Missing the Botanic Gardens? Curious to see the historic features from a new perspective? Check out these VR (virtual reality) links made by Matterport. Simply click on the images below and you will find yourself high up on the Great Palm House gantry, in the Curvilinear Range, inside the Viking House, or within the National Herbarium.
Great Palm House
Step up into the heights of Ireland’s only tropical rainforest! Have you ever looked up to the walkway in the Palm House and wished to access it? Now is your chance. For health and safety reasons, usually only the gardeners and maintenance staff are allowed up there. The gardeners use it to tend to plants – pruning the leaves and even cutting down plants that are getting too tall, such as the giant bamboo.
Thanks to this virtual reality walk, you can now safely explore the lush plants and stunning architecture of the Great Palm House from on high. Look out for the beautiful pink bracts of the Bougainvillea, huge glossy banana leaves, unusual fruits and flowers, and stunning Victorian era details.
The Viking House
Step into Viking Age Dublin with a visit to our replica house from Dublin 1,000 years ago. It was built between January and May 2014 by master craftsman Eoin Donnelly and thatched by Peter Compton. In 1961 excavations in the region of Wood Quay and Fishamble Street in Dublin revealed the perfectly preserved remains of Viking Dublin, dating from the 9th and 10th centuries. The building is an accurate recreation of one of these first Dublin houses based upon the archaeological evidence.
This beautifully made thatched house is constructed out of Irish timbers – oak, ash, and hazel. Take a look up inside to see the way the reed thatch is laid across the ash beams. A couple of the ash beams have a distinctive spiral pattern to them – this is the result of honeysuckle twisting around the ash sapling as it grew. Looking at the walls you may wonder why we did not fill the gaps. The reason was we wanted to show off the woven hazel. Plus it allows a little more light into the house.
The enthusiastic support of Dublin City Council, the National Museum of Ireland, and the School of Archaeology, University College Dublin is gratefully acknowledged. We received generous financial assistance from the Irish Museums Trust and Dublin City Council.
For more on how the Viking House was constructed see here.
The National Herbarium
The National Herbarium at Glasnevin contains a collection of more than half a million dried and documented plant specimens from Ireland and the rest of the world. This collection is vital to the study of plant distribution, diseases, DNA, climate change, and much more. Also housed in here is the Economic Botany Collection, which is made up of a substantial collection of plant specimens as well as plant-derived products and artifacts. It demonstrates the technology, craft, and knowledge involved in the production of plant products; how humans have utilised and managed their environments over time and how plants have influenced and shaped humanity.
Herbarium in Focus, a free exhibition based in Ireland’s National Herbarium was officially opened on Thursday 3rd October 2019 by Office of Public Works (OPW) Commissioner, John McMahon. The purpose of the exhibition is to showcase the key role herbariums play in our understanding of the natural environment and to encourage public participation in this important resource. Visitors to the Botanic Gardens can visit this exhibition and join guided tours of it at advertised times. Read more about it here.
In this VR walk, we go right behind the scenes, where we can see the rows of cabinets that house these precious collections. Take a look in the opened cabinet and you will see the Augustine Henry collection – rows of boxes containing tree samples upon which much of the classic Trees of Great Britain and Ireland was based. It comprises ca. 9,000 specimens. Placed on the cabinets along the aisle you will see various curiosities from the Economic Botany Collection. One of the most iconic is the largest seed in the world, the coco-de-mer (Lodoicea maldivica), its distinctive shape earning it the monikers ‘love nut’ and ‘beautiful rump’.
The Curvilinear Range
Arguably the most splendid building in the Gardens, the stunning Curvilinear Range is a unique example of a faithfully restored Victorian era wrought iron glasshouse. Designed by native Dubliner Richard Turner, it was completed in stages between 1843 and 1869. Turner was also responsible for designing the Palm Houses at Kew Gardens and Belfast but both of these have been restored with the use of steel. Following a period of decline where the historic glasshouses were almost lost, the Office of Public Works began an ambitious project to restore the glasshouse using the original materials. The magnificent Curvilinear Range reopened to the public in 1995, the bicentenary of the Botanic Gardens. Here we can take a look inside the elegant central pavilion.
Feeling adventurous? Step out onto the external walkway and view the gardens from above! In the distance you may spot the O’Connell round tower monument in Glasnevin Cemetery