Botanic Gardens - Glasnevin
The poet Thomas Tickell owned a house and small estate in Glasnevin and, in 1790, they were sold to the Irish Parliament and given to the Royal Dublin Society for them to establish Ireland's first botanic gardens.
A double line of yew trees, known as "Addison's Walk" survives from this period.
The original purpose of the gardens had been to advance knowledge of plants for agriculture, medicine and dyeing. The gardens were the first location in Ireland where the infection responsible for the 1845–1847 potato famine was identified. Throughout the famine, research to stop the infection was undertaken at the gardens.
Walter Wade and John Underwood, the first Director and Superintendent respectively, executed the layout of the gardens, but, when Wade died in 1825, they declined for some years. From 1834, Director Ninian Nivan brought new life into the gardens, performing some redesign. This programme of change and development continued with the following Directors into the late 1960s.
The gardens were placed into government care in 1879.
As well as being a tourist destination and an amenity for nearby residents, it also serves as a centre for horticultural research and training, including the breeding of many prized orchids.
The soil at Glasnevin is strongly alkaline (in horticultural terms) and this restricts the cultivation of calcifuge plants such as rhododendrons to specially prepared areas. Nonetheless, the gardens display a range of outdoor "habitats" such as a rockery, herbaceous border, rose garden, bog garden and arboretum. A vegetable garden has also been established.
The National Herbarium is also housed at the National Botanic Gardens. It contains a collection of nearly 750,000 pressed plants, collected over the garden's two-hundred-year history. The gardens contain noted and historically important collections of orchids. The newly restored Palm House houses many tropical and subtropical plants. The Cactus House is currently (2008) being emptied for refurbishment.
The gardens include some glasshouses of architectural importance, such as the Palm House and the Curvilinear Range.
The Curvilinear Range was completed in 1848 by Richard Turner, an Irish iron-founder and pioneer in the constructional use of wrought iron; it was extended in the late 1860s. This structure, and the nearby Palm House (built 1884), have been restored (using some surplus contemporary structural ironwork from Kew Gardens) and this work attracted the Europa Nostra award for excellence in conservation architecture.