Culture - Trees and Literature


Trees and woods feature in our poetry, prose and drama. Cill Cais is the most often quoted poem in both Irish and English Irish and English.

Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan admad? Ta deiruadh na gcoillte ar lar What will we do for timber; the last of the trees are gone

Yeats celebrates the hazel in the Song of wandering Aengus and trees feature in the poems of Kavannagh, James Stephens and Aileen Fisher. Trees are a recurring theme in world poetry. One of the poems quoted so often that it is almost a clich is Joyce Kylmers I think that I shall never see, A poem as lovely as a tree.

Irish prose writers and playwrights find a place for trees in their works. Famous ones include George Moore, Flan OBrien, Brian Friel and James Joyce. Joyce has a famous description in Ulysses of the marriage of the Chief Ranger of the Irish National Foresters to Miss Fir Conifer in which virtually all tree species known here were personalized as wedding guests. In Friel's play The Home Place a scene involves father and son thinning woodland adjoining the house.

Trees and Architecture
Wood features in our historical and contemporary architecture , art and craftwork. Ancient homes and fortifications were wood based and though little of the original remains reconstruction of these using traditional methods bring them back to life, for example at Cregganowen Co. Clare. Many later castles and Churches have also been rebuilt and there are many examples of roofing, flooring and paneling. Good examples are Bunratty Castle, Duiske (Graiguenamannagh, Co Kilkenny) and the Abbeys of Holy cross (Tipperary) and Ballintubber (Mayo) .Tree planting for aesthetic reasons and for formal landscapes formed 6the great 18th century estates around the Georgian which were also noted for their plaster work, paneling and furniture. Today structural and finishing wood use in buildings has greatly increased. ( CLICK TO MODULE ON WOOD)

Trees and the Fine Arts
Trees and woodlands strongly feature in the works of the classical and modern visual artists. The engravers and pleine air painters of the 18th and 19th centuries saw in them focus for dramatic landscapes and light and shade. The familiar paintings such as those of Nathaniel Hone, Walter Osborne and William Leech can be seen at the National Gallery. Today trees are the subject of numerous works of photography print and painting. While a study of this would require another website, modern painters such as Trevor Geogahan and Richard Kingston have a particular talent for expressing such features.

While classical wood sculpture and fine art has originated largely in central and south Europe there is a strong tradition of furniture manufacture in the UK and Ireland. There is constant demand by collectors for antique furniture. There has been an explosion of wood sculpture, woodturning and craftwork. Contemporary sculpture in context can be seen at the Devils Glen forest in Co. Wicklow.

Trees and Music
The best musical instruments are wood based. Our traditional, popular and classical compositions often have trees and woods as a motif. The Sally Gardens is both a classical song and a traditional reel. Percy Frenchs ever-popular Woods of Gortnamona is often performed and recorded on disc. Classical composers such as Joan Trimbles Green Bough take up the theme .