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Blooming great! European spotlight on Northern Ireland gardens

Hugh Montgomery, Benvarden House, Dervock (2nd right) who gave the European gardening journalists and Lucia King, Tourism NI (4th right), a guided tour of his lovely garden.

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.”

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