‘Flying garden’ set for Cork landing

MAVERICK garden designer Diarmuid Gavin’s award-winning “flying garden” is expected to feature at this year’s Cork Midsummer Festival.

Gavin, 47, said the key elements of his Avatar-inspired Irish Sky Garden, which won gold at the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday, will be transported to Cork in time for the festival which runs from June 11 to 26.

It is expected it will be installed on Emmet Place.

However, festival organisers were last night unable to confirm exactly when it will arrive. It has yet to be listed as a festival attraction.

A festival spokesperson said queries should be directed to Cork City Council. The council, which part funded the garden’s development with Fáilte Ireland, was not available for comment.

But Aidan Pender, Fáilte Ireland’s director of Strategic Development, said it has covered the cost of the garden’s design and construction, to the tune of €600,000, from a special capital investment fund. And he said funding is in place to cover its transport to Cork.

The break-up of gardens is due to start on Sunday and should take a week to complete.

“Fáilte Ireland believes this garden is a fantastic feature and will significantly boost Cork tourism — visitor numbers and revenue,” Mr Pender said.

“I have no doubt that the new attraction will become a ‘must see’ on the holiday itineraries for all visitors to Cork and the south.

“This garden will give Cork city an icon of its own and place it on the maps of all those travelling through the region.”

The Irish Sky Garden was inspired by the floating islands of Pandora from the hit movie Avatar.

Gavin dotted 25 circular pools across a grassed surface to reflect the hanging garden which was suspended in a giant wing-shaped steel pod from a crane 25m above the ground.

After its appearance at the Midsummer Festival, Gavin said the pod, along with certain elements of the garden, will be re-built as the central feature of a proposed new city park on the banks of the river Lee.

It is expected that the park, subject to a Part 8 planning process, will be built somewhere on the Mardyke. It should be open to the public by 2012.

There was another Irish success at the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday.

Houses, Castles and Gardens of Ireland, which is the main marketing group for gardens and historic houses around Ireland, were awarded a commendation by the Royal Horticultural Society for the high quality and presentation of their stand, which promoted almost 60 properties.

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