A festival of friendship, fun, food and fronds.

Building on its triumphal post-Covid return in 2022, this year’s 9th Southern Symposium returns bigger and better than ever. We will have five speakers, over three days amid spectacular scenery, there’s something for everyone from beginner to expert.


Listen! Learn! Discuss!

Who can attend?  

Anybody with an interest in plants is invited to attend, everyone is welcome. A Symposium Ticket makes an ideal Gift for the Plant Lover in your life. You can book tickets here>


Images from the 2022 Symposium, Click to enlarge.


When is it on?

This year’s Symposium takes place Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October 2022.

Who are this year’s guest speakers?

Daniel J. Hinkley – Windcliff – “From Shadows to Sun; Making Windcliff” and “The Treasures of Vietnam”.

Seamus O’Brien – Van Diemen’s Land’s wildflowers: The British-Irish Botanical Expedition to Tasmania (BIBET)

Bleddyn and Sue Wynne-Jones –
Crug Farm – “Seed and plant collecting in the mountains of Colombia.”

Jack Aldridge
– RHS Wisley – “The Woody Plant Wonders of Wisley and Beyond”

Ken Cox
– Glendoick – “A century of Adventures in Rhododendrons”

A brief history of the Southern Symposium

In the Summer of 2014, after 7 years in Kells Bay, Billy Alexander reached what he considered was the “End of the Beginning” of his work at Kells. The mammoth task of reclaiming the Gardens and restoring the House was in hand, and it was now time to celebrate and publicise the achievement. A Who’s Who of Gardening Royalty assembled at Kells Bay for the first Symposium and heard talks from Seamus O’Brien of the National Botanic Gardens, and the legendary Roy Lancaster.
Over the course of a weekend of discussion, food, and wine in the spectacular setting of the gardens, it was decided to institute an annual event with the aim of celebrating gardening, plants and landscapes.
Since then, this event has become fixed as a highlight of Munster’s horticultural calendar. It’s roll of speakers is a list of the horticultural Pantheon. The wonderful hospitality, relaxed and friendly atmosphere ensure delegates return annually to renew, refresh and learn.

Image Product Price Quantity Buy

Southern Symposium

Symposium Main Event & Sunday - Sat. 30th Sept. and Sun. 1st Oct 2023
Symposium Banquet, Talk & Main Event - Fri. 29th and Sat. 30th Sept. 2023
Symposium - All Three Days / Events
Symposium Sunday Event (1st Oct. 2023)
Symposium Banquet & Talk (29th Sept. 2023)


Sorry! There is no accommodation available at Kells Bay House at the time of the Symposium.

Some alternatives

Taobh Coille Gleesk, Kells, Co. Kerry (066) 947 7626
Cáitíns Pub and Accomodation Gleensk, Co. Kerry (066) 947 7614

 € 0