The Tree Council of Ireland needs our help to vote the Witch's Yew in Blarney, County Cork, the European Tree of the Year.
The magnificent tree, known as the Witch's Yew, located close to Blarney Castle, in County Cork, is among the sixteen finalists from Europe competing for the title of European Tree of the Year 2020.
The winner will be announced on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2020. Voting closes on February 29, 2020, Leap Day.
As the Council states "The European Tree of the Year is a contest that highlights the significance of trees in the natural and cultural heritage of Europe and the importance of the ecosystem services trees provide.
"The contest is not looking for the most beautiful tree, but for a tree with a story, a tree rooted in the lives and work of the people and the community that surrounds it."
Last year the Witch's Yew was voted Ireland's Tree of the Year.
The Witch's Yew, is located at Rock Close, in Blarney Castle Gardens, in County Cork. This tree, with the Latin name taxus baccata, 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.
With its huge crown, deeply furrowed bole, and zigzagging roots carpeting the stone mound under which exists a cave, this is one magnificently “monstrous” yew tree. In its awe-inspiring formidable presence, one can easily understand how, over the centuries, such a tree and setting have sparked people’s imaginations, and led to the emergence of many magical and otherworldly legends.
For more information and to donate to the Tree Council of Ireland visit www.treecouncil.ie.