The Wishing Tree

Mention the Hill of Tara and most people will think of St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland.  Failte Ireland recently launched a new advertising campaign to bring tourism to the North East, Midlands and South East in a way similar to that being experienced by areas along the Wild Atlantic Way.   The wonderful website for Ireland’s Ancient East states that “Tara’s potent mix of archaeology , history and myth touches at the very soul of Ireland”.    There is certainly something magical about it, maybe its the fact  that its nearly always windy there that makes it invigorating but I like to think its also something to do with the history of it too.

The thing that you don’t hear mention too often which makes the  site a bit special in my eyes is the Wishing Tree on the boundary of the hill. Legend has it that tying a rag or cloth to the Hawthorn Tree will bring blessings or wishes from “wee folk” or indeed from the saints.  Now  I’ll admit on the  face of it this does seem a little bit silly, but I find it nice to look at the brightly coloured rags and cloths blowing in the wind knowing that the symbolise people’s hopes, wishes and dreams.

The pictures above were taken back in 2014.. the tree was pretty laden with “wishes “at that stage.  I believe there’s an annual clear up of the tree which on one hand is sad but is absolutely necessary for the poor tree.   In April of this year I returned over to the Hill with camera in hand with the aim of getting a picture of the Wishing Tree to enter in a competition in  Crann Magazine

I found the tree a little more bare this time, I think its possibly cleaned off each year before the month of May.  The trees are also sometimes known as May Bushes, so I’d imagine there’s a peak in the amount of rags being tied to tree during this month.

The Wishing Tree-4.jpg

To be honest I went home thinking that I hadn’t gotten a  picture good enough to enter the competition that day.. my own wishes of having a picture published would have to wait another while.    However when I loaded up the memory card that evening a found that one of the pictures I had taken of the tree’s silhouette in the sun was “the one”.    Ironically enough the thing I love about the tree i.e. the bright colours against the landscape were not a feature in this picture.    At first glance you think its just a picture of a normal tree, but if you look closely you can see the shapes of the various rags and ornaments hanging from it.


A couple of months later when I’d given up hope of winning the competition I came home to find the latest edition of Crann Magazine had arrived for me in the post.   For a little moment, I thought maybe I’d won the competition but sadly this was not the case.. a fellow member of Navan Camera Club  by Haydn Hammerton (see his winning entry here)

The disappointment didn’t last very long though… as my picture was shortlisted , it was printed in the magazine after all, so I was thrilled with that.  Having a picture published for the first time felt like a win to me!

Since then I’ve been contacted by one of the owners of the  The Stockhouse  Restaurant in Trim requesting an A3 sized print of this picture so it could be framed and put in display in the restaurant.  The Stockhouse is located in Trim, just 15 mins away from the Hill of Tara, so if your in the area make sure to pop in… they do a mean steak (amongst other things ) in a friendly atmosphere with great food and great value.  You can see their full menu by clicking on the link above.  They’ve actually lots of pictures of the area, including some very old pictures of Trim.

Anyway, it might seem like I’m digressing off the subject of the Wishing Tree but I’m not really…. two of my wishes came true as a result of taking that picture:

  1.  To have a picture published in a  magazine.
  2. To have one of my pictures hanging in public.

Was it the power of the Wishing Tree? Or was it a result of keeping working towards something I really want (a career in photography , in case there’s any doubt! ) I’d like to think that maybe its a little bit of both.

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