6th Mar 2017
This week we are marking the Tree Council’s National Tree Week with an exciting event involving three local schools from Kildare town. On Wednesday, over 60 2nd class children will join celebrity environmentalist, Eanna ni Lamhna, on a tour of the stud’s gardens, spotting the native trees and non-native ones imported into the Japanese gardens over a century ago.
The most important native tree to us here in Kildare, is the OAK, both the Sessile and the Common. In Irish its name is Dair and in Latin, Quercus. In fact Kildare is named after the Oak, ‘Cill Dara’ meaning the church of the Oak.
These trees can live for 300 years or more and the Oak is known as ‘The King of the Forest’.
Ash is our tallest native tree and can grow to 40m high. The timber of the Ash is used to make furniture but most importantly it’s used to make hurleys. Like the Oak, it was said by our ancestors that it had powers of protection.
Holly is another prominent feature here in the stud gardens. We all love Holly for Christmas decorations and although a small tree, it’s still very important as its berries are a great source of food for the birds in winter.
In St Fiachra’s garden, the stunning Yews (Taxus baccata) can be found close to the monastic cells. These particular bushy shaped trees can live for over 2000 years. How many generations will that be?
One of the largest trees in our Japanese Gardens, which were created by our founder, William Hall Walker in 1906, is Blue Cedar (Cedrus atlantica) which can be found at the Hill Of Mourning.
Part of Eanna’s tour (in Gaeilge for the Gael school) will also launch our latest addition, a wooden bug hotel, named ‘The Buglington’. This new insect hotel will attract an array of insects especially when the wildflower meadow grows up around it.
Some of our school tours take in modules from the Science Foundation Ireland curriculum, so this will be of great benefit to them. They’ll also see our hand-woven willow fence, constructed by our team last week.
The children will also observe plenty of our horses and newborn foals along the way (over 80 foals have been born so far this year!) and once they’re back at base, each child will pot up an Oak or Whitebeam sapling to take home before having a hot chocolate in our café!
We’re delighted to be involved in this initiative and are thrilled that our local schools are taking part. Trees are our past, our present and of course our future and we’re hopeful that the children will take away that sentiment too.
Happy Tree Week!