Birdboxes, barbecues, scented candles, local honey … not the things one expects to meet in the grounds of medieval Christ Church Cathedral. But this was the buzz surrounding the 3-day Dublin Garden Festival 2014, set in and around the wonderful Christ Church Cathedral, a feature of Dublin life for almost a thousand years.
Stallholders engaged with the public, selling craft items like handmade baskets and herbal soaps.
A lovely tented tea room was set up by Peacock Green with dazzling displays of scones, quiches and cakes. On my first visit, I spied two vicars and their wives, china teacups in hand … not unlike a scene from an Agatha Christie novel. Thankfully no murders ensued!
Nearby Peacock Green offered the more casual grazer delicious barbecued koftas and burgers, served up with a smile on homemade bread.
Falcons and a petting zoo added to the fun for families, made even more appealing by free entrance to the grounds.
The seriously garden-minded, paid an Entrance fee into the Cathedral itself to admire the floral displays and listen to talks from some of Ireland’s garden gurus such as Helen Dillon, Diarmuid Gavin, Gerry Daly, Christopher White and The Sodshow’s Peter Donegan.
There had clearly been marathon preparations beyond the flowers – wooden surfaces shone and floors gleamed.
The flowers were largely floral arrangements, the scent of lilies powerful in the confines of the Church.
Since this was a “Garden” rather than a “Flower” festival, I was pleased to see the presence of trees
and a charming daisy filled “lawn” complete with birdbath.
I usually descend into crypts with some trepidation .. drawn on by curiosity, but wary of the eeriness.
But in this 12th century crypt, the largest in Britain and Ireland, I met wonderful stallholders, selling jewellery and knitted goods, and lighting the darkness with their warm welcome.
The crypt is the oldest structure in Dublin, stretching under the Cathedral, which rests on its “forest of rough-stone pillars”.
This was the first Dublin Garden Festival, in a season of many horticultural events in Dublin, and I, for one, hope it is just the beginning!