by Aine, from Athlone Library
National Tree Week was first celebrated in 1985. It is organised by the Tree Council of Ireland, in partnership with Coillte, and falls between 21 and 27 March 2021.
Though organised celebrations feature a virtual aspect this year, we can still find ways to celebrate the wonderful world of trees - in our family groups, and as individuals.
Trees play a significant role in Irish heritage, tied in with Pagan and Christian customs, history, agriculture, and our landscape. The habitat will dictate the local tree varieties, and in turn that tree growth will dictate the birds, flora and fauna living within and also beneath these trees.
And so, it was stories of local Wild Garlic that led myself to Meehanbee, in Drum.
Note: if picking Wild Garlic, be careful to avoid the Lords-and-Ladies often growing close by. Their leaf is an elongated heart shape, as shown left of photo above. Wash leaves separately, and double-check, then create your foraged treat- like mine below!
Though a native of Athlone, I had never darkened the door of this local Portal Tomb. And I never dreamt what a gorgeous arboreal place this might be. So, do visit and take time for it all: drink in the Ancient, contemplate the animal nightlife and the dawn chorus going on here, and not least the fact that this bridle path was the gateway to the West in ancient times.
We cannot step into the shoes nor minds of those who constructed this ancient tomb. However, we can respect its history and its magic, and especially this week - the richness provided by the wonderful trees surrounding the Meehanbee site today.