Ballyseedy Home & Garden is more than just a Garden Centre. Passion, experience and an understanding of exclusive living have earned our family-run business a reputation for quality, experience and innovation.
“I just love Ballyseedy, our weekly lunches here never end without a little (or big) purchase 🙂 it is one of those places you can spend hours in and never get bored!”
Established in 1992, we’ve always remained focused on providing a great service in relaxing surroundings. We have travelled the world to bring exclusive, innovative and quality products to our customers and have evolved Ballyseedy into an Award-Winning Restaurant, Department store and Garden Centre. Our stores are located on the outskirts of Tralee, in Ballyseedy and The Wetlands in Co. Kerry. Ballyseedy Cafes also operate sites with Dairygold Co-Op Superstores in Raheen, Limerick and in late 2019 will open in Midelton & Carrigaline in Cork. We have incorporated restaurants, clothing and homewares departments, food halls, kitchen, dining, bathroom and stylish interiors to name a few. With leading brands such as Meadows & Byrne, Blarney Woollen Mills, Edinburgh Woollen Mills, Country Casuals, James Pringle, Steeltech Sheds and our fresh food Cafes we have something for everyone. Premium quality plants and expert garden advice remain at the core of our business but through our creative and dynamic approach to everything we do, we are now regarded as one of the best and most innovative garden, home and food retailers in the country. We have won many awards including best Cafe in Kerry and Retail Excellence Top 100 Stores in Ireland. We will continue to surprise and delight our customers with exclusive home and garden ideas for generations to come.
In 1988, Dermot Kerins (Bernie’s uncle) who ran Fernhurst Nurseries on the outskirts of Kenmare town in Co. Kerry was looking to expand his plant nursery to Tralee. A keen gardener & plant enthusiast, Dermot specialised in introducing various heather varieties into Ireland. He opened Fernhurst Nurseries, Tralee in 1989. In 1992 Dermot sold the business to Bernie after they had worked together for a short time. A brave and bold move for Bernie as it was during a difficult economic time with high interest rates and a country gripped with unemployment & emigration. Bernie saw it differently though and with a passion and belief in the business and a background in horticulture she was determined to make it succeed. Renamed ‘Ballyseedy Garden Centre’ a new chapter had begun for Bernie and her young family.
The business flourishes
In the intervening years the garden centre was developed into a more retail focused garden centre offering a broader, seasonal range of products that were on trend and suitable for a new and emerging customer base. In 1997 a purpose built shop incorporating an interiors department, garden care shop, seasonal area, indoor plant shop and a small café was developed. Bernie felt that the seasonality of the business needed to be addressed and in order to have a viable & sustainable business it needed to be less weather dependant. The shop would help achieve and realise her beliefs.
In the late 1990’s the business really began to expand and with a growing team, a business model that Bernie felt was scalable a site adjacent to the centre was purchased. This increased the footprint of the garden centre to almost 6 Acres. A difficult family decision at the time as with 5 young children Bernie was let’s say, very busy! The financial commitment with such a young family did not faze her however & not much has changed today! Since 1999 the next generation of the McDonnell family – Abigail, Nathan, Naomi, Ruth & Salome have all helped out with the running and developing of Ballyseedy.
As CEO Bernie is always looking to pursue new initiatives and ensure Ballyseedy is at the cutting edge of the garden & retail industry. Joined in business partnership with her son Nathan, in 2005 plans were put in place to construct a new 20,000sq/ft modern store which would incorporate a large Indoor plant area, homewares department, clothing department, healthfoods, furniture & BBQ’s section, plant accessories, garden care shop and what is now an award winning restaurant. All on the very land that Bernie had bought in the late 90’s a new era was born. After years of hard work and a passion for the industry a beautiful new shop was created which was nicknamed ‘Crystal Palace’ locally opened in December 2007.
Abigail (the eldest) outside of her lecturing work helps out with the running of the Ballyseedy Garden Café & works closely with our team of chefs developing the menus and training the team from customer service to Barista.
Nathan has now taken over as MD and spends his time working on strategic planning, developing new ideas with his various teams and looking for new opportunities for the business.
Naomi (the plant expert) spent almost 7yrs in the business and has now left for greener pastures. Now managing a store for the Arrabawn group her passion has always been in horticulture. Widely recognised as being one of the best garden centre managers in the country she now lives with her husband Mike, a few ducks, dogs and other animals in the beautiful rolling hills of Co. Laois.
Ruth (the creative one) has helped add flair and vision to the store and now lives in Australia and works in the food industry. With a passion for food and the creativity to match she will hopefully become a formidable force in the business in years to come.
Salome (the baby & lover of numbers) fresh out of college but already has a great sense for business & the ability to help maximise the potential for growth. Now living in Australia with Ruth she will hopefully return one day to the business.
Our goal is to continually offer our customers a quality product and service at affordable prices. We strive to exceed our customers’ expectations and offer them a lifestyle experience that is unique and enjoyable. We endeavour to develop our retail & food offering and introduce leading brands that complement our core business.
Our mission is to develop our retail & food business to the highest standard and enhance our customers experience by implementing retail practices that have been developed through training, research, sourcing and promoting our business as a premier shopping & lifestyle destination.