Hello everyone. Hope you are safe and well! Here is part two of My Special Trees.
The Sycamore Trees
On our little bit of land, we have two sycamore trees. One of them was a favourite tree since the moment I saw it. It was so wonderful to climb. Its branches were strong and flat, but reached so high. There was a wonderful view of fields and distant hills from its ivy-twined branches.
We had always known that we would have a tree-house since we moved to Ireland. This tree seemed the ideal place for one, too. Tall but not too tall.
Most treehouses are very much in the tree, with the tree holding it up. We did not want too much pressure on the tree, nor did we want to cut off any branches as we would have to. So we built it on legs, three with the tree as the fourth leg. It was an admirable design and has lasted much bad weather!
We have slept in the treehouse, played in it and we still climb the tree. We have to be extra careful while doing so because if we fall, we crash through the roof of the treehouse!
The other sycamore tree is also very beautiful. It is taller than the first, with straight branches that stretch thinner and thinner. Not so good to climb, but its lowest branches sweep downwards, so it is an excellent den.
One day this spring, we were going to play in it when we heard an enormous buzzing sound that increased as we got closer. It was so fierce and loud we thought at once it was a wasps nest and backed away. But if we listened more carefully , we could hear high buzzing, low buzzing, loud and quiet buzzing. It turned out to be hundreds of different insects feasting on the nectar of the beautiful sycamore flowers.
Sycamores are often described as semi-native. While not originally from here, they have adapted to support and be supported by many Irish species.
The Chestnut Tree
There is one very special tree who I will never forget and who has sheltered so many animals under its ancient branches. Thank you, Cauldron Tree.
Several large fields away from our house is a nice river. It is a very lovely place to spend part of the afternoon. One day, our usual route was blocked (by cows) so we tried to find another way.
We went down a little overgrown boreen. After a while it opened out into another field. And standing in it was a chestnut tree. The biggest I have ever seen.
You could live in its trunk. The smaller branches could have made large trees in themselves. It was the height of a very tall house.
I knew at once that this tree was very old. Very old indeed. It was ft high and yet they only grow about a foot and a half a year, slowing down when they get older. The oldest is older than 300 years and 40 m tall.
In the base of the roots was entwined a cauldron, it was completely stuck in there. Our conclusion was not that it belonged to a warty witch but that it was an old famine cauldron. The tree had guarded over it, we thought, for probably more than a hundred years.
We did some research, and found some old maps of the place. In one , which was around 150 years old, we saw an old famine cottage right next to where the tree is. We can see the remains of it today. It was where the overgrown boreen led to.
And what’s more (wait for it…) is that on the map, the cauldron tree was pictured. And as a fully grown tree.
This tree has probably seen 200 years of Irish history. Generations of people have born and died. Now that deserves respect.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that you enjoyed this blog post.
If you are interested I would really recommend the book Lord of the Forest by ‘BB’. I have loved it for many years and it is fascinating to travel through history as you learn the story of such a special tree.