10 tips for a great day out at Bord Bia Bloom this weekend

The Phoenix Park is buzzing in anticipation of Bord Bia Bloom which officially opens to the public tomorrow, Thursday May 30th at 9am. Ireland’s favourite festival of flowers, food and fun, promises visitors a great day out with its colourful collection of show gardens, tantalising displays of Irish food and drink, inspiring talks and demos, and live interactive entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Now in its 18th year, the festival expects to welcome more than 100,000 visitors over five action-packed days for another experience that is rooted in sustainable living.

Laura Douglas, Head of Bord Bia Bloom offers advice on how visitors can make the most of the Bord Bia Bloom experience: “My number one tip is to plan your visit as there is so much to see! With five stages offering almost 200 talks, demos and performances across the festival’s five days, I would recommend booking tickets online ahead of time. Visit the Plan Your Day section of the Bord Bia Bloom website as it includes site maps, exhibitor and feature listings and a schedule of all events happening within the 70 acre event site. It’s a great resource to make sure you don’t miss out on your favourite entertainers, speakers, chefs, gardens, or exhibitors.”

“We would also encourage visitors to consider simple ways to make their visit as sustainable as possible. We have free green transport options and extended bike racks in place, and would encourage attendees to bring their own reusable water bottle or cup to avail of onsite discounts and hydration stations. These simple actions support our wider commitment to creating a more sustainable event that also facilitates knowledge sharing, and positive action”

Taste the best of Irish – With almost 100 food and drink companies, the bustling Food Village and Bloom Inn will be a guaranteed stop on any visit. Meet the people behind new and familiar products; and enjoy sampling on the go. Make sure to keep an eye out for new products launching exclusively at Bord Bia Bloom, you won’t want to miss out! Looking for something more substantial to eat? With four restaurants onsite, and 60 food trucks dotted around the Phoenix Park there is something for all tastes.

Maxine Hyde & Loretta Kennedy from Mama Bear

Dress for the occasion – According to Met Éireann, the ‘bloom’ bank holiday weekend looks bright and breezy. Current indications are for a dry weekend with moderate wind and temperatures ranging from 14 to 18 degrees. Laura added, “Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes so that you can take in as much of the festival when visiting, and it’s best to have a layer or two on hand for any changing conditions throughout your stay”

See the show gardens – Described as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Bord Bia Bloom, a total of 22 small, medium and large show gardens and feature gardens will reflect colourful examples of the most recent trends and advancements in garden design while also imaginatively telling stories about creative concepts, and address local and global issues. There will be special guests, panel discussions and musical performances happening at the gardens throughout the event.

Live cookery demonstrations and talks – The Quality Kitchen Stage will host some of Ireland’s leading chefs including Darina Allen, Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio, Rory O’Connell, Fiona Uyema, Edward Hayden, Trisha Lewis, Adrian Martin, Erica Drum, Shane Smith and Brian McDermott. Summer dining, baking essentials, airfryer recipes and much more will feature throughout the recipe demonstrations. The stage will also host interviews with more than 40 Irish food producers across the five days.

Be inspired, educated, and entertained – Learn about actionable changes which can be implemented into home, life and garden at the Sustainable Living Stage and Garden Stage. For live entertainment, the Main Stage will have musical performances, while the Budding Bloomers area promises to keep children engaged with a variety of interactive workshops and demos!

Experience a workshop – The Design & Crafts Council Ireland brings together some of Ireland’s most creative designers and makers. Experience the magic of seeing a skilled craftsperson transform raw materials into a finished design before your eyes and take home a piece of Ireland’s living design culture. A delight for young and older eyes! Or visit the Conservation Zone, where 15 charities and organisations will host talks and workshops over the weekend. Included in the line-up is the Irish Wildlife Trust, Irish Seed Savers and Birdwatch Ireland.

Soak up the Buzz! RTÉ Radio 1’s Roadcaster will be onsite over the weekend with a mix of live broadcasts from RTE 1’s Countrywide, and Lyric FM’s Niall Carroll, Lorcan Murray and Evelyn Grant. The Main Stage will host Lyric FM’s Marty in the Morning and Simon Delaney, along with special guests and performances from musicians. Visitors can enjoy the perfect soundtrack while strolling through the spacious 70-acre site.

Go shopping – The Retail Pavilion, Plant Emporium, Nursery Village and Design and Crafts Council village will welcome some of Ireland’s leading growers, suppliers, makers and companies with everything to help visitors enhance their home and garden. Don’t worry about carrying everything either, the Plant Creche located beside the main information centre will keep any plant purchases safe until visitors are ready to leave.

Gardening Galore – Aside from the show gardens, garden enthusiasts will find plenty of inspiration in the ever-popular Postcard Gardens, which include 13 small but perfectly formed pop-up gardens that are designed and built by community groups, schools, and training groups from across Ireland. A lively Nursery Village will feature some of Ireland's leading nurseries, while floral displays from Ireland’s finest floral artists and a botanical art exhibition will simply delight! The Plant Clinic will also be on hand to help answer any plant-related queries and provide top tips for plant health.

Be Sun Smart – The Marie Keating Foundation is back at Bloom this year with the Early Cancer Detection is Key garden designed by David Gallagher, and the charity recommends we all follow the SunSmart Code: Slop on sunscreen with a good UV rating, Slip on sun-protective clothing, Slap on a wide-brimmed hat, Slide on sunglasses, and Seek Shade.

Getting There

Walking or public transport – Chesterfield Avenue is the Pedestrian Entrance to Bord Bia Bloom, and whether entering the park from the Parkgate St, White’s Gate (pedestrian only) or Castleknock gate, it is a 25 minute walk. Free shuttle buses, powered by hydrogenated vegetable oil depart from Parkgate Street (beside Heuston Station) and run every 10 minutes from 7am – 7pm daily

Bike or car – For traffic coming from the city centre, there are three suitable entrances to the park: the Main Gate off Parkgate Street, the Cabra Gate via Blackhorse Avenue or the North Circular Gate. Traffic coming via the M50 or north of the city can take the Ashtown, Castleknock, Knockmaroon or Chapelizod gates. Once you enter the Phoenix Park, follow the signs for the nearest car park.

For cyclists, bike racks are located in the green car park.

For drivers, there are two car parks at Bord Bia Bloom, a green and a red, both costing €10 per day. Disabled car parking is available in both car parks, close to the entrances. Parking can be pre-booked on Ticketmaster with tickets valid for either car park.

Bord Bia Bloom takes place Thursday May 30th – Monday June 3rd 2024 at the Phoenix Park, Dublin, with the show open from 9am – 6pm daily.

Tickets are on sale and priced at €30. Up to two children aged 12 and under go free with every adult ticket. For more information see bordbiabloom.com.