Blue Bell Festival



The Forest Service is welcoming visitors to Portglenone Forest to see a bluebell bonanza, as the forest and surrounding hillsides turn into a deep blue carpet of bluebells in the first two weeks of May.

The bluebells have been producing millions of flowers in the woods at Portglenone since ancient times and the Forest Service promises visitors a Spring treat as miles and miles of this traditional forest flower bloom.

Forest Service Officer Darryl Ridge explains further: "The people around Portglenone look forward to the carpets of deep blue flowers in the forest. Like some other species of woodland flowers, such as the wood anemone which take a century to spread only a metre or two, bluebells can be very slow to spread. It takes some time from when the bluebell seed is scattered on the ground until the plant produces an elegant stalk of bluebell flowers. Each year in spring its leaves help build up a store of energy in the bulb under the ground.

"For this reason we welcome visitors, but please ask people not to pick the flowers as the flowers themselves are essential to the survival strategy of the bluebells.

"The bluebell, being a woodland plant, needs to produce its flowers in the spring before the leaves on the trees block out the sunlight from the forest floor. On a mild day, you can pause a while on the path through the bluebells and watch the bumble bees and insects flit from flower to flower. As they collect nectar from deep within the bluebells they are also carrying pollen from one flower to the next - so the seeds are set and the bluebells' job is completed until next spring. Once the seeds have ripened they fall to the ground and germinate, thus ensuring the next generation of flowers.

"In the past, there were many areas of woodland and bluebells throughout the country, and classrooms and homes were filled with bunches of the flowers in May: the sight and smell still lingers in our memories. Given the chance, the bluebells will continue to produce thousands of flowers, and potent memories in many lives. The bluebell bonanza in Portglenone is well worth a visit!”

Portglenone Forest is open from 8am until 8pm every day. The bluebells should be in flower during May. Guided walks for groups can be arranged, or more information obtained, by checking out the Forest Service website:

For groups that would have difficulty walking, access can be arranged given prior notice.


See report in Bluebells on BBC Website at: