Tree Register of Ireland


Aesculus hippocastanum

Horse Chestnut

Shercock Road, Carrickmacross, Monaghan, Co. Monaghan

Situation: Individual Tree
Visited and photographed on: 07-Oct-09
Height: 10 m Girth: 3.07 m

Heritage value:

Landmark Tree
Habitat value
Associated with a noted person

The Birdy Tree'; this is a horse chestnut tree in the town that was not only a long-established landmark tree but also a well used meeting place and amphitheatre for the young and old of the town. It was also a place where the cattle dealers from near and far would meet to discuss the price of cattle! Apparently as 'young fellas' they used to block up the steam beside it and use it as a swimming pool! Purely by chance one day in the spring of 1968, Michael Birdy was approaching the tree when he saw that county council workers had dug away the clay from around the base of the tree, cut as many roots as they could and were attempting to push it over with a digger. He stopped the machine and rang the county manager, who was George Cannon at the time. The digger pushed the tree back to the vertical and at nights for the next number of days the local young men went and shoveled the clay back over the roots to try and save their tree. Mr. Birdy says jokingly they were the original eco-warriers! He then admitted that it was just something they felt had to be done. An aborted attempt was made by the county council to finish the job a few days later but thankfully the machine broke down.
Shortly before Mr. Birdy arrived at the tree that first day, a photographer from the Northern Standard, the local Monaghan newspaper had just taken a picture of the damaged tree and the headline that week said "this is the last of the old tree at McCartney's Cross before they removed it" (see his picture attached). One week later the headline read "the tree at McCartney's Cross is still there"!
In the meantime the county manager stepped in and called off the workers and wrote a letter to Mr. Birdy stating that the tree had been so badly damaged that it could fall but that he would wait and see what happened. Shortly afterwards the buds burst and tree came to life. Mr. Birdy gives full credit to the county manager and the Northern Standard but I believe he is the one who saved the tree. It is such a great story of a community that really loved a tree so much they saved it from certain death and the tree is still alive, well and appreciated by many today.