Heritage Trees are an important part of Ireland’s natural history and landscape. A heritage tree itself is defined as a tree of significant historical, cultural, ecological, and biological interest, due to it’s age, size or location (Forestry Focus “Heritage Trees”). They’re highly valued because they are among the oldest living objects in the country and because they are often the only remaining objects of the legacy of Ireland’s landscapes. The citizens of those areas with heritage trees in them believe that the trees tell a story; whether that be telling the story of families with large and grand estates, mythological tales, or simply because they’re giant and beautiful. A lot of the time, the trees are celebrated with special benches being placed around them, having the bark of the tree carved into, or being surrounded by a noticeable barrier for protection (Liam 2014). Many of the trees are old, and could easily be decimated by developers wanting to expand their property lines and by urbanization. Irish Forestry management and governmental organizations such as the Tree Council of Ireland and and Crann Trees for Ireland are fighting to advocate for the heritage trees, as they don’t have a voice of their own. The “why” of the reason we’re looking at the heritage trees is to hopefully understand the current state of Ireland’s forests in relation to the heritage trees. How many heritage trees are there in Ireland? Where are they located? Are they located in smaller cities or larger towns? Is there any evidence that Irish Forestry Management is working on preserving the heritage trees? What are the proposed heritage tree land areas for the future? These are the questions we are asking ourselves as we want to better understand what impact the heritage trees have on the forests and the people.
Forestry Focus. “Heritage Trees.” Society of Irish Foresters. http://www.forestryfocus.ie/social-environmental-aspects/cultural-heritage/trees-and-folklore/heritage-trees/
Liam. 2014. “Ireland Natural Royalty: The Heritage Trees of Ireland.” Irish Fireside Podcast & Blog. irishfiresideblog.com/2014/03/20/heritage-trees-ireland/.