European Tree of the Year result 29 March 2017
The results of the European Tree of the Year contest are in; with an oak, ‘Oak Józef’, from Poland taking the crown (via The Woodland Trust)
Ardal O’Hanlon with Paul Clerkin of LIGHT 2000. Photo courtesy of STV Productions
Northern Ireland’s champion, a remarkable evergreen oak at Rostrevor’s Kilbroney Park, came sixth – out of a total of 16 contenders from as far away as Estonia.
The 200–year–old holm oak, now widely known as ‘Old Homer’, can take a well–earned bow after securing 7,101 votes.
Organised by the Environmental Partnership Association, the European contest began in 2011, and this was the second year that an entry for Northern Ireland was submitted.
The County Down veteran, voted Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year 2016, was nominated by Alistair Livingstone on behalf of the local community group LIGHT 2000.
Alistair said: “We’ve worked tirelessly to raise awareness of, and encourage votes for, ‘Old Homer’ – who is now something of an icon. He’s been adored by generation after generation, who have gathered here for school outings, international music festivals and more. And we hope that – with a little helping hand – his huge canopy will continue to provide shelter and shade for centuries to come. “
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland, added: “We want members of the public, and decision makers, to recognise the huge cultural importance of our trees. And this competition provides an excellent opportunity to do just that.
“This oak really has captured the hearts and minds of everyone. Northern Ireland has a relatively small population, which makes the number of votes – over 7,000 – truly remarkable. A huge ‘thank you’ to the LIGHT 2000 team for their determined efforts, and thanks also to each and every person who took the time to vote.