Irish Food,  Recipes

Bloom 2017 For The Family In Review

I go to Bloom in the Phoenix Park every year, have done since it opened. I applied for media accreditation this year and Bord Bia were kind enough to grant me a pass. With the boys on a day off school today we packed up the boys and headed for the city centre early in the day to put the festival to our family test. Read on for more top tips on how to make the most of Bloom this year from a family point of view. Note, we didn’t have the elder lemon who is studying for her Leaving Cert (starts on Wednesday).

It’s the 11th year of this extremely popular garden and food festival organised by Bord Bia in the largest city centre park in Europe. Bloom is always extremely popular with visitors. I’ve a gallery of images from our day at the bottom of this post.

What I like about the festival is that they really take on board feedback from the previous years. So it means that each year there are improvements to the schedule and layout that make your visit more comfortable.

In 2017 the notable improvements include:

  • More circulation space in the food producer tents with an easier way to move around. Previously visitors moved in a “M” or “W” motion, now they move in a figure “8” motion which makes a big difference to the flow of people. This makes life easier on visitors and producers alike!
  • Huge improvement in the healthy food options around the Live Music Stage. There were plenty of stands catering for people with dietary restrictions, and choices for vegans and vegetarians.
  • The Budding Bloomers area for kids was more consolidated. This does not mean smaller. It does mean that it’s more of a circle to move around and the food demonstration area is in its own tent, and is not part of the Fun On The Farm section. This is a great thing.
  • The Fashion Pavilion is much more open, and likewise the nursery/plant pavilion.
  • All in, it’s a big thumbs up from me on the changes this year.

My Top Tips For Visiting Bloom With Kids

  1. Get there early. Bloom opens at 9am. Be there at 9, or just after to wander around the festival without the crowds.
  2. Go straight away to the Budding Bloomer section and play the treasure hunt with O’Egg. It’s really well thought out and very interactive for kids. The boys loved the tractors!
  3. While you’re there, do check out Rozanne Stevens cookery demonstrations; she’s fantastic, and don’t forget to say hello to Paddy Courtney who is supervising some raised beds for kids to plant in. Once again just brilliant with the children.
  4. Pick up a kids’ passport and wristband at the entry gate. The wristbands are for your name and number  in case your child goes missing. The passport is for another treasure hunt which runs across the entire site.
  5. Visit Keelings and help your kids plant their own strawberry to bring home. This is so generous from Keelings and your children will love growing their own sweet strawberries.
  6. Head to a hands on craft workshop in the Craft village. This is suited to slightly older children but grand for my boys, aged 5 and 8.

Disclosure: The use of a media pass gave my family and I free access to Bloom for the duration of the festival. However my opinions are my own and I did not request or receive special treatment from any exhibitor. I will be visiting again over the next few days and if you see me there do say hello!

For more information on tickets, what’s on over the next 3 days, and more visit:

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.

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