Trees have featured in Irish history and folklore since earliest times, from the letters of the ancient Ogham alphabet, to the protection trees under the Brehon laws, to the belief in the sacred and magical properties of certain native tree species. This section provides a brief introduction to the many aspects of trees associated with Irish folklore and tradition.
Trees in Irish Place Names
Many place names in Ireland are derived from the Irish names for trees and woods. Below is a list of Irish root words referring to trees and woods that can be found in place names throughout the country either as […]
OGHAM ALPHABET The myth of the Alphabet of Trees. No discussion of trees in Irish folklore and history would be complete without mention of the letters in the Ogham alphabet. This alphabet is the ancient Irish alphabet, many examples of […]
In pre-Christian Irish society, brehons or judges laid down the law. This early body of law is now recognised as probably the oldest known European example of a sophisticated legal system. The Brehon law survived relatively intact right through the […]
Sacred and Magical Trees
OAK (dair) Ireland Oak has been identified at numerous Irish prehistoric sites, especially crannógs, which were artificial islands built in lakes or marshes. A crannóg excavated at Ballinderry was found to have been constructed using oak piles. Some of the […]
A heritage tree may be defined as a tree of biological, cultural, ecological or historical interest because of its age, size or condition. Heritage trees are an integral and valuable part of our natural and cultural landscape and are often […]