Historic tree is in the running for top prize

180 year old yew tree beside the historic MoneyPenny's Lock in Portadown
180 year old yew tree beside the historic MoneyPenny's Lock in Portadown

A 180-year-old yew tree beside the historic MoneyPenny’s Lock on the Newry Canal needs your vote!

The yew tree, believed to have been planted in 1830, is one of six shortlisted for the Woodland Trust in the search for Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year.

“We’re asking our residents to vote for this 180-year-old yew tree,” said the Lord Mayor of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Darryn Causby, To vote, residents need to log on to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear.

The winning tree will represent Northern Ireland against competitors from England, Scotland, Wales and elsewhere in Europe – in the European Tree of the Year Competition in early 2016.

The yew tree stands at some 40 feet tall, towering over Moneypenny’s Lock House, the original 18th century lock-keeper’s house by the banks of the Newry Canal. The yew has been a much photographed and painted tree in the area.

First photographed in 1886, its image has been captured on glass plate, celluloid, colour film and digital.

There have been many changes since the sapling was planted. The tree, however, still produces berries and new growth.

“This yew tree is well known and is a magnificent example. Just think of the changes that have taken place in its 180 years. Although they can grow up to the age of 1,000 years, this is still a baby. But it’s ours and well worth your vote”, added the Lord Mayor.

The well-loved tree was nominated by Heather Crawford, a local volunteer from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, in this the first year of the competition for NI. The closing date is, October 12.

The historic tree is up against tough competition including the The Peace Tree: an oak at Woodvale Park, west Belfast; The Dark Hedges: avenue of beech trees at Bregagh Road, Ballymoney, made famous by TV series Games of Thrones; The Mulberry Tree: mulberry at Castle Park, Bangor; Tree of Witness: oak at Enagh House, Derry/Londonderry; Tree of Peace & Unity: lime at Dunadry Hotel, Antrim.