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Ger Clarke

My current favourite tree is to be found here in Dalgan, near Navan, in County Meath. I say current because I am always finding trees which so impress me, that, for a time, they become my chosen tree to befriend and learn about. This particular tree is a Redwood, Sequoiadendron giganteum, and was probably brought back from the Sierra Nevada area of California in the 1840`s or 50`s as part of a shipment of seedlings that came to Kew Gardens in England.  We have 4 of them in the grounds of Dalgan ( Home of the Columban Missionaries in Ireland ).

I bring groups on Eco-Walks around the woodlands and rivers on the estate regularly. When we encounter this tree it always impresses people, young and old. It is interesting to watch the different reactions and range of questions the tree inspires in people. Also, it is amusing to watch how young males almost instantly begin to punch the bark once they notice how soft it is. Is this a statement about Males in general or just our young Irish schoolboys?

For me the tree is a symbol of the majesty of Nature and the connection between the past, the present and our future. These trees came to us when the Famine was just happening. But f they manage to achieve a full life span they will still be alive in the 56th century. What I do today in my lifestyle choices can guarantee their survival in some small way, and maybe in the year 5614AD someone else will be writing an article about their favourite tree. The last time Sequoias grew here in Ireland was before the Ice Age.  I hope that we learn a lesson from these trees and do not bring about another Ice Age as we continue to live our Human lives separated from the Natural World.

Come and visit anytime and meet our Great Tree. Its Free.

BIO

Studied Science ( Geology, Botany, Zoology. ) in UCG. Worked in the Mining industry. Head Guide on the Hill of Tara with the OPW.
Is currently the Education Officer for the Columbans in Ireland (with a special brief for Ecology).
Has Promoted the conservation of Native Woodlands where Columbans work overseas.
Was Chairman of Crann,(the oldest Irish Tree organisation) and is still on the Board of Directors.
Grows trees at home with his family outside Navan and is currently assembling Oak seedlings from the Dalgan woodlands to distribute to every Parish in Ireland as part of their Centenary celebrations in 2018.

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