17th Century Trees Fall Foul to Winter Storms
By Mary Kyne
2013 December storms with gale force winds and torrential rains brought down two of the old trees in the Shrubbery and on the Ceannrawer Road. The O fflaherties the local landlords planted the trees in the 17th century. The trees together with the hedgerows in the Clareville and Claremount area, give ample shelter and cover to several birds – robin, song thrush, wren, chaffinch, dunnock, blackbird, wood-pigeon, blue-tit, great-tit, starling, jackdaw, magpie and rooks to name a few.
The huge majestic mature trees with massive roots and dense canopy are now top heavy and are prone to storm damage. The trees include beech, sycamore, lime, oak, horse chestnut, ash, and holly. In the past elm trees that contacted elm disease were felled at the hatchery. We need to start planting in this area of the shrubbery to replace the trees we have lost and are about to lose in the future.
The late Mrs Kathleen Maloney, Glann (nee Morton Jack) the last descendant of the O fflaherties gave the Shrubbery (An Rosán) to the people of Oughterard in the1960 at a ‘peppercorn’ rent. Kathleen was the daughter of Hugh Morton Jack, son of Dora O fflahertie of Lemonfield.
In the 70’s children enjoyed the swings and round-about that were placed in the shadow of the great chestnut. In fact several generations of children have enjoyed picking conkers from the tree. Mothers took shade under its broad canopy on hot summer days while their children fished in the shallows of the river for pond skaters and ‘pinkeens’. Braver and more adventurous children climbed up high into its branches while others crossed the stone bridge to the little island in the middle of the river.
For those of us who pass the Shrubbery everyday and in all kinds of weather the beauty of the trees bring us contentment and enjoyment. This beauty is now diminished with the loss of the majestic chestnut tree.