National Botanic Gardens
Dublin is very well known for its many historic churches, its Georgian squares and many museums and art galleries but probably less so for the Botanic Gardens, where visitors can see not just a remarkable collection of plants but also some very beautiful Victorian glasshouses. While not quite a hidden gem it is a place often overlooked by tours but one that our guests consistently enjoy and where they often decide to linger for longer than planned.
The beautiful Curvilinear Glasshouses, built in 1848, are reminisent of those at Kew in London, and in fact some surplus ironwork from Kew was used to restore them.
The Great Palm House, flanked by the cactus house on one side and the orchid house on the other, was originally built from wood in 1862, but replaced with a more sturdy iron structure in the 1880s. It was beautifully and faithfully restored in the early 2000s.
With over 15,000 plant species from a variety of habitats from all around the world not everything can be seen in a single visit, but there is always plenty to see, no matter what time of year you visit. There are herbaceous borders, rose gardens, alpine, rock and pond areas, a bog garden, an arboretum, a vegetable garden and that’s before you even step inside a glasshouse.
The gardens are very involved in education, research and conservation, and maintain an important collection of over 300 endangered plant species from around the world including 6 species already extinct in the wild. The National Herberium is a collection of plants native to Ireland as well as those collected from around the world over the last 200 years and includes fruits, seeds, wood, fibres, plant extracts and artifacts as well as growing specimens.
There is a busy calendar of special lectures, tours, art exhibitions and other events throughout the year, and if you are keen gardeners and would like to combine your visit with participation in such events, let us know and we will try to time your visit to take in something you will enjoy.