Known for its lush greenness, the entire island of Ireland is full of beautiful landscapes. From coastline to mountains, wide expanses and stone walls, the best walks in Ireland don’t disappoint.
Another component to Ireland’s beauty is its trees. There are a variety of native trees that help give the island its characteristic charm.
These trees are special because they do double-duty. Not only do they provide scenic charm, but they’re also an integral part of the environment. They help support wildlife and provide shade for weary walkers. They also help trap harmful elements from the air we breathe.
Ireland’s forests working together
All combined, the trees on the island of Ireland are working hard. Between 2007-2016, they removed 3.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. With more trees reaching maturity, and new trees getting planted, this number will only increase.
Non-profit organisations focused on the environment are playing a big role in adding to the tree count throughout the island of Ireland. Businesses are doing their part to support these efforts.
A supporting piece to Maxol’s Carbon Neutral Programme is our commitment to planting 10,000 trees across the island of Ireland. This not only allows Maxol to work locally with a variety of community-based organisations, but it enables participation in a long-term plan that could improve air quality around the world.
The specific trees playing a part
Each time new trees are planted throughout the country, certain ones are selected. These are the hearty, native trees that help make Ireland, Ireland. Which ones do you see in your county?
Ash / Fuinseóg
The most common tree in Irish hedgerows, ash trees grow well in a variety of soils as long as the sites have good drainage. Their flowers are very dark, close to black in color and the seeds look like winged keys.
Ash trees are primarily found in Co Clare and South Fermanagh.
Aspen / Crann creathach
A type of poplar tree, aspen leaves make a distinct sound when they rattle in the wind. They also give off a sweet smell in the spring. Aspens like wet areas and can spread quickly in the right environment if not tended to carefully.
Aspen trees thrive at lake edges, such as those in Glenveagh, Co. Donegal.
Silver Birch / Beith gheal
Adaptable enough to grow in poor soil, the silver birch needs plenty of sunlight and good drainage to thrive. You can often see them on the edge of a bog, but because it doesn’t grow too large, it’s also nice as an ornamental tree in a garden.
Silver birch trees are found in a variety of locations including Ardkill Bog in Co. Kildare and Co. Westmeath.
Wild Cherry / Gean – carne silíní fiáin
Cherry trees of all kinds have beautiful flowers, and this particular type is no exception. Its buds open up to pale pink petals before giving way to hanging cherries. You’ll find this tree in old field hedgerows and mixed wild woodland.
Wild cherry trees are common in St. Johns Wood in Co. Roscommon.
Rowan / Caorthann
A full tree in its prime, the rowan’s flowers make way for red berries that thrushes love to have for a winter snack. It thrives in most soils and looks just as at home in a garden as it does growing on a rocky hillside.
Rowan trees, also known as mountain ash, grow throughout Ireland, mostly on higher ground.
Scots Pine / Péine albanach
One of the oldest trees in Ireland, soil samples date the Scots Pine back thousands of years. Although it lost presence over the centuries, imports have allowed the tree to gain back a little of its native territory. Today, it’s a staple tree in supporting wildlife ecosystems.
Scots pine have been thriving the longest in Co. Clare, so begin your search for them there.
Willow / Saileach
Several different types of willow are native to Ireland, with the most widespread varieties being the goat willow, rusty willow, and eared willow. Most prefer a damp location and provide a happy home for many different insects.
When looking for willow trees focus your search around bodies of water, their favorite spot.
Wych Elm / Leamhán sléibhe
Happiest in the northwest, among mountain glens, wych elm seems more resistant to disease than other varieties of elm. Known for its beauty, this particular tree also holds the power to protect the dead, according to the Celts.
Wych elm prefer coastal towns, and you’ll find them in Co. Cork among other places.
Plant a tree of your own
With so many native trees to pick from, maybe it’s time to plant one of your own. Consider joining in with an organisation in your area that’s planning a tree-planting event and spend a day in the dirt for a good cause.
If you’d rather stay a bit cleaner, but still do your part for the trees, Maxol gives you the opportunity to dedicate one of theirs. By filling out this form, you can dedicate a young native tree to a friend or loved one, or in loving memory of someone close. This simple act gives you the ability to do a little something for the native trees of Ireland, ensuring they continue to thrive.
For more detail on these trees, as well as information on all the native trees of Ireland, visit the Tree Council of Ireland’s catalog of trees.