A week in Ireland at The International Garden Centre Congress


We have just returned from the International Garden Centre Congress held in Ireland and had a very enjoyable and interesting week with delegates from twenty two different countries.

The week kicked off with a visit to Johnstown Garden Centre in Naas, Co Kildare followed by Newlands Home and Garden Centre in Clondalkin near Dublin. We were treated in the afternoon to three interesting tourist attractions and a taste of Irish history. We visited Croke Park, the home to the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Dublin Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery. Our first evening was a spectacular dinner in the historical Round Room at the Mansion House with no other than the Irish president Michael D Higgins as the guest speaker.

The Garden House at Malahide was our first stop on Tuesday followed by a visit to Malahide Castle. We were treated to a fabulous lunch at Jones Garden Centre in Donabate. We toured Keelings Fresh Produce Growing Facility; an incredibly well run 482 acre soft fruit farm with ten hectares of heated glasshouses. A tour of Trinity College followed by dinner at the Old Jamesons Distillery was an excellent end to an excellent day.

On Wednesday we were welcomed to The Arboretum Garden Centre in Co. Carlow in the morning and again for dinner and wonderful entertainment in the evening. The other highlights of the day were a visit to Kilkenny Castle plus early evening racing at Gowran Park.

Thursday we travelled south to Co. Wicklow and visited Powerscourt Garden Centre and Gardens. We had a tour and lunch at O’Connor Nurseries followed by a visit to Cois na hAbhann Garden Centre in Camolin, Co. Wexford. Dinner at Kilruddery House and Gardens was wonderful and dancing outside in the rain was a fun way to end the evening!

The final day of the Congress included a visit to the Japanese Gardens & National Stud, lunch at Orchard Home & Garden at Celbridge, Co. Kildare followed by the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin City for a tour and a pint of the black stuff!

The food, entertainment and the Irish hospitality was faultless throughout the week and this is credit to the Irish Congress organising committee who worked tirelessly from start to finish.

Thank you - Go raibh maith agaibh.