Located in Dublin’s sleepy Glasnevin suburb, the National Botanic Gardens are one of the city’s real treasures. Every time I go I feel a real sense of refreshment leaving the Gardens. They are a wonderful (and free) resource for the capitals inhabitants and tourists.
Established in 1795 by John Foster, the National Botanic Gardens original purpose was to enhance and promote the science of agriculture and many of the early plants were those most suited to food and medicine. It was only in the 1930’s that the focus switched more to the pursuit of botanical knowledge. As more and more plants were brought to the Gardens it was necessary to build the substantial glasshouses which you see today.
It was at the Gardens that potato blight was first noticed in 1845 which was a sign of the impending Great Famine. Recent refurbishments have made it a comfortable and modern place to visit, the café serves decent food and coffee although can be busy in good weather. The Gardens are located adjoined to Glasnevin Cemetery and there is an entrance between them so it’s a perfect opportunity to visit both places on the one day.
The Gardens offer daily guided tours to help you pick out and find the wonderful, rare treasures of the various living plant collections. The experienced guides will also tell you all about the very interesting history and international importance of the National Botanic Gardens. In addition, there are plenty of exhibitions all year round and different events to keep an eye on.
Entry to the Gardens is free, as they are operated by the Office of Public Works. The 4, 9, and 83 buses serve the Gardens and paid car parking is available for a flat fee of €2. Opening hours vary according to the seasons so for more information, click here.