History of Belfast Botanic Gardens

The Belfast Botanic Gardens are situated in the South of the City between Queen's University and the River Lagan. Their long and interesting history began during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when there was a substantial upsurge of interest in botany, horticulture and gardening, and consequently the formation of `Botanic Gardens' became very fashionable. Such gardens had already been established in Dublin and in Cork when the 'Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society' was formed in 1827. In 1828 a 14 acre site was purchased outside the town at the junction of the Malone and Stranmillis Roads. This area was rendered suitable for the cultivation of botanical science and a botanical museum opened in the grounds.

Finance of the Botanic Gardens

The 'Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society' issued 500 shares at a price of seven guineas each to help finance the project. Members of the public were required to pay for admission; one shilling for adults, sixpence for children. Shareholders and subscribers who paid an annual subscription were either admitted free or at a reduced charge.

Although the original intention was to provide a pleasant and well laid out garden primarily for instruction and study of plants, it soon became evident that more popular support was required to raise the finances necessary for the running of the property. From June 1838, when two successful garden fetes were organised for fund raising, right through the nineteenth century, the Botanic Gardens became the venue for all manner of outdoor activities and entertainment. This tradition has been continued to the present day.

The present Botanic Gardens contain an attractive rose garden, colourful herbaceous and shrub borders, a bowling green and children's playground. The property is also often used for a variety of events, including band performances, circus visits and concerts. Approximately 600,000 visitors come to discover the distinctive beauty of the Botanic Gardens each year.

Have a look at the web pages for the Palm House and the Tropical ravine for more history!

A member of the friends group will give an illustrated talk on the history of Belfast Botanic Gardens. Proceeds to the fund for re-roofing the Tropical Ravine. Email info@fobbg.co.uk for further information