Over 100,000 visitors attend Bord Bia Bloom 2023                                             

by Gazette Reporter
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The Phoenix Park, Dublin was a-buzz over the June Bank Holiday weekend as over 100,000 visitors attended Bord Bia Bloom 2023. According to the organisers, business was booming, and spirits were high at the popular event throughout the weekend, in part due to the warm summer weather!  

 Speaking on the final day of the 2023 festival, Jim O’Toole,Bord Bia’s Chief Executive said the public appetite for Bloom remains strong. “We have had a very successful show this year, with positive feedback from attendees across the five days and in its 17th year, Bloom remains a firm favourite with the Irish public.”

“In addition to creating an enjoyable visitor experience, Bloom provides an important commercial opportunity for Bord Bia’s client companies. We work with Ireland’s leading garden designers, nurseries and horticulture businesses, and more than 100 food and drink producers, who are at Bloom to showcase their work, products and services. Their focus is not just to impress the public onsite, but also fill their order books for the year ahead. This event has become an integral part of the summer calendar for consumers and businesses alike, and that is something Bord Bia is very proud of.”  

Georgina Smith from Waterford and Paula Smith from Navan enjoying Show Gardens and sunshine at Bord Bia Bloom over the weekend. Photo Fennell Photography 2023

 Business was Bloomin’ 

 Consumers were keen to spend at Bloom and many exhibitors reported strong sales and a need to restock over the weekend. Jack Cunnane of Western Plant Nurseries in Skreen, Co. Sligo exhibited in the outdoor Nursery Village and won a gold medal for their display. “We’ve been participating at Bord Bia Bloom for eight or nine years now, and this has been our best yet in terms of sales. We sold more in the first three days than we have in the average five days compared to previous years. We’re low on stock now, but that’s a good sign – we don’t want to bring it home!”  

 Meanwhile, Phytaphix, an award-winning functional food company based in Dundalk, was new to Bloom this year. Speaking today (Monday), Phytaphix founder Dr. Conor Kerley said “This was our first time at Bord Bia Bloom and the response has been nothing short of phenomenal. Bloom is the biggest event we have ever exhibited at, and it has been such a great opportunity to meet thousands of people face to face. We launched our new product ‘Energy Phix’ here on Thursday and were sold out by Thursday evening! I wasn’t planning to be at the event every day, but the adrenaline of meeting people is fantastic, and I haven’t missed a minute. It’s been an amazing experience for a relatively new brand, and we’re already looking forward to next year.”  

Sustainable Gardens  

In keeping with previous years, and the renewed focus on sustainability and waste reduction at Bord Bia Bloom, many elements of the show and feature gardens will

be relocated after the event including: 

  • The Rise Garden, designed by Eugene Higgins in collaboration with the young people at Oberstown, will relocate to Oberstown premises and will kick start its new horticulture programme for young people detained to learn and develop new skills.  
  • The Coastal Garden – Easy Steps to Dream Gardens designed by James Purdy, sponsored by Bord Bia will be donated to the ‘What Darragh Did’ charity in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, and enjoyed at its community centre. 
  • Green Cities Europe Parklet designed by Daibhí MacDomhnaill, sponsored by EU Green Cities on behalf of the Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association (IHNSA), will be relocated within Dublin city centre to support its message of ‘greening’ urban spaces.  
  • Elements of the Marie Keating Foundation Catching Cancer Early Garden designed by Robert Moore and sponsored Astra Zeneca and MSD, will be rehomed in a cancer service centre in Co. Kerry linked with the charity. 
  • Planting from the First 5 Garden of Wonder and Discovery, designed by Oliver and Liat Schurmann, sponsored by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, will move to Creative Kids Childcare centre, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 who helped in the design of the garden.  
  • A Breathing Space for Fingal, designed by Jane McCorkell, sponsored by Fingal County Council, will be rehomed in local parks across the Fingal area.  
  • Finally, planting from The Raising Amazing Garden by Tusla Fostering, will be used to create four sensory gardens at Tusla Fostering residential homes.  

Final Day Awards  

 The final day of the festival also marked the announcement of a number of awards, including:  

  • The People’s Choice Award, wherebyvisitors to the show vote for their favourite show garden, was awarded to First 5 Garden of Wonder and Discovery, designed by Liat and Oliver Schurmann of Mount Venus Nursery, Dublin  
  • The Best Contractor Award, given to the show garden team that exceeded expectations through their construction, teamwork and support of other designers, was presented to the team behind A Breathing Space for Fingal. 
  • The Bloom 2023 garden designers select the Designer’s Choice Award, and this year the accolade was presented to Nicola Haines who designed the Citröen Power of One garden. 

Bord Bia also presented three food awards this year for the first time: 

  • The Best Taste Award went to Kinara Kitchen, an Indian restaurant in Dublin that has wowed Bloom attendees over the years for its authentic charcoal-grilled delicacies.  
  • The Visitor’s Choice Food Award gathered votes from visitors for their favourite food truck at this year’s show and Bahay, a Filipino-inspired street food truck was selected as the inaugural winner.  
  • Finally, the Best Dressed Award went to Killua Castle food truck (Co. Westmeath) for their creative Bloom-inspired floral decor. 

  Dates for 2024 

Bord Bia has confirmed that Bloom 2024 will take place from Thursday, May 30th to Monday June 3rd next year.  

-   All of Bord Bia’s Bloom photography has been syndicated by Fennells Photography. 

-   Information on all the award winners at Bord Bia Bloom is available here.  

Bord Bia Bloom 2023 by numbers:  

As the festival draws to a close, Bord Bia has released some of the event facts and figures from the last five days: 

  • year’s show featured 22 show and feature gardens, nine postcard gardens, .nursery displays, and over 100 food and drink producers.  
  • The prestigious judging panel comprised of 15 Irish and international horticultural experts, who awarded more than 78 awards to show garden designers, amateur postcard garden designers; plant nurseries and floral artists.  
  • Five new garden designers exhibited for the first time at Bord Bia Bloom. 
  • 760 exhibitors featured across all areas across the show  
  • Over 30,000 people availed of Bord Bia’s free Shuttle Bus to and from Bord Bia Bloom across its five days 
  • Over 250 retail and foodservice buyers met with 100 plus Irish food and drink companies at the Bord Bia trade breakfast on Friday morning  
  • A total of 3,800 people worked onsite over the five days, including 100 Bord Bia staff volunteers. 
  • It will take 14 days to clear the Bord Bia Bloom site. 

Photo Fennell Photography 2023

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