.

The tree-climbing competition will see tree climbers from all over Ireland and further afield test their balance, agility, and speed against the clock. Visitors to the show of all ages will also have an opportunity to join the fun.

A festival of food

The popular Bord Bia food village will once again offer visitors the opportunity to sample some of the finest artisan foods produced around the country.

The Bord Bia Quality Kitchen stage will host live cooking demonstrations with some of Ireland’s best known chefs including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Martin Shanahan, and Donal Skehan. The events will be hosted by TV presenter and well known foodie Ella McSweeney, who will also interview food producers throughout the weekend.

Fans of craft beer and whiskey will enjoy a visit to the Bloom Inn, while Bloom will also host the Irish Cheese Awards for the first time this year.

Ireland’s food and drink industry is on a sustainability journey through the Origin Green development programme which aims to demonstrate the commitment of the sector. This journey will be explained in Bord Bia’s food village using interactive features allowing visitors to discover what it means for them.

Family entertainment

As Bloom is a family event, children go free and there will be a variety of entertainment options for all the family to enjoy including music, Budding Bloomers, a dedicated children’s play zone with games and activities, craft workshops, and a picnic area.

A new feature from Active Retirement Ireland will include fitness and exercise displays, an outdoor bowls green, bird box making, and flower arranging.

The picnic area surrounding the main stage promises to be a perfect spot for relaxation and enjoyment with various musical artists entertaining visitors from mid-morning to late afternoon, for the duration of Bloom.

New and returning sponsors for this year’s event include Fáilte Ireland, Love Irish Food, OPW, Woodies, Bord na Móna, Dublin City Council, Calor Gas, Keelings, and the Irish Independent.

Tickets are on sale now and visitors are encouraged to book early for discounted rates by visiting www.bloominthepark.com For more follow Bloom 2013 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bloominthepark, or join the conversation on Twitter @bloominthepark or #Bloom.

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