Sunday 21 January 2018

Tapping into a growing interest in native trees

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer

National Tree Week 2017 has been a wonderful success thus far and despite inclement weather on a few occasions, people turned out in numbers to support and participate in a range of events.

Tree Week runs until March 12th and there are two further tree-planting events in Macroom as well as one in Carrigaline, for those who still wish to get involved. The events in Macroom take place in the Castle grounds, adjoining the Golf Club House, from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday, 11th and 12th March. All gathered will have the opportunity to learn of the necessary skills associated with successful tree-planting including plant identification, soil classification, site preparation and aftercare. In Carrigaline, at 10.30am on Saturday 11th, a large community tree-planting event will take place involving many of the locality's groups, businesses and schools.

Speaking of schools, the 2017 Muintir na Tíre School Garden Competition, undertaken with the support of Cork County Council's Environment Section and Heritage Unit, was launched this past week by Deputy County Mayor Cllr. Kevin Conway. The competition, which is open to all primary schools from around County Cork, is going from strength to strength, and for further information visit

The start of March is also synonymous with Seachtain na Gaeilge, running from March 1st to 17th. The Irish language has certainly seen a resurgence in recent years and this year's 'Seachtain' has been a great success so far. For full details of the week and to see details of events taking place around the County of Cork visit

Another week of national note is Heritage Week, which runs from August 19th to 27th. This year's Heritage Week Theme is Nature with the stated aim of helping 'more people learn about and enjoy Ireland's nature. From urban wildlife tours to foraging walks to building bee hotels, Heritage Week 2017 is all about being active, having fun and getting involved with our natural heritage'. The Heritage council is encouraging people to get involved and a promotional video on the week is available to view on YouTube.

In order to further promote and support Heritage Week 2017, the Heritage Council has organised a free training day for National Heritage Week event organisers, which will take place in Dublin on Tuesday 28 March at Dublin Castle. 'The day will be jam-packed with ideas, inspiration and practical tips covering every aspect of event planning. Places are limited so early booking is recommended (maximum of two per group). More information is available via

As we cast our eye on the events taking place this week it is clear to see that there is literally something for everyone. For those interested in food history, particularly as it relates to Ireland, U.C.C.'s Food Conference will certainly whet the appetite. The conference takes place from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th March and will focus on the past, present and future of food in Ireland, bringing together experts in the field, including food historians, food geographers, food scientists, food writers and food producers. The conference is free and open to the public, but booking is advised as places are limited (see

On Monday 13th March, one of Cork's proudest and most recent Irish-Americans of note, will take centre stage in the Cork City Library with the launch of an exhibition regarding Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill. The exhibition has been arranged by the Mallow Development Partnership in conjunction with Cork City Council Library and will be launched by Professor Margaret Kelleher on Monday 13th March, 2017 at 3pm. The exhibition will be in place until 13th April and celebrates the life of Tip O'Neill, his connections with Ireland and his valued contribution to American and Irish politics.

For those interested in further connections between the Rebel County of Cork and the United States, Martin Millerick of Cork County Council's Heritage Unit will give a talk, on Tuesday 14th March at 4pm, examining Cork's emigrants in North America. Martin will explore their motivations in leaving Cork, their legacies and the common threads that may be found in their journeys. The talk takes place in the Council Chamber, County Hall, and all are welcome to attend.

Also of relevance to Cork's connection with America is a wonderful 'Trad and Roots' festival taking place in the White Horse Inn, Ballincollig, from Friday 17th to 19th March.On the afternoon of Saturday 18th at 2pm a talk will be delivered by Orla Murphy on the life of Confederate General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne from Ovens. Orla's talk will explore his Irish roots and examine how he became one of the Confederacy's greatest military leaders and most distinguished officers during the American Civil War of 1861-65. The town of Cleburne in present day Texas is named in his honour.

A further prominent connection between Cork and America is of course Henry Ford. Henry Ford was born to a West Cork family from Ballinascarthy who moved to America during the Great Famine in 1847. Denis McSweeney, Ford's Marketing Director, will talk about the origins of the Ford family in Cork and how they set Ireland on the road to industrialization. The event has been organised by the Muskerry Local History Society and all are welcome to attend the event which will take place on Monday 20th March in the Ballincollig Rugby Club at 8pm.


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