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Irish pine brought back to life at Bantry House

April 19th, 2024 10:00 AM

By Emma Connolly

Irish pine brought back to life at Bantry House Image
Adam Carveth with the Irish Pine planted on the grounds at Bantry House.

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ENDANGERED Irish pine trees, thought to have died out here around 1,500 years ago, have been planted in a new innovation in the gardens of Bantry House.

Head gardener Adam Carveth read how landscape charity Burrenbeo Trust, had launched a restoration project to bring the native Irish pine back from the brink of practical extinction.

After almost dying out in Ireland, it was reintroduced from Scotland, leading to its common name ‘Scot’s pine’. However, recent investigations by scientists at Trinity College Dublin confirmed the presence of a ‘microrefugium’ of native pine trees at a remote site in the Burren, where they once dominated.

Burrenbeo Trust embarked on a project to create nurseries for the future expansion of the species in Ireland, reducing its vulnerability to extinction.

The charity launched The Hare’s Corner Project – an initiative to help farmers and landowners make more space for nature through creation of a mini woodland, a mini orchard, a pond or a ‘plan for nature’.

That’s how Adam, after making a donation, took delivery of several Pinus sylvestris and he’s now passionate about helping them flourish in their new ‘home.’

‘All native trees are important as our wildlife has adapted to these specific trees over thousands of years. So the idea is to make sure they have a home firstly, but to allow people to visit these trees and one day see them mature. It will be a great way to tell people about the true Irish pine as most people would not know this. The owners of Bantry House are always proactive in encouraging biodiversity where they can within the garden and this is another positive step forward,’ he said.

Sadly, he pointed out, we are losing many trees due to disease, including Ash.

‘But climate change is also making life hard for our trees. A fraction of a degree in global temperatures may not seem like much to us but to nature it is huge, nature has relied on this steady seasonal pattern and weather with average consistent temperatures but now this is changing and its happening faster than what they can adapt. Some trees can adapt and the hope with Ash is that their off spring will produce resistant saplings so the advice is to try not to rush to cut it down if it is safe to leave it.’

Seek professional advice before racing to cut it down, is Adam’s advice as some standing deadwood is vital to insects.

Bantry House Gardens reopened to the public on April 1st.

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