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04 May 2016

Blooming great! European spotlight on Northern Ireland gardens

1 million Europeans to read all about Northern Ireland’s gardens

Garden enthusiasts around Europe will soon be reading all about the wonderful gardens of Northern Ireland. Lifestyle and garden journalists from Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands spent four days here this week. They are here on a fact-finding visit of our gardens, researching articles for a range of print and online publications with a combined audience of some 1 million readers.

Invited here by Tourism Ireland, and following an itinerary devised by Tourism NI, the journalists visited Benvarden Garden near Dervock in Co Antrim, the walled garden at Glenarm Castle, the organic Kilcoan Gardens in Islandmagee and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. They also enjoyed a guided tour of Mount Stewart Gardens, with head gardener Alan Rider, and a tour of the Palm House at the Botanic Gardens in Belfast.

Aubrey Irwin, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Northern Ireland, said: “We were delighted to invite these influential gardening journalists to come and visit Northern Ireland. Exposure in their print and online publications is really important, showcasing our superb gardens and tourism offering to millions of gardening enthusiasts – or potential European holidaymakers for Northern Ireland.

“Latest NISRA figures indicate that we welcomed an additional +14% visitors from Mainland Europe to Northern Ireland in the first nine months of 2015. Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues and we have an extensive programme of promotions under way in Europe throughout 2016. As well as highlighting Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones connections, we are also promoting the Causeway Coastal Route and The Gobbins Cliff Path, as well as other iconic experiences such as Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.”

  Hugh Montgomery, Benvarden Garden (second right), with European gardening journalists and Lucia King, Tourism NI (fourth right).

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is responsible for in excess of 5.2% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 43,000 jobs.
  • In 2015, we welcomed about 1.9 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of about £454 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2015, attracted about 16.6 million visitors.