National Botanic Gardens Ireland

National Botanic Gardens Ireland

Top Tourist Attractions

The Ireland National Botanic Gardens are renowned for the exquisite plant collections. They are home to over 15,000 plant species. There are exquisitely restored and planted historic glasshouses. Most notable among these are Richard Turner’s Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House

Founded in 1795, the National Botanic Gardens are a botanic haven within the bustling capital city. Set in Glasnevin, County Dublin, the gardens contain more than 15,000 plant species from habitats around the world.

The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland are an oasis of calm and beauty, and entry is free. A premier scientific institution, the Gardens contain important collections of plant species and cultivars from all over the world. The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin are located in Glasnevin, just three kilometres from Dublin City Centre, and are famous for the exquisitely restored historic glasshouses. The National Botanic Gardens in Wicklow are located in Kilmacurragh, where the milder climate, higher rainfall, and deeper, acidic soils of this historic Wicklow garden, provide a counterpoint to the collections at Glasnevin. The two gardens have been closely associated since 1854. The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland are operated and managed by the Office of Public Works.


  • The Teak House
  • The Alpine House: A constantly changing display of Alpine plants provides interest throughout the years in the Alpine House and Alpine Yard.
  • The Cactus and Succulent House
  • The Great Palm House
  • The Orchid House: Orchids have a special place at Glasnevin. It was here, in the 1840s that orchids were first grown to the flowering stage from seed by the curator, David Moore. The orchid house was restored along with the great Palm House in 2004.
  • The Curvilinear Range: This beautiful long, low range of glasshouses is built of iron and has a distinctive, curved roof.
  • In the Western Wing is a collection of plants from the mountains of South-East Asia, in particular Vireya Rhododendrons.
  • The mountains of the Philippines, Borneo, and New Guinea support unique vegetation with many genera familiar to the Northern temperate zone.
  • In the Eastern Wing are plants from the southern hemisphere, demonstrating the links between the Australian, South African, and South American floras. The southern hemisphere continents of South America, South Africa, and Australia support unique vegetation adapted to low rainfall and poor soils. Leaves are often thick and filled with volatile oils (you will notice the strong aroma of essential oils in the house) both of which deter insect predation.
  • The Victoria Waterlily House: The Victoria waterlily house was designed by Duncan Ferguson and built-in in 1854. The house was one of many built across Europe to house the botanical sensation of the time – Victoria Amazonia, the Amazon waterlily. This gigantic waterlily was named in 1827, but it was not until 1849 that the first plant flowered at Chatsworth in England.

Garden Features:

Fascinating features hide behind every turn in the path at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.

  • The Sundials

There are two sundials in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.

One in front of the Palm House is the more familiar horizontal dial. It is one of the few dials in Ireland with a time-scale graduated in single minutes. It also features the names of other cities from Bombay to Rio de Janeiro, indicating the moment of solar midday for them. On the right, the cities of Madrid, London, Paris, and Rotterdam can be seen adjacent to the gnomon.  It is one of the few dials in Ireland with a time-scale graduated in single minutes. It also features the names of other cities from Bombay to Rio de Janeiro, indicating the moment of solar midday for them. On the right, the cities of Madrid, London, Paris, and Rotterdam can be seen adjacent to the gnomon.

Across the Tolka river, in the Rose Garden, is a modern, armillary-type dial. The arrow points directly at the North Star – Polaris. As the sun crosses the sky it casts a shadow from the shaft of the arrow on the inside of the ring that represents the equatorial line of the earth, giving the hour of the day.

  • Statue of Socrates

Two marble figures representing Mercy and Socrates which had previously been in Iveagh House, St Stephens Green, Dublin, were erected in the Gardens and were much admired by visitors.

  • The Viking House

The Viking House came about as a project to mark the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Wild Ireland

The Irish flora is displayed in several ecologically-themed displays, showing woodland, heathland, and grassland. In addition, several more specialized habitat types are shown, such as the unique flora of limestone pavement.

The Family Beds

The Order or Family Beds at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, demonstrate the relationships between plants. The collection represents some ninety of the more important families of flowering plants which are hardy in Ireland.

Plant Collection

Within the living collections at the National Botanic Gardens, they have over 300 endangered species from around the world, and six species already extinct in the wild.

  • The Sensory Garden

Designed by Joan Rogers in 2002, the Sensory Garden was built by the voluntary effort of staff and students at the Botanic Gardens. The Garden encourages people to experience its plants with touch, sound, taste, and smell, as well as by sight.

  • The Herbaceous Border

A herbaceous border is a collection of perennial herbaceous plants (plants that live for more than two years and are soft-stemmed and non-woody) arranged closely together, usually to create a dramatic effect through colour, shape, or large scale.

  • The Carpet Beds

Near the front gates are the celebrated carpet beds. In summer, tender succulent plants of contrasting shades and colours are arrayed in carpet-like beds.

The carpet beds are laid out each June and lifted in early October before the autumn frosts. Succulents of the crassulacean genera Echeveria and Crassula provide contrasting blue, green, and red sectors.

  • The Rose Garden
  • The Yew Walk/ Addison’s Walk
  • The Arboretum
  • The Fruit and Vegetable Garden

The vegetable garden demonstrates organic growing techniques, composting, and honey production. There is an extensive collection of Irish apple cultivars from across the country.

Twelve Portraits

A series of twelve portraits by Anna O’Leary hang in the Visitor Centre. These portraits show notable scientists and innovators associated with the development of botany, as well as the establishment and growth of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Glasnevin, and Kilmacurragh.

Tours & Exhibitions

Daily guided tours with experienced guides take place daily that helps to discover the most iconic, helpful, and quirky plant as well as the fascinating history and international significance of the National Botanic Gardens.

The different exhibitions that take place around the year are educative as well as creative and give an in-depth picture of the topic.

Refreshments with a View

The Garden Tearoom offers a delicious selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and cakes, as well as full hot lunches, all served with a panoramic view over the nearby Gardens. The emphasis is on quality nutritional food, complemented by excellent service, specialty coffees, and a friendly atmosphere.

The beautiful gardens with amazing flowers, greenhouses, as well as nice coffee, and the new addition of “Sculpture in context” make this place a wonderful holiday with family.