Bloom in the Park 2015 opened yesterday and will run, as always, for the June Bank Holiday weekend. This time around, I went with my mum and sister who go to this event every single year without fail. I’d only been once before in 2013 and it was such a great experience so I had high expectations going in!
We arrived just after ten. I actually thought we were early but there were literally hundreds of people already there. First thing we did was grab some coffee and pastries in the main restaurant — always my favourite way to start a day!
After that, we toured the show gardens and I took pictures of a few of my favourites. There was some beautiful areas but to be honest, I much preferred the show gardens that I saw in 2013. I just remember being really impressed with them whereas this year, I felt there was a few that were a bit too similar to each other.
^love water features!^
^bright and beautiful^
^such a cool idea!^
Around noon, we sat down to watch a cooking demo by one of my favourite TV chefs Neven Maguire. In under half an hour, he whipped up a three course meal of spring rolls, duck and lemon posset which looked incredible! Just as he was finishing up, President Michael D. Higgins arrived to officially open the event. We stayed for his speech and then headed on to see what else was around.
Bloom is not just for gardening enthusiasts; it’s a great place for foodies too. There are lots of market stalls where you can sample and pick up some of the best Irish food brands (think Skoff pies, Keogh’s crisps, Jelly Bean Factory jellybeans…). With the lunchtime options, there’s something for everyone. You can choose from pizza or pulled pork from a hog roast, Chinese noodles or sweet and savoury crepes and plenty more. We went with steak sandwiches but I was kicking myself after for not doing a full lap of the venue first because I saw a Mexican food van later which I would have loved to have gone to instead!
^ these dessert shots were so good! I regret not getting more ^
^diet went out the window when I got my hands on rainbow cake and a giant cookie!^
At Bloom, you can also indulge in some retail therapy with art, crafts and home and garden items on sale across the venue. There’s also entertainment with the chef’s food stage, a fashion stage, a main stage with musicians and more.
Unfortunately because Bloom is an outdoors event, it really depends on the weather. While we were there, we had a few showers and one seriously heavy downpour which put a damper on things. Puddles, muddy patches and people rushing and pushing does not add up to a whole lot of fun! When the sun shone though, it was entirely different — it was so lovely and you could really appreciate the surroundings then.
I always love days out like this. It’s really great to see enthusiasm for the outdoors and Irish producers.
I have to say though, it can be expensive enough. We bought our tickets at the gate, €20 each (they had been available online at €18 plus service charge so it probably worked out the same). For attendees looking to pick up a lot of bits, you can buy trolleys in the form of pull-along plastic boxes on wheels. They’ve always been €10 and this year, they were hiked up to €15 which I think is a bit ridiculous for what they are. Of course you don’t have to buy a ton of stuff to enjoy the day but if you’re there for any length of time, it’s inevitable that you’re going to spend. By the time you even get just your lunch, probably a snack and a drink, maybe a couple of little items…it adds up pretty quickly! So I’d definitely advise anyone going to be well prepared — I didn’t even get that much but my purse was still considerably lighter when I was leaving the venue!
This was my second time attending Bloom and — to be perfectly honest — I really can’t see myself going again next year. Don’t get me wrong; it was actually a very good day. I did enjoy it but parts of it felt repetitive and the cost of some things as well as the unpredictable weather was a bit off-putting. Who knows though, I might give it a miss next year and be back in 2017 — in the meantime, I’ll be hopefully checking out the other festivals and events across Ireland. There’s plenty of them out there so I’m looking forward to discovering as many as I can!