VISITOR INFORMATION



VISITING THE GARDENS
Role of the Gardens
Brief History of the Gardens
Opening times and tours
Getting to the Gardens
The Visitor Centre
Education at the Gardens
Upcoming events & Calendar
Frequently asked questions

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vert bar Some quick answers to commonly asked questions
Last updated: April 24, 2011

This page doesn't attempt to answer all of the questions that people ask us - we handle hundreds of enquiries each year - but it provides quick answers to some common questions, and provides links to other areas on the site where help may be available.
The Gardens primary role is as a scientific collection. As a consequence we do not allow dogs, picnics, bicycles, fishing, ball games, jogging or running, nor the playing of musical instruments or recorded music.

Where are the National Botanic Gardens?
How do I get there?
When are the Gardens open?
What is a 'botanic' garden? What's the difference from any other public garden?
Why do you use Latin for plant names? What's wrong with common names?
Who funds the Garden?
Do you have wheelchairs?
Can all parts of the Gardens be accessed by wheelchair users?
Are dogs allowed?
Where can I park?
Can I buy plants?
Can I get something to eat during my visit?
Do you allow picnics in the Gardens?
How and when can I use the Library?
Can I visit the Herbarium?
What are your current and forthcoming exhibitions?
Can I hold my wedding in the Garden?
Can I arrange wedding photographs?
Can I hold a meeting, conference or lecture at the Garden?
Can you identify a plant or fungus for me?
Can you give me horticultural advice?
How old is the Garden?
Are there still red squirrels in the Botanic Gardens?
Can I take photographs of the plants in the Garden?
Can I film in the Garden?

Back to top Where are the National Botanic Gardens?

The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland are situated in Glasnevin, they are about 3.5km north from the centre of Dublin, off Botanic Road. You can download a map with instructions here …
Find the National Botanic Gardens in Google Maps


View Getting to the National Botanic Gardens in a larger map

Back to top How do I get there?
By Bus:

4 ( Route Map Harristown, Ballymun, Botanic Ave., Phibsboro Shopping Centre, O'Connell St., Pembroke Rd., Blackrock, Stradbrook )
9 ( Route Map Limekiln Ave. South Circular Rd. O'Connell St. Botanic Rd. Beneavin Rd. Charlestown )
83 ( Route Map Kimmage {Sundrive road, Rathmines} / Harristown {Ballygall Road East})

For any other starting points in Dublin, use Hittheroad.ie which is an excellent website showing you how to get between any two points in Dublin City, using a smart combination of Dublin Bus, Luas and DART routes.
By Car:
From the south, or City centre: leave Dublin via the Drumcondra road (N1) and turn left at Botanic Avenue, just before crossing the river Tolka, ALTERNATIVELY, leave the city via Phibsborough, on the Finglas road (N2), turning right onto Botanic Avenue after passing over the Royal Canal. The Botanic Gardens are close to the junction of Botanic Avenue and Botanic Road. Car parking facilites are available for a flat fee of 2.
For a map and downloadable page with instructions go here


Back to top When are the Gardens open?

The Botanic Gardens are open every day of the year except Christmas Day. There is no entry fee, however, the car park has a 2 flat-fee.

Winter (October to March) Glasshouse opening hours:
Daily: 9:00 - 16:30
9:00 - 16:00

Summer (March to October) n.b. New Hours
Weekdays:
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays:
9:00 - 17:00
10:00 - 18:00
9:00 - 16:45
10:00 - 17:45

Back to top What is a 'botanic' garden? What's the difference from any other public garden?

Generally, a botanic garden grows plants because of their scientific interest; a garden grows plants for their aesthetic appeal. This scientific interest can be at many levels; most importantly a botanic garden keeps a record of from where and when plants arrived in the garden and where they are growing. By keeping a wide range of species and cultivars, the collection can be used for reference - to help identify plants; education - illustrating an interesting fact about botany or the way in which a plant is important to people; conservation - we grow many rare and endangered species, not only from Ireland but from all over the world; science - the biology of many species is still poorly known and understood, and a number of new species have even been described from within the living collections at Glasnevin; horticultural - learning how to grow scarce or difficult plants is important for furthering our knowledge of plants; and lastly, we never forget that many plants are beautiful for their own sake, and the amenity value of the collections is always considered.

Back to top Why do you use Latin for plant names? What's wrong with common names?

So-called 'common names' are unreliable and imprecise. For example the plant we call a bluebell (or coinnle corra), is not the same one the Scots call a bluebell (they use the name for what we call the harebell). They are different and unrelated plants which belong to two different families.
Hundreds of years ago botanists chose the Latin language as a standard and universal way of naming plants throughout the world. Following the Linnaean system, each unique plant name is in two parts - a Genus and Species name. In that way, not only does the plant name have worldwide usage, but it also tells you that plants with the same Genus name are related to each other. A booklet documenting the history and use of plant names is available
here.

Back to top Who funds the Garden?

The Garden is a public institution that is operated by the Office of Public Works.

Back to top Do you have wheelchairs?

The National Botanic Gardens has wheelchairs at the Visitor centre near the main entrance. They are available on a 'first come first served' basis, and cannot be booked.

Back to top Can all parts of the Gardens be accessed by wheelchair users?

Download an access map here Please ask at the visitor centre or the security lodge on arrival, where maps are available or dowload the one on the right by simply clicking on it. Generally paths throughout the gardens are broad and have an all weather surface, however there are flights of steps in 2 places (see map right).
The glasshouses are all accessible: Entrance to the Alpine yard is through the double doors facing the Visitor Centre, entrance to the house is through the back doors.
The west wing (right hand side) of the curvilinear house is only accessible from the Central house
The Succulent house and waterlily house are separated by a flight of steps, so each house can only be reached form their respective outside doors. The only place that is still out of reach is the Rose Garden and we shall be correcting this as soon as possible.
The Library has a lift, as does the Visitor centre, allowing wheelchair users to access the upper floors

Back to top Are dogs allowed?

Dogs are prohibited in the Gardens, with the exception of guide dogs.

Back to top Where can I park?

There is a car park at the Gardens which costs a flat fee of 2. There is also space for up to 3 coaches.

Back to top Can I buy plants?

Regretfully we are not able to sell plants, but the horticultural students at the Teagasc college arrange a plant sale once a year in the Pyramid Church just opposite our main gates.

Back to top Can I get something to eat during my visit?

The Visitor Centre has a restaurant and coffee shop which serves hot and cold food throughout the day.

Back to top Do you allow picnics in the Gardens?

Picnics are not allowed in the Garden. The reason is that the gardens is primarily scientific, and not a pleasure garden.

Back to top How and when can I use the Library?

The Library link will tell you about Ireland's biggest botanical library. It is a research library, but is open to bona fide researchers in the horticultural, botanical and historical fields.

Back to top Can I visit the Herbarium?

The Herbarium is not normally open to the public, but the collection of over 600,000 preserved plants is made available to researchers by prior appointment.

Back to top What are your current and forthcoming exhibitions?

The National Botanic Gardens has a regular programme of exhibitions and public lectures.

Back to top Can I hold my wedding in the Garden? Can I arrange wedding photographs?

Wedding catering is not possible at the Gardens, however, wedding photography has a long tradition at the Gardens and is permissible.

Back to top Can I hold a meeting, conference or lecture at the Garden?

We have a wide range of quality facilities in unique surroundings available for meetings, conferences and lectures. Please contact the visitor centre for further information Back to top

Can you identify a plant for me?

There is a limited plant and fungi identification service provided for specimens sent by post to the herbarium (Herbarium, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9). Plants or fungi brought in for identification should be left at the Visitor Centre and collected later if required. Old varieties of Apples, Roses and Daffodils, as well as a number of other cultivated plants can be very difficult, if not impossible to identify.

Back to top Can you give me horticultural advice?

There is a limited advice provided for enquiries made in person or by telephone. Our specialist staff have accumulated considerable knowledge and expertise over the years, but they are not always available to give specific advice 'on the spot'. Please be patient when contacting us for advice, and remember that there are many other sources of horticultural information available. Try, for example, the Royal Horticultural Society's website.

Back to top How old is the Garden?

The Garden traces its origin back to 1795. The Gardens were originally a private collection for members of the Royal Dublin Society, but were opened to the general public in 1805. The Curvilinear range was begun in 1843, but not completed until 1869. The east wing was built by William Clancy, but the remaining sections were built by Richard Turner, and his son William. This is the most important building in the National Botanic Gardens, and it's central dome was featured for many years on Irish stamps. The range was faithfully restored in 1995. The Palm house was put up in 1884, when the previous building was damaged in a storm. This building and its accompanying Orchid House and Camellia house wings was restored in 2004. See the history page for more historical information.

Back to top Are there still red squirrels in the Botanic Gardens?

Until recently we often had red squirrels feeding on the ground, especially around pine hill. Over the past 12 months however, none have been seen. Red squirrels are displaced by the introduced grey squirrels, which are able to eat unripe nuts, thus outcompeting the red squirrels by eating most of the food resources before they are palatable to the reds. The red squirrels have survived in the gardens until recently because they have the advantage when there are copious pine cones available - a food resource that the grey squirrels will only tackle when hard pressed. If you do happen to spot a red squirrel please notify the Visitor Centre, as we are anxious to know if they are still present. Although the grey squirrels are delightful to watch, please remember that they are wild animals - not pets. They can bite and scratch.

Back to top Can I take photographs of the plants in the Garden? Can I film in the Garden?

All filming and photography at the Garden (other than personal photography or filming with hand-held camera) is by permit only. The taking of photographs in the Garden for commercial purposes requires written permission. Details of any requests for filming or photography should be addressed to the Director in advance.

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