The magical aura of the whitethorn tree
No one believes in fairies anymore, do they? Of course not. Ask most people and they will say that it's all old superstition that has no place in the modern world of the 21st century.
Yet when you delve deeply in to our inherited mindset, you find beliefs that defy logic yet are very much part of who we are. A great example of this occurred a few weeks back when I was standing in a field with Declan Little, our local fencing contractor, discussing the location of a new fence to protect yet another small wood I hope to plant shortly.
Standing alone and right on the path of the proposed fence line was an old thorn tree. It has been there as long as I can remember and while blown over by a past storm, it is still very much alive and growing strongly.
As we gazed at it we both knew that it was in the way but I also knew that nothing would induce me to remove it. Now Declan is a much younger man than I am so I asked him to please not laugh at me when I said I wanted the tree to remain as it was, untouched.
Not only did he not laugh but he added that he was hoping I wasn't going to ask him to cut it as he would have had to refuse.
Relieved that we were of one mind, we then recalled the famous incident in 1999 when construction on a national route from Limerick to Galway was delayed and eventually rerouted to protect a fairy thorn tree that stood in its path.
Stories abound of misfortunes visited on those who risked disturbing lone thorns and there have been many incidences in the past where digger drivers have refused, despite threats of sacking, to touch them.
These trees have a remarkable power about them.