• Accessibility Options

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Logo


Take your horticultural hats off to Garden Show Ireland

Ever wanted to have a go at designing a hat or headpiece?

Well, now’s your chance because would-be milliners are being invited to do just that to celebrate the inaugural Mad Hatters Day on June 16.

For the first time ever, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has launched this novel initiative as part of this year’s Garden Show Ireland.

Visitors are being encouraged to make their own horticultural hats or headpieces and decorate them with flowers, vegetables or foliage.

Alternatively, participants can bring a hat and get help to decorate it from either Flower Farmers or representatives from College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Greenmount College.

Green-fingered creatives are being asked to come up with an original item of headwear using Garden Show Ireland as inspiration for their designs.

And entrants are invited to be as adventurous as possible with their marvelous creations.

A judging panel, compered by UTV’s Pamela Ballentine, will comprise Marie Staunton (model-turned-horticulturist), Marie-Claire Ferguson (horticulturist-turned-milliner) and world-famous garden designer Diarmuid Gavin.

Judges will be looking for imagination and interesting entries that look like a bit of fun.

Gavin, Garden Show Ireland ambassador, said they were looking forward to picking a winner.

“We can’t wait to see the hat and headpiece wonders on the first day of the show,” he said. It’s all about having fun and showing us something new and imaginative.”

Antrim and Newtownabbey outgoing Mayor Stephen Ross said it was great to be hosting Garden Show Ireland at Antrim Castle Gardens again this year.

“We always strive to bring visitors something extra and 2023 is no different,” said Mr Ross. We’re looking forward to our first ever Mad Hatters Day on June 16 and we’re also extremely excited to see the creative competition entries from visitors. What better way to celebrate the wonder of nature than with a horticultural hat or headpiece.” 

The worthy winner can, of course, expect a wealth of wares in recognition of their creativity.

Food NI has offered a hamper of artisan foods worth approximately £300 to the judge’s favourite.

Garden Show Ireland will take place from June 16-18, offering families flowers, food and fun.

The three-day extravaganza is being held at Antrim Castle Gardens and offers visitors ideas and inspiration for their own gardens.

In addition to expert advice, the show will be packed with ideas and inspiration for your own garden, and there will be opportunities to buy from specialist plant growers.

There will also be delicious food on offer as well as live music and local crafts. 

Don’t miss the chance to throw your hat into the ring and join in the fun.

For tickets please visit: gardenshowireland.com