The Irish National Botanic Gardens are located in Glasnevin, 5 km north-west of Dublin city centre, Ireland. The 27 acres (19.5 hectares), are situated between the River Tolka and the Prospect Cemetery.
The gardens were founded in 1795 by the Dublin Society (later the Royal Dublin Society) and they have grown to hold 20,000 living plants and many millions of dried plant specimens. There are several architecturally notable greenhouses.
Today the Glasnevin site is the headquarters of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, which includes several sites around the country.
The botanic garden participates in national and international initiatives for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. The Director, Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, is also the Chair of the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation.
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.
In 2002, a new multistorey complex was built; it includes a cafe and a large lecture theatre.
It has responsibility for the Arboretum at Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow, a centre noted for its conifers and calcifuges. This is located some 50 kilometres (30 mi) south of Dublin.
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