by Laura Pheasey
Trees form a essential part of our Environment. They
may be seen everywhere. Trees play an important role in improving the quality of
life in Rural and Urban life! Trees are the home of thousands of insects, birds
and animal. Trees absorb harmful Carbon Dioxide and produce Oxygen. Trees shade
us from the wether, they add beauty to our gardens and landscape.
Long ago the whole of Ireland was covered in forests. When people came from Europe they used to live on the coast. As years went by more and more people moved inland. They started to cut down trees to make room for homes and for growing food. Soon trees started to fall on to each other. These fell into lakes.This formed boggy ground. This boggy ground became known bogs or marshes.
Oaks produce durable, tough wood and are important
trees. The wood is used in cabinet and barrel making and as flooring and
veneering. Oaks are of some importance, but because some are slow growing, they
are often planted in public parks and gardens.
Oaks can live for hundreds of years. Even up to 1000 years if their branches are cut regularly. The trunk gets thicker and thicker even though the branches are shortened. The oak can grow up to 40m high (about 120ft) in a forest, but in the open they are more likely to be half that height.
The leaves have a short stalk, but some leaves have none at all. The leaves are quite leathery and full of a chemical called tannin, which stops them from rotting easily, so they hang around in the gardens for ages after they fall.
Acorns are the fruit of the oak. They are 2-4cm long, with a through shiny skin not as hard as the nut. Each acorn sits in a little cup until it’s brown and ripe. Then it falls to the ground.
Tanin is used inm making leather in a "Tannery".
The yew tree was once famous because long bows were
once made from its timber. When gunpowder became widely used about 1400 A.D the
bows and arrows became useless.
By this time however most of the really good Yew trees were cut down.
Nowadays, there are only small areas of yew woodland survived.
There is a Yew at the Swiss Cottage 1000 years old.
The ash tree is a large tree with smooth grey
bark. In Spring time, the ash is one of the last trees to produce it’s
leaves. Ash trees can be male or female and some trees have both female and male
branches. It is only the female branches produce the seeds. Each seed has a long
and slightly twisted wing. This causes the seed to spin around like drill as it
falls from the tree.
Hurleys are made from Ash butts and handles of pikes, forks, shovels are made from the straight trunks.
Hazel is a small woodland tree, which once was one
of the most useful trees that grew. This tree can be cut down to the ground and
will immediately start to regrow. After a few years it will be ready to cut down
again. Hazel was valued for it’s canes which are easily bent and were used to
In Ireland long ago, many houses were built from
hazel cane panels called wicker which was covered with clay. Boat frames were
also made from hazel canes. The frames were then covered the cowhides and
painted with tar to make it waterproof These boats are still made in places and
are called currachs. They use canvass instead of cowhides nowadays.
Hazel was used in making Crannógs.
Hazel was used in making Crannógs.
The holly tree is very easy to recognise, with its
red berries in the winter and it’s sharp thorns. Most houses have it at
Christmas time. Holly trees can be male or female, only the female tree produces
red berries. In Ireland long ago, farmers fed holly leaves to the cattle in
winter time. This may seem hard to cattle mouths but their mouth are very tough.
Nowadays holly grows mostly in hedgerows, because it is a slow growing tree.
This pine is very easy to spot. Its dark green top
sits on a long trunk. It was planted in small groves and hedgerows all over
Ireland. About 1500 years ago it grew wild all over, especially on the bogs, but
something happened about 1000 years ago to cause it to die out perhaps it was
the action of man the tree was much used for building work. The scots pine of
today are trees that were imported from Scotland. The timber from Scots Pine has
a very pleasant smell. This is caused by the presence in the timber of
‘resin’ which is a honey coloured liquid.
of trees by Laura O’Neill
On the 8th of March last our class
visited Woodstock, Inistioge to undertake a study on trees.
Margaret and Micheal Tennyson were our tour guides for the day.
Here we discovered the wonderful world of nature.
Ireland was covered in forests and trees.
Some of the trees fell and decayed.
In the 16th
Century forests were cut down for shipbuilding and some trees were sent to
· There are two principal types of trees, decidous and coniferous.
· Every year a tree grows a new layer of wood just beneath the bark.
· If a tree is cut down, the layers can be seen as rings in the cross-section through the stump.
· By counting the rings you can tell its age.
· The tallest tree is in Curraghmore, Portlaw Co Waterford.
used in the manufactor of paper, fencing, housing, medicine, art and craft,
sculpture, boat building and firewood.
Some forest animals are, deer, rabbit, squirrel, hedghog and the badger.
Some birds are crow, owl and the woodpidgeon.
There are many species of willow throughout
Ireland, some native and the majority introduced.
In addition, there are many hybrids to confuse matters more.
This result is a difficulty in identifying willow.
Willows were used to make baskets and grow widely by the river.
The crab or wild apple is the ancestor of the
orchard apple. Crabs are usually hard, small and very bitter but occasionally
some can be eaten. People have collected these over many years and by crossing
them with each other they produce the modern apple. The crab trees differs from
apple trees in that its branches are blunt. In the Spring time, the crab trees
in the hedgerows are an amazing blaze of colour and sweet scent.
Sip Project May 2000