A black and white image of five staff members, titled Grand Old Men in the National Botanic Gardens, appeared in Features magazine in 1947. The photograph was reproduced in a history of the Gardens, The Brighest Jewel, noting the men had served in total more than 220 years.

With a nod to the old photograph, we asked Amelia Stein, renowned photographer, RHA, Aosdána, and friend of the Gardens to capture a similar image. Within a 6 month period, which began on December 12, 2018, the Curator, Paul Maher and Foremen, Denis McNally and Edel McDonald will retire. Collectively they have gardened at Glasnevin for 136 years.

Denis, Paul, and Edel studied horticulture at the Gardens with hands on experience a key part of their training.
As foremen, Denis and Edel were in charge of various sections of the Gardens. Paul Maher was Curator not only of the Glasnevin site but also of the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, JFK Artboretum in Wexford, and St Enda’s Park in Rathfarnham.

From left: Denis McNally, Edel McDonald, Paul Maher

Reproduction from ‘The Brightest Jewel’ by E. Charles Nelson and Eileen McCracken