• Mckenzie Dow

National Botanic Gardens | Glasnevin

I recently took the time to explore the National Botanic Gardens and they were so beautiful I thought my adventure deserved a blog post! These gardens are 100% worth a visit, whether you're only here for a vacation or have been living here for years. I think the Gardens can sometimes be overlooked by tourists as they create their itineraries and the grounds are far more accessible than you might think.

I've decided to do this post in black and white because as I was editing my photos from my day, I felt that the black and white photos were far more appealing to the eye and amplified the various angles and shadows from all of the greenery. If anyone wants to see the colour photos I have them all as well, so let me know! Not only are the gardens wonderful in itself, the grounds are a perfect spot for getting that very extra, super lush selfie.

The National Botanic Gardens are located in Glasnevin, which is in North Dublin, still close to town, but not right in town. It's adjacent to Glasnevin Cemetery which is equally as beautiful, with plenty of history to go around. Nearby you'll find Gravediggers pub, which arguably has some of the best Guinness in town. You can get to the gardens on the bus, try routes 4, 9, or 83.

When you walk in, right away you will notice a glasshouse dominating the space. There are all different species of trees, shrubs, flowers every which way you look. Surrounding the different plant homes are several walkways that lead down to a lovely pond filled with lily pads and a bridge that reminds me quite a lot of that Monet Impressionist painting 'Bridge over a Pond of Water Lillies'.

Right away you can take your pick and stroll around whichever glasshouse you would like. Just make sure you close the doors behind you!

Also, entry to the gardens is free, so there's really no excuse. It's also very kid-friendly, just keep an eye on the little ones to make sure they don't tumble into the pond or step on the elevated plant beds. Unfortunately, only guide dogs are permitted.

The variety of plants is incredible. There are so many different species from all over the world. The minute you step inside one of the glasshouses it's like you've entered a different world. There were loads of plants I had never seen or heard of in my life, which is very neat. (Feel free to click on the photos to see them in full)

According to the website, there are over 15,000 types of plant species and I would definitely believe that! They also host many different and family friendly events that you can check out throughout the year. There is also a little cafe you can stop in for a nice tea after walking around.

Each of the restored glasshouses holds different types of plants. There was one dedicated to succulents and cacti. Another was full of different types of palm plants. I really liked the cacti one!

I think it would be great to bring a sketch book to draw while walking around the gardens. On a sunny day everything is bright and the patterns and reflections form the shadows of the plants are exquisite.

The grounds would also be a perfect place to do a mindfulness walk, have a picnic, go on a date, sprawl out in the sun, or practice your photography skills!

Walking around, I also saw a wedding party! I'd imagine that the gardens could be used for a lot of different events. Also, there was some sort of succulent and cacti show going on which was so cool. I loved seeing how passionate people were about their plants!

I think these glasshouses alone absolutely stunning, and probably historical in themselves. They are quite beautiful and very old looking.

Walking around the grounds, you will also find an area explaining the different types of rocks/stone/geological things found in Ireland. You may also stumble up some mini waterfalls, section about invasive species, a sculpture of DNA and cell structures, the pretty pond and a funky little statue of a little boy exploring.

The cactus and succulent glasshouse was my favourite!!! I had never seen cacti like the ones in there. Some of them were fuzzy, other ones were spiky and a few of them had the weirdest pink things growing on them. It was very tricky not to reach out and touch them. They came in all sorts of shapes and sizes which is a beautiful reminder of how wonderful diversity is on our super awesome planet. It definitely inspired me to start thinking about planning a road trip across South West America...

Apparently, there are also guided tours for the gardens, which could be useful because the grounds are really big and a guided experience might be best for those who want to make the most of the day! Also, the gardens and the cemetery are on the routes for the hop-on-hop-off tour buses too.

From the gardens you can also see what I think is O'Connell Tower. Or at least it looks like O'Connell Tower (lolz). Beneath the tower are the remains of Daniel O'Connell, an important political figure in Ireland during the 19th century. The tower has recently been renovated inside allowing people to climb to the top again. It's lovely to take in with some gorgeous flowers in front of you and the tower behind.

Overall, the National Botanic Gardens are a must visit if you like spending time outdoors, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you'd like to know more about visiting the gardens click here. The gardens have nearly 3,000 positive Google reviews, so you can't beat that! Also the leaving cert sacrifice to the weather gods has started, so I'd say the next few weeks could be ideal for visiting. Also, if you'd like to know more about visiting Glasnevin Cemetary and having a tour, click here.

Anyways, stay tuned for upcoming Cafe Corner posts, and maybe some travel posts from Cyprus!!

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