The Gardens were founded in the 18th century for medicinal and agricultural research. Two sites, one at Glasnevin and the other at Kilmacurragh, have a range of plants from Ireland and beyond.
The public botanic garden at Glasnevin was established for the scientific study of plants for agricultural and medicinal purposes. Poet Thomas Tickell owned the land and sold it to the Irish parliament in 1795, who employed Walter Wade and John Underwood to design and supervise the layout. Curator Ninian Niven continued this work and most of the current design was laid out by him. It has been under state care since 1878 and is currently administered by the Office of Public Works.
The Botanic Gardens are a place for investigation and discovery. The infection responsible for the potato famine of 1845-47 was first identified here and they continued to research possible cures for the infection here, too. Dubliner Richard Turner supplied an iron house to the garden, which was restored in 2004 and holds a collection of ferns and palms. However, the garden also has local species of Irish flora, such as alpine plants growing through a limestone pavement characteristic of County Clare. The stone for the 1880s rockery comes from Finglass, not too far away. There are also displays of annuals in the Carpet Beds, which change regularly depending on the season and have contrasting colour sections. The Fruit and Vegetable Garden has a collection of different Irish apple trees and demonstrates composting techniques and organic honey production.The gardens have over 15,000 species of plant in total and you can go into the garden for free or take a guided tour around it. Further afield, you can visit the site at Kilmacurragh, a satellite of the main garden site, with acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons, as well as rare monkey puzzle trees and Chilean Laurels.