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Upcoming Events, Exhibitions and Talks at the Gardens
Last updated: August 1, 2017

The calendar to the right will help you navigate around the many events we have – if you hover your mouse over an orange date it will show you what events are on that day, and a further click will give you the full details.
As well as the full schedule, there are sections to show you details for:


Exhibitions

Exhibition: Hidden Treasures of the Museum Collection
Wednesday 5th July - 27th August

The National Botanic Gardens holds a remarkable museum collection of plant products and plant-derived artefacts. This collection was established in 1853 by David Moore, Curator of the Gardens from 1838-1879, with support from the Royal Dublin Society. The collection was originally housed in a prefabricated iron house, and later in the Natural History Museum, before being returned to the Gardens in 1970. These donations, along with many individual acquisitions from all over the world, have created a rich and diverse collection of almost 6,000 artefacts and plant specimens. Rarely on public display, these objects are stored in the National Herbarium. A selection of this unusual collection will be on display during the summer months.
Daily in the Gallery Space of the Visitor Centre
Sculpture in Context
Thursday 7th September - Friday 20th October

Sculpture in Context is Ireland’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition. Now in its 16th year at the Gardens, it offers an unparalleled space to view well-established and promising up-and-coming artists both from Ireland and abroad. Each year, an independent panel of selectors is invited to adjudicate this open exhibition, resulting in an exciting mix of mediums and styles.
The Gardens are not only a botanical haven and quiet oasis on the outskirts of a modern European city; they are also a challenging venue giving the artists the rare freedom to realise large-scale work. It also gives the public an opportunity to ramble and explore, sometimes finding sculptures in the most unusual places. The sculptures will be displayed throughout the gardens, ponds, Great Palm House and Curvilinear Range, with smaller works exhibited in the Gallery in the Visitor Centre.
Daily throughout the Gardens and Visitor Centre

Lectures, Tours & Other Events


Daily Guided Walks in August: Bloomin’ Summer

Walking through the Gardens in summertime when the flowers are in full bloom is a magnificent experience. Join our special guided tour and hear all about the plants, design and history of the stunning Herbaceous Border, annual and bedding displays, the Rose Garden and much more.
Times: Monday - Saturday 11.30am and 3.00pm, €5 per person
Sundays 12.00pm and 2.30pm, free of charge.

Guided Walk: Edible Trees
Saturday 5th August

Join us to find out how trees provide many of our commonly eaten fruits: apples and pears from temperate climates and exotic delights like avocados and bananas from the tropics. As well as fruit, trees provide us with edible nuts, seeds, leaves, shoots, buds, bark, roots, pith and sap. Learn a little about these aspects and listen to some fascinating stories about our edible trees and the impact they have on our lives.
Time: 2.30pm. Meet at the Visitor Centre
€5 per person
Children’s Workshop: Budding Botanist – Collecting and Pressing Flowers
Wednesday 9th August

Ever wanted to start your very own dried plant collection? Get great tips and discover how to become a plant collector! Join our guides on an expedition through the Botanic Gardens, identifying and collecting suitable plants for pressing before constructing your very own flower press. If you like you can also create some beautiful botanical designs with our pre-dried plants.
Time: 11.00am.
Advance Booking Essential. Admission Free
Guided Walk: Edible Trees
Saturday 12th August

Join us to find out how trees provide many of our commonly eaten fruits: apples and pears from temperate climates and exotic delights like avocados and bananas from the tropics. As well as fruit, trees provide us with edible nuts, seeds, leaves, shoots, buds, bark, roots, pith and sap. Learn a little about these aspects and listen to some fascinating stories about our edible trees and the impact they have on our lives.
Time: 2.30pm. Meet at the Visitor Centre
€5 per person
Children’s Art Camp
Niamh Synnott
Monday 14th – Friday 18th August

Join artist Niamh Synnott for Children's Art Week! Children will be encouraged through fun art activities to observe, engage in and be inspired by their surroundings. Kids can try their hand using a variety of mediums and materials such as mono and block prints, batik, plein-air painting, and construction using art straws.
Time: Ages 4-7 years: 11.00am - 12.30pm
Time: Ages 8-12 years: 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Cost: €60.
Booking Essential.
Gastronomy Tour – A Taste of the Gardens
The Market Kitchen Café
Thursday 17th August

The National Botanic Gardens contains an abundance of plants from around the world. On a conventional tour, we savour the sights, sounds and scents of the Gardens. For this exceptional evening event we present the tastes of the Gardens.
The taste tour will encompass plants from across the globe. Featuring Viking-inspired draughts, strange fruits and enticing fusion cuisine, both exotic and native species will be represented. As you savour the carefully curated recipes, we will describe the cultural uses and fascinating properties of the plants you are tasting.
Please note that most of our tasting stops will be al fresco, so dress appropriately for the weather. Over-18s only as we will be serving small amounts of alcohol.
Time: 7.00pm.
Booking Essential. The cost is €25 per person. Limited tickets available.
Organised with The Market Kitchen Café, Temple Bar Food Market
National Heritage Week 2017 – ‘Get in touch with Ireland’s nature’
Heritage Week Saturday 19th – Sunday 27th August


Guided Walk: Edible Trees
Saturday 19th August

Join us to find out how trees provide many of our commonly eaten fruits: apples and pears from temperate climates and exotic delights like avocados and bananas from the tropics. As well as fruit, trees provide us with edible nuts, seeds, leaves, shoots, buds, bark, roots, pith and sap. Learn a little about these aspects and listen to some fascinating stories about our edible trees and the impact they have on our lives.
Time: 2.30pm. Meet at the Visitor Centre
€5 per person
Busy Bee Trail:
Saturday19th – Sunday 27th August

We’re on a National Heritage Week buzz here at the Gardens! Try our brand new Pollinator Trail and get in touch with nature.
Children’s Workshop: Build your own mini bug hotel
Monday 21st August

Our gardens are filled with many beneficial insects like ladybirds, lacewings and beetles which help protect and pollinate our flowers. This creative drop-by workshop for kids will make use of natural materials to create cosy homes for these creepy crawling guests!
Time: 2.30pm.
Free event but
Booking Essential.
Lecture: Plant Hunters in Petticoats – a history of Irish women in botany
Charlotte Salter-Townshend
Tuesday 22nd August

As part of National Heritage Week, guide Charlotte Salter-Townshend will highlight the accomplishments of women who, despite the odds, blazed a trail in botany. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, it was deemed fitting for ladies to collect and depict natural objects. This allowed women to make significant contributions to natural science, despite general disadvantages in education, promotion and attire. Featured are Ellen Hutchins, Ireland’s first female botanist, Matilda Knowles, the first female curator of the National Herbarium and Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe, who collected plants in Burma. The talk will be illustrated with photographs, artwork and displays by the women discussed.
Time: 3.00pm, Visitor Centre
Children’s Event: Pond Dipping
Wednesday 23rd August

Explore the weird and wonderful diversity of insects and minibeasts living in and around the pond at the National Botanic Gardens. Perfect your technique with guidance from the experts and learn how to identify the amazing creatures you have captured. Once you have discovered the hidden life of ponds you will never look at them the same way again!
Time: 11.00am.
Admission Free.
Booking Essential. Meet at the Visitor Centre.
Organised with the Irish Wildlife Trust.
Children’s Workshop: Origami
Thursday 24th August

Come and get creative with paper at our new children's origami workshop and learn about the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. Did you know ‘Ori’ means fold and ‘Kami’ means paper? Having mastered the basics of this elegant art, you can then transform a sheet of paper into something exciting like an animal, tree or flower. Materials supplied.
Time: 2.30pm.
Cost €5 per child.
Booking Essential (Suitable for ages 8 to 12)
Guided Walk: Edible Trees
Saturday 26th August

Join us to find out how trees provide many of our commonly eaten fruits: apples and pears from temperate climates and exotic delights like avocados and bananas from the tropics. As well as fruit, trees provide us with edible nuts, seeds, leaves, shoots, buds, bark, roots, pith and sap. Learn a little about these aspects and listen to some fascinating stories about our edible trees and the impact they have on our lives.
Time: 2.30pm. Meet at the Visitor Centre
€5 per person


Events at the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh

Located in Kilbride, east Co. Wicklow (Junction 18 on the N11), National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, is the centrepiece of an eighteenth-century estate and is famous for its conifers, rhododendrons, meadows, and double-borders.
Free, guided tours are held twice daily from Thursday 16th of March until the middle of October at 12.00pm and 3.00pm. Don’t miss the fabulous Rhododendron Walks Saturdays and Sundays from 25th March to 30th April.
The Acton Tea rooms are open all year round. Picnics are permitted at the designated picnic tables. Group tours should be pre-booked. Meet at the car park entrance to the Gardens for all events.
At other times of the year call the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
Guided Walk: The Meadows and Me
Saturdays in June, July and August

Join our expert guides on a stroll through the summer meadows. From wild Irish orchids to yellow rattle, discover the many wonderful plants that are growing in our regenerated meadows.
Time:2.30pm. Meet at the Car Park


Workshops and Activities for Children


Choose from a selection of free trails at the Visitor Centre and embark on a self-guided discovery of the wonderful plants on display in the Gardens and glasshouses. Trails available include:
  • 'Plant Partners' – Discover the amazing interactions between plants and animals
  • 'The Food Trail' – Find common and curious foods from around the world
  • From the 5th of March onwards the new Bark and Native Tree Trails will be available to pick up at the Visitor Centre during open hours. Beidh leagan Gaeilge ann freisin, ar fáil ag an deasc san Ionad Cúairteóiri ar feadh Seachtain na Gaeilge!
  • 'The Native Trail' – Explore our native plant collections (also available as Gaeilge)
Children’s Art Camp
Niamh Synnott
Monday 17th - Friday 21st July; & Monday 14th - Friday 18th August

Join artist Niamh Synnott for Children's Art Week! Children will be encouraged through fun art activities to observe, engage in and be inspired by their surroundings. Kids can try their hand using a variety of mediums and materials such as mono and block prints, batik, plein-air painting, and construction using art straws.
Ages 4 - 7 years: 11.00am - 12.30pm
Ages 8 - 12 years: 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Cost: €60. Booking Essential.
Children’s Event: Pond Dipping
Saturdays 20th May, 17th June, 22nd July, Wednesday 23rd August

Explore the weird and wonderful diversity of insects and minibeasts living in and around the pond at the National Botanic Gardens. Perfect your technique with guidance from the experts and learn how to identify the amazing creatures you have captured. Once you have discovered the hidden pond life you will never look at ponds the same way again! This workshop is suitable for children age 8 and upwards.
Time: 11.00am. Admission Free. Booking Essential. Meet at the Visitor Centre.
Organised with the Irish Wildlife Trust.
Children’s Workshop: Budding Botanist - Collecting and Pressing Flowers
Saturdays 27th May and 24th June, Wednesdays 12th July and 9th August

Ever wanted to start your very own dried plant collection? Get great tips and discover how you can become a plant collector! Join our guides on an expedition through the Botanic Gardens, identifying and collecting suitable plants for pressing before constructing your very own flower press. If you like, you can also create some beautiful botanical designs with our pre-dried plants.
Time: 11.00am.
Advance Booking Essential. Admission Free
Family Workshop: Delve Deeper
Sunday 23rd July

A fun drop-by event for the whole family. Experiment with our special hand held digital microscopes. See what leaves, seeds and even tiny bugs look like up close!
2.30pm. Visitor Centre


Education Tours and Workshops for schools


A variety of special themed guided tours and workshops are available free of charge to school groups. All school visits should be pre-booked at the Visitor Centre – (01) 8570909/ 8040319 Guided Tours available for booking throughout the school year for both primary and secondary level:
Primary Schools Tours
  • The Rainforest – Explore Ireland’s only tropical rainforest in the Great Palm House, and find out about plants from all over the world. Available year round
  • Irish Plants – Hear all about Irish plants and trees, their uses, folklore, and how to identify them. Visit the Viking House and find out what plants they grew for food, clothing, and shelter. Available year round
  • Tree-mendous trees – Discover the lives of our great trees – how they produce their food, survive the seasons, and help us in our daily lives. Available year round
  • Sculpture in Context Tours for Primary Schools – Throughout the Sculpture in Context exhibition, primary school groups can book a special guided tour of the gardens that includes some of the exciting sculptures both outdoors and in the gallery and glasshouse areas. Thursday 8th September – Friday 21st October
  • National Tree Week – Tree walks for schools - Hear some fascinating facts and tales about native and exotic trees alike, and also learn how to identify some of our most popular trees. Suitable for 1st class and up. To celebrate National Tree Week each school group will have the opportunity to take away a tree to plant! Monday 6th-Friday 10th March
Primary Schools Workshops
  • Get Growing! – Join us for a workshop in our new Education Garden. Make and plant your own newspaper pots to take home and get tips on what is best to plant in your school garden. Follow this with a special guided tour of the Gardens that includes a trip to Ireland’s only tropical rainforest and learn to identify some native trees along the way. Sept-Oct & Mar-May
  • Delve Deeper – Take a tour of the Gardens and collect samples with our intrepid guides before going back to the Education Centre to experiment with our special, user-friendly, handheld, digital microscopes. See what leaves, seeds, and even microscopic bugs look like close up! Available year round
Primary Schools Trails
  • Plant Partners – Why not collect this self-guided trail and explore the intriguing world of plant and animal relationships. Year round
  • Food Trail – Our brand new food trail looks at some of our favourite Irish foods and some more unusual foods from around the world. Year round
  • Bark Trail – Observe and touch the different textures of trees.
  • Native Trail – Discover native Irish plants and the animals that use them. Also available as Gaeilge Second Level
Second Level Guided Tours
  • Plant Adaptations – This guided walk will look at some of the amazing adaptive features our plants have adopted to cope with everything from predators, habitat loss and climate change.
  • Plants & Us – We all use plants in so many ways each day. This guided tour will focus on the wealth of products we gain from plants from lipstick and chewing gum to cotton and vanilla!
  • Trees, trees, trees – Discover the secret life of trees on this tour where we will talk about everything from the Irish ‘Clash of the Ash’ to Sierra Nevada’s giant fire-resistant Redwoods.
Workshops for Secondary Level
  • Delve Deeper – Take a tour of the gardens and collect samples with our intrepid guides before going back to the Education Centre to experiment with our special, user-friendly, handheld, digital microscopes. See what leaves, seeds, and even microscopic bugs look like close up!
  • Ecology Workshop – Explore the world of ecology while taking an expedition through the Gardens exploring ecological concepts such as nutrient cycling, climate and soil adaptation, and habitat structure. This workshop combines an interactive classroom session with a tour of the Garden’s native and exotic plants. It also features activities such as:
    • mapping woodland and hedgerow habitats
    • stepping from tropical to desert biomes to explore plant adaptations to the world’s climate and environmental factors
    • searching the garden’s amazing plant collection for fascinating living examples of ecological relationships such as competition, predation, parasitism, and symbiosis
    Students will also get a rare chance to study plants at the centre of real conservation projects, and even see rare plants that are extinct in the wild. This workshop is based on the curriculum needs of the Leaving Cert Biology Sub-Unit General Principles of Ecology, but will also cover other aspects of the Leaving Cert Biology and Geography Curricula.
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