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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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the bloom in the park ’09 experience

The sun is splitting the skies, the Phoenix Park looks spectacluar…. you simply can’t imagine what a show Bloom in the Park has turned out to be.

To only mention the gardens is, maybe, what I should be doing…. but, as a garden builder and designer at Bloom – they are all [seriously] amazing and I simply can’t be pushed to just pick one. Anyone who designs and/ or builds a garden here is a genius in my eyes 😉 I will however give an over view of the  entire Bloom experience & some of the interesting people I met on my sabatical 😆

The beautiful Maeve Desmond [International PR for Bord Bia] lets you know what you can expect to see…

If kids entertainment is what you really want…? Go meet the wonderful Orla from Imaginosity. They have an amazing kids interactive garden event [amongst many things] going on just behind the tea rooms at the visitor centre. Go see. Bring the kids you’ll love it…..

More interesting people….. Ever wondered what The Irish Wildlife Trust really do… ?

Of course I met literally hundreds of people that I knew…. here’s a few quick snaps for you to get a gist of what else is going on.

And last but not least….. do get there early. It’s well worth it…. but, I’m guessing the traffic will be a little crazy-er than the Thursday. That said, it is the All-Ireland of garden shows…

To the big question…. would I go again? 110% absolutely yes. [I’ll be back on saturday] I loved every second of it. I got a great chance to speak to the public, the people involved and the traders… One girl sold out of bread in the food stall within 3 hours ?!! Another lady I spoke thought it was great value for money…. others felt it was better laid out this year and that there was more seating…. call it what you like, compliment what you wish… but honestly, the only complaint I heard was that the sun had been shining too much and extra watering would be required in order to have the gardens looking their best for tomorrow 🙂

Do go. Do enjoy. Do let me know what you think after. My opinion 5/5. Well deserved. Take a bow Bord Bia. Bulaidh Bós Mór 😉

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behind the scenes of a bloom show garden

it is for you....

it is for you....

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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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