California, DNA and 8,427 panes of glass

All part of a morning spent at the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.

National botanic gardens of Ireland (1)

National botanic gardens of Ireland (1)

In the distance you can see a recreation of a round tower to honour Daniel O’Connell, “the Liberator”, in Glasnevin Cemetry. It was built to the colossal height of 171 feet, and before you ask… I’ll not be climbing up for an aerial view of the dead centre of Dublin! 😛

Next door neighbours - Glasnevin Cemetery

Next door neighbours – Glasnevin Cemetery

The gardens are next door neighbours and a new entrance is being erected between the two.

The Taxodiaceae Sequeiadendron giganteum, native of California

The Taxodiaceae Sequeiadendron giganteum, native of California

The Taxodiaceae Sequeiadendron giganteum, native of California rather dwarfed the Curvilinear Glasshouse.

The Curvilinear Glasshouse

The Curvilinear Glasshouses

The curvilinear glasshouse was designed by Dublin ironmaster, Richard Turner in 1843.

Curved panes of glass

Curved panes of glass

The work was completed and opened in 1849. It was extended in 1869.

One end of the Curvilinear Glasshouse

Great Palm House

A major restoration began in 1992 and was completed with all 8,427 panes of glass in place, in time for the bicentenary of the founding of the gardens.

curved lines from the inside

curved lines from the inside

After a dander along several pathways I came across this:

?What is Life? sculpture

‘What is Life’ sculpture

‘What is Life’
Sculptor ~ Charles Jencks

‘What is Life’ was commissioned by Professors John Atkins of University College Cork and David McConnell of Trinity College Dublin as a public celebration of Science in Ireland and to specifically celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of The Double Helix by Watson and his colleague Francis Crick in April 1953.

Side view

Side view

The Sculptor, Charles Jencks, designs landscapes and sculpture and writes on cosmogenic art.

The meaning in words

The meaning in words

It represents for the first time in sculpture anywhere the many extraordinary new revelations made in the last 30 years about the novel roles of RNA in living organisms.

Finally a plaque I found on the steps in one of the glasshouses:



Ludwig Wittgenstein
(1889 – 1951)
Viennese Philosopher

Stayed in Dublin in the winter of 1948-1949
and liked to sit and write at these steps


16 thoughts on “California, DNA and 8,427 panes of glass

    • WWW, it is a wonderful place with a good cafe and you can now walk through to the cemetery and do the tour – Have you been yet? I hear it is very good.

  1. Grannymar,

    I was on a guided tour of Dublin once and the guide took us to Glasnevin Cemetery. As part of his talk about the place he explained that the inventor of the Crossword Puzzle was buried there.

    He told us that we didn’t have time on the tour to visit his grave but if we wanted to come back later to see it, he could be found at 13 ACROSS and 40 DOWN.

    • Not many sequoias, Mike, but if they cannot grow them in the botanic gardens… there is little hope of the rest of us doing so!

  2. Wow, marvelous gardens and sculpture. You live in a great place for seeing such things. If I ever get to travel Dublin would be one of if not the first place I’d go. Great arm chair traveling though with your pictures.

    • I wonder if it is that I am seeing my native city as a visitor these days, or the fact that my camera is burning a hole in my pocket asking to be used? Mind you, the Celtic Tiger brought plenty of new sculpture to the streets.

  3. I tried taking so many photos of the DNA sculpture, but wasn’t happy with any of them! I have loads on my camera. I need to go back for another visit just with that sculpture in mind!
    It doesn’t help that you are not supposed to walk around it just yet until the ground around it has settled.

    Were the greenhouses in Kew designed by the same architect? They look the same (to my untrained eye!)

    • Yes. Richard Turner was also responsible for designing the Glasshouse at Kew Gardens (England) and Belfast (N. Ireland) but both of these have been ‘restored’ with the use of steel. Check out the curvilinear glasshouse link above, It has a short video with sights and sounds!.

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