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dubh linn garden

Nestled in behind Dublin Castle, just off Dame Street [palace st. to be exact] is one of the finest gardens I have ever entered in my life. You know when you just get that ‘feeling groovy’ kind of a nice feel….? That’s exactly what I got…

Only one problem…. there is little to zero information available on the **garden*** [Not the Castle…. the garden] to be found on the web….?

It drove me a little demented to be quite honest. Mainly as I was so impressed. But I was in luck on my day there. A very kind man on his lunch break who worked in the neighbouring Chester Beatty Library noticed my confusion and explained the cobbled lawns were ‘eels’; the fact that the glass balls are the eyes and that it was based on a celtic mythology design… 😉

It is also [he explained] where the river dodder and the river liffey met – this meeting is what created a black pool – traslated into Irish one gets Dubh Linn. And it is from this that Dublin got its original name. It is also the site upon which the garden sits today.

I didn’t stop my ‘research’ there, I rang the very helpful Margaret Gormley of the OPW. Margaret is an amazing lady that I know from spending too much time in the Phoenix Park making gardens;) Turns out the gardens were designed by a lady called Ana Dolan, who also works with the OPW [I did try to get in touch with Ana…].The plaques that are brimmed with names that I noticed on the walls…they’re the names of all of the people who took part in The Special Olympics; the sculpt being the emblem of. It is also believed that the gardens are approximately 15 years old. [Thank Margaret!]

On the 15th November 2004 the gardens received  The Best Landscaped Open Space Award by The Tidy Towns unit of The Dept of Environment, Heritage & Local Government….

The other amazing fact of note is that the lawn is best viewed from the State apartments or… a helicopter. The lawn doubles as a landing pad for those who can!

If you are planning to visit, The Chester Beatty Library is a must. The coffee shop, The Silk Road Café does ‘real’ really good coffee and cakes and personally I even like the gift shop. Do be careful on planning a day there and ring in advance if you must as it may be closed for official state business.

My 3 pin plug type frustrations aside, the garden is serenity at its finest. Go there. Enjoy! Absolutely amazing.

*if I do receive any further info I will update here

UPDATE 1st July ’09:

I received an email from Denis Mc Carthy of Dublin Castle with this information ‘copied from an OPW publication Dublin Castle Art by Róisín Kennedy.’

** I really do appreciate Denis getting back to me but – Once again it’s a pity it is not available online for the world [wide web] to see [and not in PDF format btw please ‘if’ it is]

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update #2 1st July ’09:

this update comes courtesy of Keith Nolan – as keith explained he eventually goes into that garden – that said the information is amazing. Thanks Keith 😉

Update 2nd July ’09:

and this beautiful overview of the lawns taken by Niamh. Thanks Niamh 😉

dubh-linn-garden courtesy niamh smith

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have you ever met someone who invents plants…?


The 2nd last video in a series of interviews… I met with Pat Fitzgerald of MyPlant.ie a plant ‘inventor’ based in Kilkenny. Talk about a nice guy….. this is the ultimate gentleman 😉

What Pat didn’t say on camera was that he supplies his staff with the land and facilities to have their own allotment scheme free gratis 😯 not too often one hears that! *and* he supplied plants to 3 gardens in Bloom in the Park ths year… for free?!! [cue standing ovation]

He’s also on twitter as @patfitzgerald – pop on by say hello and let him know what you think of the video.

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behind the scenes of a bloom show garden

it is for you....

it is for you....

related posts:

The slogan that runs under the bloom logo is ‘celebrate garden life’. This year more than ever I hope we as a nation do just that. To quote my good friend Eugene Higgins article in the Irish Mail on Sunday…

It’s not that long ago that garden shows in Ireland were poor to say the least. They were mostly a selecion of neglected plants and muddy pathways with a few burger stands thrown in. But then in 2007 Bloom came to the rescue…

I remember in 2007 cold calling suppliers looking for help. They didn’t even know what Bloom was. Nobody did. Now into the third year it is the Irish Garden event of the year. If you have never been to Chelsea flower show – this is as good as it gets.

what you won't see...

what you won't see...

I’ve built gardens  in 2007 and 2008 and I know it is not as easy as it looks. The garden build time is usually about 2-3 weeks [this varies on garden size]. Some gardens will have had little or no sponsorship [like myself for both years] and whether it rains [and by God it did this year!] or not the garden must be complete 2 days before opening for the judging to take place.

This is the bit you may not know… For me I start planning a show garden garden at least 12 months in advance. My first year, I was answering emails on my honeymoon. 🙄  This was the January before, designs had been submitted the October before that. You might say one simply just can’t switch off. For me anyway, the sleepless nights continue……

Fast track to the garden build and with 27 other gardens being built around me, almost 35 different trades involved in my garden alone, over 250 thank you cards sent out after the show… I then awake at 6am to make it to the park to see what or if I have won a medal. The result was always immaterial, to me anyway. Pink boats don’t win awards. But as my Father would say…

Elvis didn’t wear that white suit cutting the grass son…. Only in Vegas!

It is a show garden. It is a show. I have 5 days to stand at my garden to greet you the paying visitors, the reason I have built the gardens I did.

almost there....

almost there....

It doesn’t end there. When everyone has left on the Bank holiday Monday I must then within one week disassemble my entire 3 weeks 1 years works and reinstate the grounds to how they were before I arrived. And breath…… All whilst trying to keep a business running or for some holding down a full time job.

Why amn’t I building a garden this year, to be honest I guess I just needed a little bit of a break. To reflect, to ponder, to rejuvinate the brain cells…. to spend time with the people in my life. I guess it was not easy, at times.

**That said, I love every single second of it 😉

No matter what medal a garden and it’s designer recieve, no matter who is you’re favourite or who gets the most press coverage – if you do meet the designer at their garden…. congratulate them, shake their hands, damn it – give them a big hug and wish them only the very best. They really do deserve it.

Most of all, Enjoy the show !!

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the war memorial park

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I don’t think I’ve been to this park since I was about 18 years old. For no apparent reason. [It is where I was once employed.] But it has to be said, if there is a park comparable to poetry…. This *is* it! I’ve missed it…

The history, the story, the layout, in it’s entirety… I love it. Not as many know about it. Maybe because it’s only across the road from the ‘more popular’ Phoenix Park – but for me – this is the ultimate.

Built to commemorate the 49,000 Irish men who lost their lives in the 1914-1918 Great War. This was in one way employment for those who returned home and was built [to the best of my knowledge] entirely by the hand. Designed by Edwin Lutyens – even his name may suggest you might be bored by that ‘ye olde stylee symetrical garden crapola‘. Not on your nelly! For its symbolism – the roses tiered to that of a coloseum; the four book rooms representing the four provinces; the walkway in the shape of a horseshoe as it was one horse power built and the central garden to replicating the alter of a church – it even includes two massive water features as the candles…. the list goes on.

Outside of that, the park is relaxing & very well maintained. There are places near the water to sit and watch; places within the rose and herbaceous plants to ponder and versus that open areas enough to cycle, run, picnic or just lie down and look up at the dappled shadow created by the very many mature trees around the grounds.

Visit it, love it, take your time and enjoy.

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bernice burnside…. pr garden guest #9

If you would like to know more about the thursday garden guest the pr sessions – click here.

For the moment writer #9 is Bernice Burnside of Bvisible PR

bernice

bernice

ABOUT:

Bernice Burnside began her career in television before establishing Bvisible Communications in 2001- a PR agency based on Malahide.

She grew up surrounded by actors and musicians and managed to keep her thespian and musical interests alive until the arrival of her two children, who have replaced these hobbies with a new version of acting and music! Her current interests include food, films and photography. When she does get to relax she likes a bit of yoga, a brisk walk by the sea or a good book

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT GARDENS:

When I was growing up in Sligo, I was lucky enough to have always had plenty of outdoor space for playing. I was fortunate. Ireland’s increasing population as well as our ravenous demand to own a patch of land has resulted in many children being raised with little or no outdoor playing space.

We lived in two houses in my youth: the first one was in an estate and had a wonderful sloping garden – a God-made playground feature and my friends, siblings and I used to roll down the verge when the weather was permitting (and sometimes when it wasn’t).

In my childhood gardens were the herald of seasons: springtime meant seasonal strawberries, gooseberries and edible flowers in our neighbours garden, which I and many of my friends gorged ourselves on (sometimes surreptitiously) and summer was announced by the sensory overload of the smell of cut grass (which reminds me of childhood summer to this day) and the distant buzz of various lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers and other macho motorised-blade machines. Even the man-made calendar year had a relationship with the area, as my school loomed over our back garden reminding us in summer of the blissful distance we were from going back to class.

We moved when I was 8 to a house surrounded by its own piece of land. This was more like it: the garden area was literally 10 times the size of the one in our last house, opening up the possibilities of childhood games. It was dominated by a large Yew tree from which my parents hung a swing that survives to this day. The dry, decorative well was a the focus point for tip-the-can, the open area was ideal for chasing, and best of all, there was a forest to the side and back of our house blooming with possibility. To this day I’m not sure who it belonged to, but for all intents and purposes, it was ours.

This upbringing has almost certainly coloured how I’ve been raising my kids and the back garden and outdoors area was a huge factor when we were looking to buy in Malahide. We got lucky.

Not only is it a corner house with its rear flanked and side by trees, but the previous owner was a very handy handyman. He had built a chair into the back wall, and some furniture in a seductively secluded part of the garden. Micah, like her mother, is irresistibly drawn to the garden – shivering in delight in water fights as early as April, and inventing countless games throughout the summer. Like her mother, her love for the garden is more as a consumer than a curator – I’ve always been happy to help out, but my love for the outdoors is matched only by my ignorance of its flora.

When time becomes a more plentiful commodity, I hope to approach the knowledge and dedication of my husband, starting with the planting of my own collection of herbs. This, ideally, will fuse my love for food with my passion for the outdoors.

One plant I will always remember is ivy and calla lilies. These were chosen for me by a good friend for my wedding day, based, according to her, on my colour preference as well as my persona. A florist by trade, she chose the elegant, aromatic Oriental flowers to greet me when I entered the church. Sometimes I like to imagine that she thought it reflected my mysterious, ageless beauty, but I’ve never had the nerve to ask!

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