February 10, 2020

Irish Tree of the Year Presentation

Head Gardener Adam Whitbourn said ‘We are all absolutely delighted that the Witch’s Yew has won the Irish tree of the year. 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. Our tree will now go on to represent Ireland in the European competition and I hope the public will get behind us and vote.’

The Witch’s Yew Tree will now go forward as Irelands representative in the European Tree of The Year vote which will take place throughout the whole month of February. The winner will be announced on the 17th of March at an awards ceremony in Brussels. With an impressive selection of trees from all over Europe, getting the support again from the public and all the local councils and press will be crucial in us trying to win the European vote.

Voting will begin this Saturday the 1st of February and will conclude at the end of the month. Voting will take place at treeoftheyear.org/IE

The Yew 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.

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