Finding Fairy Trees

Irish field

During our trip to Ireland we enjoyed day trips to Wicklow, Glendalough and Kilkenny and to Connemora and Cong. Our guides, Yoann and Michael, pointed out singular trees growing in many of the lush green fields. They are known as fairy trees. It is bad luck to cut them down. The fairy trees we saw had stones at the bottom to protect them. We did not get a close look as we saw them from tour buses. Perhaps the long view adds to the mystique.

The Superstitious Fairy Trees in Ireland on shares interesting information about the lone ash and hawthorne trees which grow alone in fields or along roadsides as well as their place in Irish folklore:

The hawthorn tree is thought to be a sacred meeting place for the fairies and cutting down a lone hawthorn tree is avoided at all costs. The Fairy trees are believed to bring luck to its owners and bring prosperity to the land where they lay. Many people who visit the fairy trees leave prayers, gifts and personal items as a token of good gesture in hopes of receiving good fortune or healing in return from the ‘wee folk’.

fairy trees, Glendalough

The fairy tree is also celebrated in song. Irish tenor, John Francis McCormack (1884-1945) recorded The Fairy Tree in 1930. The lyrics weave together Irish folklore and a vision of Christ. It also says that Cromwell, an anti-Catholic whose forces attacked and destroyed Irish cities, villages, churches and other sacred places, feared the power of the fairy tree.

The Fairy Tree, by M. Isabel Leslie – posted by mark32646

When I wrote about our Trip to the Emerald Isle in December 2019, I had forgotten about the magical fairy trees. When I awoke on Christmas Eve, the trees were on my mind. While all trees are important to the earth, if you happen to find a hawthorn or ash by the road or growing alone in a field, share some good thoughts or a say prayer. It may be a fairy tree.

Whether you believe in wee folk or not, I invite you to think on the importance of trees to our world. We have lost too many to development, disease and wildfires and there have been consequences to far too many living creatures.

Wishing better health and regard to our trees and blessings to all at a time that it is difficult. May you enjoy good fortune, healing and many blessings on St Patrick’s Day and every day.

Ross Errilly Friary, Galway

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