Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Letter to the Meath Chronicle

Sir: I was glad to read in your paper that Halloween is coming home back home to Meath; to The Hill of Ward: Tlachtgha, where the first Samhain fires were supposed to have been lit in memory of a Druids daughter. Myth says she was raped and killed on the hill there. The subsequent fires were lit from kindling’s of trees held sacred to the Druids and these kindling’s “an Bruane Samhain” certainly included Ash kindling’s, then as now our most common tree. Trees were at the heart of all of Meath’s many myths.
I wonder then why there is little or no mention of Charala Fraxinea, the disease now threatening our Ash Trees. It was confirmed in Limerick last week, in England too and it has caused the loss of half of the Ash trees in Denmark. The English approach when compared to Irelands could hardly be more different. There it has made the headlines in many of the English papers, The Woodland Trust has declared an emergency and England readies itself to introduce emergency measures like the banning of all Ash product and the biggest tree cull in history; yet in Ireland it is hardly even mentioned. Why? Most people still don’t know anything about it, nor about any measures being taken; if they exist? Ash is perhaps our most common tree, it has accompanied us through our long history, it was held sacred at Tara once, Ash trees were the Bile trees of antiquity; The Fir Bile was once a name given to us and the Ash served us well; materially, spiritually and environmentally so why then do we ignore its plight now? Do our political and trading elites wish ignorance upon us? I may be a bit green yes, but I believe that these trees would not do this to us... ignore a deadly peril approaching us; if they could.
November 2012.
John Farrelly.

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