At the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland (RHSI), we're not your typical gardening enthusiasts. Established back in 1816, we're a modern charity with a passion for everything green and blooming. Our mission is simple: we're all about spreading the love and knowledge of horticulture, arboriculture, and floral art, all while fostering a deep respect for our environment and creating a close-knit community among our members.
As an RHSI member, you'll enjoy a world of benefits, including exclusive access to our gardening community, expert insights delivered through our journal, and a plethora of exciting experiences. You can explore more than 55 prestigious Partner Gardens, engage in our monthly Zoom talks, and stay updated with regular news bulletins.
But the RHSI is not just a one-stop shop for gardening enthusiasts; we're also the heart of a vast network. We proudly affiliate with over 90 horticultural, gardening, and floral art societies and clubs, all of them united in their love for everything that grows.
What truly sets us apart is our commitment to nurturing green spaces. Our dedicated volunteers are hard at work restoring the 3.5-acre walled garden at Russborough House in Blessington, Co Wicklow. Meanwhile, another team of green-thumbed volunteers are crafting a beautiful woodland garden at Laurelmere Cottage in Marlay Park, Rathfarnham.
And that's not all. Thanks to an incredibly generous bequest from the renowned designer and gardener Angela Jupe, we've taken over the beautiful gardens at Bellefield, Co Offaly. Today, these gardens are lovingly managed by Paul Smyth, who honed his skills at Bellefield during his training. Angela's vision was clear: open these gardens to the world, and let them become a hub for training horticulturalists, gardeners, and plant enthusiasts.
Join us at RHSI, where tradition meets modernity in the world of gardening and horticulture. Together, we're nurturing a greener, more sustainable future while celebrating the beauty of our national heritage. Come grow with us!
The RHSI is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. The members of the Board of Directors are: Peter Harrison (President), Gillian Davidson (Secretary), Hester Forde, Philip Hollwey (Chair), Noreen Keane, Margaret Masterson, Kathleen Moloney, Margie Phillips and Susan Loughnane.
Registered address: Bellefield House, Shinrone, Co. Offaly, R42 NW82.
Correspondence address: Laurelmere Cottage,Marlay Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, D18 H9T4
Company Number: 571092
Registered Charity 20005986
The RHSI began with a meeting held on 30 September 1816 at the Rose Tavern, Donnybrook, Dublin. A group of estate gardeners met to drink beer and to worry about “the art of gardening falling away and rapidly declining”. Resolving to exchange expertise and new ideas, these men (they were all men) set up the Horticultural Society of Ireland for gardeners who had served their time and were ‘of good moral conduct’. The RHSI was distinguished throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for its social cachet (as the list of Presidents below illustrates) and it focused on Shows and Exhibitions. The modern RHSI, a mixture of amateur and professional gardeners, continues to be committed to education.
1830 - 1837 Nathaniel, 2nd Earl of Leitrim
1838 - 1874 Augustus, 3rd Duke of Leinster
1874 - 1877 Charles, 4th Duke of Leinster
1877 - 1893 Gerald, 5th Duke of Leinster
1894 - 1915 Arthur, Lord Ardilaun
1915 - 1945 Geoffrey, 4th Marquess of Headfort
1945 - 1948 Sir Frederick Moore
1948 - 1949 Robert Lloyd Praeger
1950 - 1952 Phyllis, Lady Moore
1953 - 1955 G. O. Sherrard
1956 - 1958 Richard Grove Annesley
1959 - 1969 Michael, 6th Earl of Rosse
1970 - 1973 W, Morris Hutton
1973 - 1978 Ralph J. Walker
1978 - 1983 Sidney Maskell
1983 - 1988 Keith Lamb
1988 - 1993 P. A. X. Hackett
1993 - 1998 Rita Rutherford
1998 - 2001 George A. F. Harrison
2001 - 2006 Maria Prendiville
2006 - 2011 Maeve Kearns
2011 - 2019 Robert Myerscough
2019 - 2022 Brenda Branigan
2022 - (2025) Peter S. Harrison
The RHSI Journal is posted to members 2 times a year. The summer issue comes out in May. We have an November issue closes out the season. We always welcome members’ contributions. Alternatively, if you have a horticultural story you think we should follow, please contact the Journal team through the RHSI office. Queries about copy dates and guidance on the structure of proposed articles can also be answered by the RHSI office. The Journal is written, proof read and prepared for mailing entirely by RHSI volunteers.
The RHSI Journal is free to members. But if you know of someone living overseas who would like to be kept up to date on Irish horticultural matters or someone who is too frail to be able to attend the lectures and garden visits they once enjoyed, the Journal delivered to their door might fill a gap. An annual subscriptionto the RHSI Journal costs €25 (including packing and postage). Please contact the RHSI office on 01 4937154 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order
Diarmuid Gavin is the Society’s patron. Diarmuid studied amenity horticulture at the Botanic Garden in Glasnevin. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Art from Nottingham Trent University in recognition of his contribution to garden design. Following this he established his own garden design and studio consultancy, Diarmuid Gavin Designs which boasts clienteles throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.
After twice winning the Royal Dublin Society Gold medal for garden design during the nineties, he displayed at the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in 1995 and 1996. His modern vibrant city garden in 1996 caused quite a stir and led to a career in television where he developed a unique style in contemporary garden design. Since then, Diarmuid has created nine gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, including an instillation inspired by the drawings and humour of British iconoclast Heath Robinson.
Diarmuid works with the RHSI to promote sustainable gardening and a vibrant future for Irish horticulture.
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