Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th August 2018

This year we will be hosting a variety of events to celebrate Heritage Week at both Glasnevin and Kilmacurragh.

We are delighted to host the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival at Glasnevin and share the remarkable story of the tomato. 
There will be an exhibition of tomato cultivars to demonstrate the sheer diversity of this amazing fruit. An expansive variety of cultivars will be on display until Sunday 2nd September in the Teak House. 

As part of the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival, there will be a series of talks held in the Education & Visitor Centre at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Glasnevin.

Saturday 18th August

Tomato Tales: Origins, botany, folklore and diversity

When tomatoes first arrived in Europe, people were deeply distrustful of these ‘love apples’ because of their links to some of Europe’s most toxic plants. Globally we now grow half the weight of the human population each year! Matthew Jebb, Director of the National Botanic Gardens, will explore their origins, diversity, and the remarkable legal decision of 1893 that classified them as a vegetable and not a fruit.

11am, Education & Visitor Centre. No booking necessary. Free lecture. 

Tomato Tales: How to Grow, Cook, and Eat Totally Terrific Tomatoes

Nicky Kyle has been growing organic vegetables for over forty years. She knows that growing your own food is an incredibly positive and therapeutic thing to do. She has a wealth of experience growing organically in Irish conditions, and has a particular fondness for tomatoes. She founded the Festival in 2012 and it is still going strong.                                 

12pm, Education & Visitor Centre. No booking necessary. Free lecture.

Mandala Making in Nature

Explore the story of an oak tree and the rich biodiversity that surrounds it while creating a giant mandala around its base. Using found material gathered in the Botanic Gardens, this communal activity is environmentally friendly.
No need for booking. All ages welcome.

2pm- 5pm, meet at the Education & Visitor Centre. No booking necessary.

Book Launch and Talk: The Potato was Not the Problem

As part of Heritage Week‘s theme of Sharing Stories we are delighted to host the launch of this new book by art historian Dymphna Headen. Dymphna lives near Bawnboy in Co. Cavan and is involved in the restoration of a workhouse dating from the era of an Gorta Mór. She has spent many years researching the impact of government policies in the 19th century and the consequence of these when combined with the arrival of potato blight.                                                                 

3.00pm, Education & Visitor Centre. No booking necessary. Free lecture.

Saturday 19th August

Children’s Workshop: Cooking and Eating Tomatoes

Deirdre Doyle of the The Cool Food School will host a fun, interactive workshop including tomato storytelling, picking, and eating. These workshops are specifically tailored to 3-8 year olds. Limited Numbers. Please book through the Visitor Centre at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. Call (01) 804 0319/ 857 0909 or email

11am-11.45pm and 1pm- 1.45pm. Booking essential.

Monday 20th August

Afternoon Lecture: An Irish palaeobotanical odyssey

Take a tour through time with Ireland’s fossil plants. Matthew Parkes, geological curator with the Natural History Museum, will pay brief visits to all of Ireland’s significant plant fossil localities, starting with the oldest land plants in the world from Co. Tipperary, stopping at the Kiltorcan locality (subject of the current exhibition in the Botanic Gardens) before visits to Carboniferous coal swamps. Small glimpses of the plant cover are known from Jurassic, Cretaceous and more recent rocks before the modern flora appeared after the last Ice Age ended. This lecture has been organised to coincide with the exhibition Devonian Fossils: A window into the past, which runs until Friday 24th August.

3pm, Education & Visitor Centre. No booking necessary. Free lecture.     

Tuesday 21st August

Children’s Drop-by Activity: Build your own bug hotel

Come join us in the Erasmus Education Garden and explore the world of mini-beasts. Design, build, and decorate your own bug hotel which you can bring home to your own garden. Suitable from ages 4 and up. All children must bring their own grown up. First come, first served.

11am, 11.30am, 3pm, and 3.30pm. 


Saturday 25th August

Children’s Workshop: Growing Tomatoes

Deirdre Doyle of the The Cool Food School will host a fun, interactive workshop for children aged 8-11 years old, exploring tomatoes and how they are grown. These classes are specifically tailored for 8-11 year olds. 
Limited numbers. Booking Essential. Call the Visitor Centre National Botanic Gardens of Ireland at (01) 804 0319/ 857 0909 or email

11am & 1pm. Booking essential.

Themed Tour: Philosophy in the Gardens

At the Academy in Ancient Greece, philosophy students strolled outdoors while pondering the big questions. As Friedrich Nietzsche said centuries later, “it is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.” 
The ambiance of the National Botanic Gardens itself provided inspiration to the great Ludwig Wittgenstein, who sat in the Palm House to keep warm in the 1940s.
Following in the footsteps of these great thinkers, we will explore philosophical themes in the outdoor classroom that is the Botanic Gardens.
2.30pm, meet at the Education & Visitor Centre. No booking required. €5 per person. Suitable for adults.

Please note that unfortunately the afternoon lecture with Robin Lane Fox has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule for next year. 

National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Kilmacurragh

Saturdays 18th and 25th August

Guided Walk: The Plant Hunters

The travels of the plant hunters make wonderful stories! Often away for several years at a time in the most inaccessible parts of the world, these intrepid people showed wisdom, bravery, and foolhardiness. Join this illuminating walk around Kilmacurragh to find out more.

2.30pm, meet at the Car Park

Saturday 18th – Sunday 26th August

Guided Walk: Sharing Stories at Kilmacurragh

Where do our plants come from? How did they get here? Where did they get their names? Come join us for stories that will answer some of these questions (while some plants will always retain their mysteries…)

3pm, meet in the Car Park