Results from the Young Horticulturist of the Year 2024 Ireland Final

The Ireland Final of YHOY 2024 was held on Thursday, 14 th March and this year the competition was memorable as one of the most hotly contested in recent memory. Each year this round of the competition sees the top eight young horticulturists from across the island of Ireland battle it out to represent our region in the YHOY Grand Final next May. These young competitors (all of whom must be under the age of 30 to compete) have already fought off stiff competition in Round 1 of the contest, a virtual multiple-choice quiz which runs throughout the month of February each year.

The Ireland Final turns up the heat, with a 10-round live quiz, which includes a mixture of buzzer and directed rounds, combined with Plant ID and Pest, Weed and Disease identification rounds. Hosted by the National Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, this year’s Final was a really exciting event – overall the highest scores we have had in a long time, and closely fought right until the end.  Five of our eight finalists had competed in previous finals, and their experience gave a real edge to the competition.

For the first time at YHOY Ireland, we began the day with a guest presentation. We were
delighted to welcome horticulturist and designer, Paul Smyth, who thrilled our young horticulturists with tales and adventures from his “Life in Horticulture”. We couldn’t have
asked for a more engaging and inspiring speaker. We were also delighted to welcome Carol Marks, who presented the prizes on behalf of our sponsors, Bord Bia. In addition to their Certificates, each of our finalists received a cash prize, donated by our sponsors Bord Bia. The Ireland Branch of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture is very grateful for the continued support from Bord Bia, without whom it would not be possible to host such a wonderful event each year.

Our winner on the day was Chloe Callanan, a third year Teagasc/SETU student based at the
National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. A close second was Jonathan Molloy, a fellow Glasnevin student, who performed brilliantly in his first YHOY final. All of our contestants did themselves proud, displaying great horticultural knowledge throughout, especially during the identification rounds.

We finished the day with an impromptu tour of the fernery and glasshouses, led by Dr Paul Fitters. All in all, a memorable day, and a worthy winner in Chloe. I’m sure she’ll do us proud at the YHOY Grand Final in Hestercombe House and Gardens, on Thursday, 9 th May 2024. The overall winner in the Grand Final will win a travel bursary of £2500, sponsored by the Shropshire Horticultural Society.

Final Results:
1st: Chloe Callanan, SETU/Teagasc College of Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens
2nd: Jonathan Molloy, Teagasc College of Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens
3rd (Joint): Lauren Moore, RHS Rosemoor; Kyle Ross, CAFRE Greenmount.
5th : William Kenny, UCD
6th : Keelan Clarke, Homeland Garden Centre, Letterkenny
7th: Cian Funge, Teagasc College of Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens
8th: Pierce Clarke, CAFRE Greenmount