The Witch’s Yew is thought to be about 600 years old.
The Witch’s Yew tree at Blarney Castle in Co Cork has been voted as Ireland’s Tree of the Year for 2019.
In a competition organized by the Tree Council of Ireland, five trees were voted upon by the public between July and August.
On August 27, the Tree Council of Ireland revealed that The Witch's Yew received more than 42 percent of the public vote, making it the country’s favorite tree for 2019:
Ireland's Tree of the Year 2019 With over 42% of the vote, Ireland's Tree of the Year is The Witch's Yew in Blarney Castle Gardens, Co. Cork! CongratulationsPubliée par Tree Council of Ireland sur Mardi 27 août 2019
As the winner, Blarney Castle’s Witch’s Yew tree will be entered in the European Tree of the Year contest.
Following the news, Blarney Castle shared their excitement on Twitter:
Adam Whitbourn, Blarney Castle’s head gardener, told The Irish Times: “It’s an amazing veteran tree with a fantastic story and that’s what the competition is all about.”
“Personally, I’m happy to see specimen trees like this getting some recognition, especially in the current climate where such devastation is happening to woodlands around the world. Trees such as this represent both our past and our future, and it is our duty to look after them.”
What is Ireland's Tree of the Year contest?
In its annual ‘Ireland’s Tree of the Year’ competition, the Tree Council of Ireland searches for “the tree with the best story. It doesn't have to be the biggest, or the oldest, or even the prettiest. It needs to have a good story to tell, a strong connection to the community, and maybe even a touch of magic!”
The Witch’s Yew at Blarney Castle beat out four other entrants this year: The Mighty Battle Oak at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Center in Co Meath; The Farmleigh Sycamore at Farmleigh Estate in Phoenix Park, Co Dublin; the Arbour Hill Sycamore at Arbour Hill in Co Dublin; and The Castletown Sweet Chestnut at Castletown House in Co Kildare.
Blarney Castle's Witch's Yew Tree
Of the Witch’s Yew, Ireland’s Tree Council says: “This Yew Tree, situated in the Rock Close on the grounds of Blarney Castle Estate, has been estimated by experts to be in excess of 600 years old. A folly, The Witch’s Kitchen, was built by the Jeffreyes family under the already existing yew tree in the 1750s as part of the famous Rock Close gardens.”
“Legend has it, the area is the home of the Blarney Witch, who first told mortals of the Blarney Stone’s magic powers i.e. the gift of eloquence. The Witch, imprisoned by day in the Witch Stone, is released after nightfall, only to be banished to the witch stone again at dawn. Some early morning visitors have claimed to have seen dying embers of a fire in her kitchen.”
Have you ever visited the Witch's Yew at Blarney Castle? Do you have a favorite tree in Ireland? Let us know in the comments!