Wednesday, October 15, 2014

National Botanic Gardens in the Fall

Earlier this year, I took a trip to the far northern edge of Dublin to visit the National Botanic Gardens up in the Glasnevin neighborhood. I had to little bit more research to do for my eBook, so this weekend we took the long (5.5 miles each way) walk up to Glasnevin to do some scouting and to check out the autumn foliage of the Gardens.

Botanic Gardens Front Gate Dublin
Botanic Gardens Front Gate

Ireland isn't really known for her deciduous forests flashing reds and golds in the fall, but we were curious as to what kinds of flowers and trees would be in bloom. We discovered, to our amazement, a little cactus and succulent patch. Outdoors! In Ireland! The gardeners here must truly be masters if they can keep cacti alive in the wet, cold, damp weather of Dublin. Fair play ta ye, gardeners!

Killer Cacti! National Botanic Gardens Dublin
Killer Cacti!

Even as the days are growing dark and cold, flowers are still in bloom in the outdoor gardens. We strolled through the native and exotic annual gardens to see the late-fall blossoms.

In the spring, I missed the food garden... Not that there would be much growing in April. In October, however, the garden was groaning with Irish produce. To encourage organic growing practices, the gardeners planted marigolds around the edge of the beds and installed this guy to keep out the birds.

Kitchen Garden Scarecrow National Botanic Gardens Dublin
Kitchen Garden Scarecrow

The Gardens are bordered on the northeast by the River Tolka, and we had a very nice stroll along the bank of the river after walking through the pine and oak forests.

River Tolka National Botanic Gardens Dublin
River Tolka

River Tolka Weir Dublin
River Tolka Weir

After crossing one bridge, we were both overwhelmed by the smell of roses. At the northeast corner of the Gardens, the rose garden was still blowing up with the color and aromas of dozens of rose varieties.

Roses at National Botanic Gardens Dublin

Roses at National Botanic Gardens Dublin

After the outdoor walk, we went inside the Victorian-era iron and glass greenhouses. Sara got this excellent picture of an Irish robin hanging out in the warm, damp hothouse.

Irish Robin National Botanic Gardens Dublin
Irish Robin

I suppose the gardeners keeping the cacti alive don't have the chops to grow orchids in the Irish climate. I guess I can give them a pass on that after seeing the indoor orchid and carnivorous plant display.

Purple Orchid National Botanic Gardens Dublin
Purple Orchid

Lady's Slipper National Botanic Gardens Dublin
Lady's Slipper

Pitcher Plant National Botanic Gardens Dublin
Pitcher Plant

After a very long walk up and extended tour of the Gardens, we were tired and a bit thirsty. Luckily, there was a new craft beer pub that we wanted to check out on Clanbrassil Street, The Headline. There, we found Five Lamps Liberties Pale Ale on draught! We had been looking for a pint of that stuff for a long time, and it was worth the wait!

...We also tried some great beers from Carrig Brewing in Leitrim and Black's Brewery in Kinsale. Irish craft beers just keep getting better and better. And what a way to finish our day! 

Carrig Lager and 5 Lamps Pale Ale
Carrig Lager and 5 Lamps Pale Ale


  1. Was really looking forward to Glasnevin posts. Thanks!

    1. It's a great neighborhood, but a bit out of the way for us. We can't get there very often, but we have a great time when we do.


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