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.
Guided Walk: The Meadows and Me
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
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:
Children’s Art Camp
- '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)
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.
Children’s Event: Pond Dipping
Ages 4 - 7 years: 11.00am - 12.30pm
Ages 8 - 12 years: 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Cost: €60. Booking Essential.
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.
Children’s Workshop: Budding Botanist - Collecting and Pressing Flowers
Time: 11.00am. Admission Free. Booking Essential. Meet at the Visitor Centre.
Organised with the Irish Wildlife Trust.
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.
Family Workshop: Delve Deeper
Advance Booking Essential. Admission Free
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
Primary Schools Workshops
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 Trails
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
Second Level Guided Tours
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
Workshops for Secondary Level
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.
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:
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.
- 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