by Darren Twomey
the 8th of March 2000 our class visited Woodstock, Inistigoe Co.
Kilkenny to undertake a study of trees.
On our arrival we met Margaret and Michael Tennyson. Both of them are experts on Forestry and Wildlife. Here we discovered the wonderful world of nature.
ago Ireland was covered with forests. People from Europe came to Ireland. First
they settled on the coastline. Later they moved inland. They had to cut down
trees to get there. Some trees fell into lakes and formed bogs. The trees that
the other people cut down made space to grow crops. Other people went to bogs to
get to get turf, which was used for burning.
During the 16th century many of the finest tress were cut down and exported to England for shipbuilding and furniture making.
one-seventh of the land of Ireland was
covered in bogs. These bogs developed in wet marshy areas after thousands of
years from decaying plant life. As trees and shrubs withered, died and fell to
the forest floor, this material started to rot and over-time , built up in
layers to form boglands.
Press for a large image
The oak is known as the king of the forest.
It is like a factory.
There are 600 species of insects living in the oak tree.
The oaks fruit is known as the oak-gall or the oak-apple.
Inside the gall is an insect.
When it grows up, it eats its way out.
The bark of the oak is rough. Tannin from the oak is used for tanning leather. The oak wood is used for furniture, desks and barrels.
The barrels are used for storing wine.
Holy Cross Abbey’s roof is made of oak wood.
So are the roofs of many heritage houses like Ormond Castle Carrick-on-Suir.
They used oak pegs instead of nails to put the roof down.
Oak growing in our school field
Oak beams Ormond Castle
Oak Winter and Summer
The yew tree used to be famous because longbows were made from its wood. Robin Hood used these longbows.
Some yew trees were living in 1400AD may still be living as they are very long lives.
One of the yew trees in Woodstock may be up to 500 years old. Yew trees wood is very useful for wood turning, making bowls and household utensils.
Yew at Swiss Cottage 1000 years old
ash is a very large tree that likes to grow on good soil.
In Spring time, the ash is one of the last trees to produce its leaves. Ash trees can be male or female and some trees have both male and female branches.
Ash is very valuable timber because it is springy and tough.
The lower part of the tree is cut into hurleys while the straight trunk is used for handle making. The Rowan is the tree which grows in mountain areas. It has massive red berries in autumn.
This tree comes from America, where it can grow to over 100 metres tall and live for 2500 years.
The ones in Woodstock are about 40metres tall and 150 years old.
Other Redwoods grow in Kildalton College.
Redwood burned by lightning s few years ago.
The Romans first brought this tree to Britian and from there it came to Ireland. The nuts are good to eat.
Spanish Chestnut growing in school garden
The Cedar of Leabanon.
Kildalton College Piltown
This tree comes from the middle east. Its wood was used to build the temple of Jerusalem . It is a very sweet scented wood.
It is one of the oldest living trees.
Trees like these were brought to Ireland and south Kilkenny and other stately homes for their decorative values.
Bark Sourced from Living Library
There are two types of trees.
Native trees such as the Holly, the Oak and the Ash are found in Ireland.
native trees such as the California Redwood, the Spanish Chestnut, the Norway
Spruce and the Yew are found in most parts of Europe and America.
value of trees.
Anywhere there are woods or places where there are lots of trees you will find animals.
Trees are used for furniture, fencing, building cabins, paper and books.
People plant trees in soft land to prevent erosion.
Counting the treerings
to measure the height of a tree.
You can measure the height of a tree by using an object called a clinometer.
is shaped like a gun.
Walk back from the tree. Point it until the sight is aimed at the top of the tree.
Then you release the triger, measure the angle and calculate. Measure the distance from the tree trunk to the point at which you are standing
Add your own height.
Then you have the height of the tree.
It will be reasonably accurate.
The holly tree is very easy to recognize, with its red berries in the winter and its sharp thorns. The Holly can be male or female, only female tree produces the red berries.
Holly wood is very hard and was used in Gaelic to make shafts for chariots and carts as well as roasting spits.
The spit was a long sharp stick pushed through the meat, to hold it over the fire...like a kebab.
hazel is a small woodland tree. This tree can be cut down to the ground and will
immediately start to grow.
This is called "coppicing".
What is left is known as a "Bollard".
After a few years it will be ready to be cut down again.
In Ireland long ago, many houses were woven from Hazel canes, called ‘wickers’ which were covered with clay.
Boat frames were also made from Hazel canes.
Hazel was valued for its nuts. Hazelnuts are important food for squirrel s and other small animals in the woods.
Charcoal is also made from hazel by burning in a barrel.
Throughout the Suir Valley, like other counties landed estates and Demesnes have a variety of every type of tree. Landlords were jealous of each other
pine tree is very easy to recognize. Its dark green top sits high on a long red
trunk. It was planted in small groves and in hedgerows all over Ireland. The
timber from Scots Pine has a very pleasant smell. This is caused by presence in
the timber of resin which is a sticky honey coloured liquid. Resin can after be
seen streaking down the outside of the tree and sometimes insects get trapped in
In the film Jurassic Park, the scientists were able to produce a dinosaur from dinosaur blood. They got the dinosaur blood from the stomach of a mosquito trapped in a substance called amber. Amber is the resin hardened over millions of years into a small glassy stone. Resin was once a great source of tar or pitch. Tar is made from oil today.
Beech in Autumn
Beech in school garden Summer
beech is a common name for a family of flowering trees. The beech contains about
1050 species. Many of its members- including Oaks, Sweet chestnuts and other
beeches are important sources of timber, food and other useful materials.
The male catkins are most important in the Spring, when they shed their pollen. The leaves are usually deciduous but some are evergreen. The beech is a tall tree reaching up to 40m (131 ft) with spreading branches. The fruits of the beech, called beechnuts or beech masts, contain nearly 50 per oil. This wood is used in making furniture and flooring.
Leaf study from Living Library
Laura Pheasey for Sip 2000/2001
Trees by Cathy and Angela