Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park
One of the best rose gardens in the world is found in the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, south of Belfast, where over 45,000 roses are in bloom from July to September. Being one of the city’s most popular parks, this mid-18th-century park was bequeathed to the people of Belfast by Lady Edith Stewart Dixon, who dedicated this stunning park to her husband, the late Sir Thomas Dixon. Featuring many plants and animals across the more than 128 acres of stunning landscapes, rolling meadows, mysterious woodlands, and riverside fields, this park is also home to the City of Belfast International Rose Garden.
It wasn’t until 1964 that the first roses were planted in the City of Belfast International Rose Garden, with the first judging season in the summer of the following year. The International Rose Trials have since become an iconic competition with a permanent panel of judges provided by the Rose Society of Northern Ireland, all of whom seeking the most beautiful and most fragrant roses. Then again, who isn’t?!
Rose Week has become one of Belfast’s most popular annual events that not only celebrates this stunning rose garden but also provides a variety of entertainment and music for all ages. Whether you want to be witness to floral art demonstrations, admire the summer stalls of plants and crafts, walk through the meadows and gardens with the Lagan Valley Regional Park staff, or discover the Belfast Parks photographic exhibition – located in the marquee – there is plenty for everyone. However, we must advise: the Summer Rose and Flower Show has a remarkable display of roses, sweet pea, bonsai, cacti and pot plants that cannot be missed.
Sweet Harmonies & Performances
When attending, don’t just walk through the rose gardens; you need to immerse yourself into the surroundings. With the aid of harp music played within the Rose Garden every day for three hours in the afternoon, there is no way you cannot feel royal in this stunning garden. Throughout Rose Week, there will be many other live music performances, including Katharine Timoney Trio, Ballylone Concert Flute Band, Jazzmeisters, Ulster Scots Agency Juvenile Pipe Band and Acoustocratz.
However, it isn’t just the musical performances that are unique to this week. While you are in Northern Ireland, this is your chance to further engage in traditional dances. Not only will Irish Dancers perform and astonish people who pass by, but there will also be other performances by Polish dancers and the iconic Chinese Lion dancers.
What Else To Expect In 2016
Rose Week isn’t just about staring at roses and deciding which has the most aromatic fragrance, but there will also be plenty of entertainment for the entire family. For the little ones, a mega slide, bouncy castle, face painting, balloon modelling, magic shows and the ever-so-popular children’s tattooing will be available throughout the week.
For the bigger kids, there will be an entertaining drum circle to witness, a rodeo bull to ride, swing chair ride, and many workshops for you to make the most of your time in nature. We promise that Rose Week 2016 is an event not to be missed – after all, it is Belfast’s most popular annual event for a reason.
Rose Week runs from 18 to 24 July 2016 at the City of Belfast International Rose Garden.