A wee riddle for yis…I feed many mouths, have a bark but no bite, many rings that may tell you my age, what am I?

(You’ll only find the answer if you read the WHOLE article go’wan)


So….for a little change I’d thought we’d talk about trees baby, just you and me. Trees are ancient knowledge keepers that withstand the test of time, wise and all knowing. Trees see all and never tell, the kind of friend you’d like to tell your secrets to, humans can’t keep secrets, tell your secrets to trees not humans. For this reason, trees can be associated with historical events, as being part of that historical event itself. Trees have stood still in battle and listened to the secrets of Kings, queens and noblemen/women, which we can only begin to ponder upon, we can however trace these trees through history to begin to understand the events of these dark battles and how they panned out in space and time.


 Roots set deep and standing proud in the grounds of Scarva house remains the sweet Chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) known for being part of the route taken by King William and his army from landing sites in Belfast. We can also follow a trail to Cranmore park where King William is said to have taken shelter under a tree there during a rainstorm…said tree however was felled by strong winds, also a second, the third remaining tree, an Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) still stands strong today…the Irish winds however clearly aren’t a fan of keeping the memory of the dear great King William sacred, wonder why…

 Similarly in the grounds of Bangor castle a stump remains called ‘the Schomberg tree’ named after the Duke of Schomberg who led a force under the order of King William, and who laid camp under that very tree. While at Legacorry a massive beech tree whose stump (STUMP!) remains which King William was said to have tied his horses to still remains to this day…seeing a pattern?

 This is just one example of how historical events and expeditions can be traced when using the language of the tree, they are landmarks and sacred knowledge keepers….imagine all the trees out there and the secrets they’ve kept from overhearing tales at a campfire, or screams in the heat of battle….Gosh the mind dos’t wonder!

 Trees may not tell secrets, but they sure do encourage ideas, they are said to have calming and inspirational energies…sure was it not Sir Isaac Newton who gained such inspiration under an apple tree? Imagine a world without understanding the laws of gravity…IMAGINE THE WORLD WITHOUT APPLES! Doesn’t even bare thinking about does it?

 However since we are on the subject of IRISH trees I thought I’d find an example closer to home, that of Professor Thomas Andrews, the first vice principal of Queens University Belfast. Now Thomas loved trees, so much so that he was known for writing up the majority of his seminal work on the liquefaction of gases, while under the shade of a Laburnum tree in the Quadrangle of the University.

However, in the 1950s the tree died but in May 1995 a further tree was planted in its place to celebrate the university’s 150th anniversary. So there you go if you’re having a mental block while coming up with a potentially world changing theory just go see a tree and it will for sure sort it out, trust me it works…..




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