Botanical Gardens Dublin Ireland

Botanical Gardens Dublin

Dublin has many events and attractions that can be enjoyed by visitors from all over the world, however, the Botanic Gardens in Dublin provides a common language of nature and beauty that is easily translated by its international visitors. The visitors centre provides a welcoming vista for those wishing to walk through history, culture and the fertile soil of education, relaxation and enjoyment. The visitors centre was opened on the dawn of the new millennium and offers a fine restaurant, lecture facilities, display facility and magnificent exhibits marking out a time-line relating to the existence and concept that is the Botanical Gardens Dublin.


Recommended Accommodation Close to Dublin Botanic Gardens:


Botanical Gardens opening Hours

Winter October 31st to February)

Mon-Fri 9 am – 4:30 pm

Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 10 am – 4:30 pm

Summer (March to October)

Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 10 am – 6 pm

Botanical Gardens Glasshouse opening hours:

The Glasshouses close at 4.15pm in winter

Botanical Gardens Location

The Botanic Gardens are located 3.5km north from centre of Dublin, off Botanic Road.


Botanical Gardens Facilities

Education and Visitor Centre, car and coach parking, wheelchair access, toilets, audio-visual.

Botanical Gardens Contact

Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

Telephone No: +353 1 804 0300

Visitor Centre Telephone No: +353 1 857 0909

Fax No: + 353 1 836 0080


EMERGENCY after hours telephone number: + 353 1 804 0315

Botanical Gardens Tours and Services

Free Guided Tours every Sunday at 12.00 pm and 2.30 pm.

Pre-booked Guided Tours available for groups: Cost: €2 per person.

For other public tours please check at the desk at the Education and Visitor Centre.

There is a film introducing the Botanic Gardens, which is usually available for viewing anytime. Please ring the Visitor Centre if you have any specific requirements.

Guided Tours are offered at Kilmacurragh DAILY

Meet in Car Park at noon or 3 pm.

Role of Botanic Gardens Dublin

The Botanical Gardens have been cared for over many generations by a team of dedicated, green fingered, professionals, it is the very attention to detail that offers the Botanical Gardens in Dublin as one of the greatest examples of Botanical magnificence in the world. The Botanical Gardens are a Jurassic Park of the new millennium, the exotic and native plants cry out for exploration and adventure.


The Botanical Gardens are about exploration, understanding, conservation, and sharing with the world the importance of plants from all corners of the earth. The National Botanic Gardens are a place of leisure, recreation and education for its visitors.

Botanic Gardens Conservation

The Botanic Gardens in Dublin plays a key role in conservation, it has within its borders several hundred species of plant that are endangered from around the world, and a number of the species to be found at the Botanic Gardens are already extinct in the natural world. The national Botanic Gardens act as a time capsule for the future of mankind, a place where nature’s beauty is preserved and protected from global warming and pollution.

Botanic Gardens Education

As one walks about the Botanical Gardens one can see young people learning the trade of conservation and landscape gardening, Botanical Gardens offers a unique educational platform unequalled in Europe. If it were not for the work of the Botanical Gardens, much would be unknown about our natural world, the public are more acutely aware of the need to protect mother earth from the rigours of gross commercialism. The central importance of plant life to the peoples of the world is clearly explained to those who visit this vista of cascading botany. Those who visit the Botanical Gardens can enjoy self-guided tours using Audio (MP3), mobile-phone or souvenir player, or simply enjoy traditional guided tours, which are set out above.

Botanical Gardens Science

Jurassic Park may have been a science (beyond reach) when Stephen Spielberg penned the epic adventures of the misty island, however, science is a serious and real concept at the Botanical Gardens. In the Botanical Gardens DNA Research lab, scientists work on a daily basis to try and establish new ways of protecting plant life in Ireland and around the world, a collection of almost 1 Million plant specimens are carefully catalogued and chronicled in a dried state of hibernation. Threatened spices sleep in the hope that one day they will be awakened by a new science as it evolves over time.

Botanical Gardens Reference Library

If Mars is the ultimate destination of star-gazers, then Botanical Gardens Dublin is the ultimate destination of gardiners, botanists, horticulturists and scientific adventurers. The array of labelled collections of plant species, that are carefully dated, and catalogued provide a unique encyclopaedic knowledge base for all interested parties.

Botanical Gardens Demonstrations

The Botanical Gardens is not about showing how much knowledge they have, it is about sharing that knowledge with as wide an audience as possible, as they know that the survival of the earth’s natural resources is the work of many and not the few. The Botanical Gardens provides practical workshops and training programmes all year round, this allows, both amateur and professional to return to work place and try new methods and practices to help improve their contribution to this important work.

Botanical Gardens Recreation

Visitors to the Botanical Gardens converge for all sorts of reasons, and therefore the design and species portfolio provides a stimulating environment for both student and pleasure seeker. The relaxing environs are set against the serious business of science and research, this means that certain distracting activities such as ball games are not allowed on the grounds, and this is proper.

The Botanical Gardens Entry

The Botanical Gardens is FREE to enter and enjoy 364 Days of the year, Closed on Christmas Day. Opening times as set out above move with the seasons.

Botanic Gardens History

The Irish Parliament in 1790, with the active support of The Speaker of the House, John Foster, granted funds to the Dublin Society (now the Royal Dublin Society), to establish a public botanic garden. In 1795, the Gardens were founded on lands at Glasnevin. The portrait of John Foster (below right) by William Beechey (1813) in Leinster House shows him sitting at his desk holding a map of the Botanic Gardens.

The purpose of the Gardens was to promote a scientific approach to the study of agriculture. In its early years the Gardens demonstrated plants that were useful for animal and human food and medicine and for dyeing but it also grew plants that promoted an understanding of systematic botany or were simply beautiful or interesting in themselves.

In the 1830’s, the agricultural purpose of the Gardens had been overtaken by the pursuit of botanical knowledge. This was facilitated by the arrival of plants from around the world and by closer contact with the great gardens in Britain, notably Kew and Edinburgh and plant importers such as Messrs. Veitch. By 1838, the basic shape of the Gardens had been established. Ninian Niven as Curator had in four years laid out the system of roads and paths and located many of the garden features that are present today.

Increasing plant collections and especially plants from tropical areas demanded more and more protected growing conditions and it was left to Niven’s successor, David Moore, to develop the glasshouse accommodation. Richard Turner the great Dublin ironmaster, had already supplied an iron house to Belfast Gardens and he persuaded the Royal Dublin Society that such a house would be a better investment than a wooden house. So indeed it has proved.

The contribution to the Botanical Gardens by David Moore, to its plant collections and to its reputation nationally and internationally is unsurpassed. His interests and abilities were wide ranging; he had studied the flora of Antrim and Derry, fungi, algae, lichens, bryophytes, ferns and flowering plants, before taking up his post at Glasnevin. While at Glasnevin he developed links with Botanic Gardens in Britain, in Europe and in Australia (his brother Charles became Director at Sydney). Moore used the great interest in plants that existed among the estate owners and owners of large gardens in Ireland to expand trial grounds for rare plants not expected to thrive at Glasnevin. The collections at Kilmacurragh, Headford and Fota, for example, attest to this.

David Moore first noted potato blight in Ireland at Glasnevin on 20th August 1845 and predicted that the impact on the potato crop would lead to famine in Ireland. He continued to investigate the cause of the blight and correctly identified it as a fungus but narrowly missed finding a remedy. David Moore was succeeded by his son Frederick, who was made Curator at the age of twenty-two. Some of the gardening establishment figures of the day were sceptical that such a young man would be up to the job. Frederick Moore soon justified his appointment and went on to establish Glasnevin as one of the great gardens of the world. In due course he was knighted for his services to horticulture.

Botanic Gardens Scientific Purposes

The Botanic Gardens Scientific purposes were overshadowed by its horticultural reputation during Frederick Moore’s term of office. The Scientific Superintendent of the Gardens, William Ramsay McNab, died in 1889 and was not replaced. This hiatus lasted until the appointment of a plant taxonomist, Brian Morley, in 1968 and the transfer of the National Herbarium with two botanists, Maura Scannell and Donal Synnott, from the National Museum in 1970.

The Botanic Gardens development plan was published in 1992, and led to a dramatic programme of restoration and renewal. Primary amongst these was the magnificent restoration of the Turner Curvilinear Range of glasshouses completed for the bicentenary of the Garden in 1995.

The herbarium/library was purpose built and officially opened in 1997. The 18th century Director’s House and the Curator’s House have been refurbished. New service glasshouses and compost storage bays have been built. Additional lecture rooms for the Teagasc Course in Amenity Horticulture were opened in 1999. Improved visitor and education facilities have been provided in a new Visitor Centre. In tandem with the restoration and expansion of the buildings, upgrading of the collections and displays has also been in progress. The work of plant identification and classification, of documenting, labelling and publishing continues, as does that of education and service to the visiting public.

In 1878 the Botanic Gardens came into state care and since then have been administered variously by the Department of Art and Industry, the Department of Agriculture, Dúchas the Heritage Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage the Gaeltacht and the Islands, and the Office of Public Works (OPW), which currently has responsibility for the Gardens.

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