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On a recent trip to Ireland we spent our last full day in Dublin. After being told about Bloom by some staff at Rossborough House, we asked at a garden centre and at a tourist centre about Bloom and the days it was being held. We were told it was starting on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday so we did not know which was correct and could not find any advertising about it. We did not have internet access where we were staying so when we were in Dublin on the Wednesday we checked at the train station and they confirmed it would be happening on Friday and we could get a complementary bus across the river from the train station that would take us to the site in Phoenix Park. Walking was not a good option because it was being held at the far side of the park and the park is quite large.

Unfortunately everyone on the train line from Waterford to Carlow also had the same idea and the train was standing room only. We thought the railway would have put on more cars or more trains because of the event but they did not. However, once we got on the free bus and got to the event everything was very well organized. Kudos to Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) for putting on such an excellent event! From the shuttle buses running all day (8:30 am to 7:00 pm), to buying the tickets, to having lots of room to walk around the exhibits, to very well labeled exhibits, to staff keeping the pathways clear of litter, to having staff pointing out extra washrooms available for the crowds, to laying miles of rubber pathways around the exhibits, everything was very orderly and easy to get around.

Admission was €59.00 for three seniors and one adult – €20 for adults while the senior rate was only €13. We made our way through the various exhibits of flowers, saw an interesting joint garden and sculpture exhibit, had a lovely coffee break in Donnelly’s Fresh Food Parlour and did some Christmas shopping at the retail outlets. Thanks to over 120 Irish food producers we sampled delicious strawberries, cheese and potatoes. We checked out a floral inspired fashion show and listened to live bands in the picnic area while sharing large burgers and chips – saving room for the biggest ‘99’ ice creams we have ever had. It was a great day and a fitting end to our visit to Ireland. The only drawback was standing room only again on the train home.

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