‘Old Homer’ heads for Europe 2 February 2017
County Down oak represents Northern Ireland in European Tree of the Year competition (via The Woodland Trust)
Photograph by Michael Cooper
A remarkable County Down oak, recently crowned Northern Ireland’s best–loved tree, is now competing for votes in the European Tree of the Year contest.
The holm oak, a mighty evergreen oak in Rostrevor’s Kilbroney Park, secured the title of Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year in a competition organised by the Woodland Trust; and was unveiled in a Channel 4 documentary Tree of the Year with Ardal O’Hanlon last December.
It now faces stiff competition from 15 other trees from as far away as Bulgaria. Run by the Environmental Partnership Association1, the European verdict is simple – the tree with the most public votes at the end of February will win.
The 200–year–old oak, affectionately and locally known as ‘Old Homer’, was nominated by Alistair Livingstone on behalf of LIGHT 2000 community group.
Alistair said: “This tree has been well–loved by generations of locals and visitors who have gathered under its huge canopy for festivals and more. We’ve worked hard to put ‘Old Homer’ in the spotlight, and indeed we’re determined to encourage an appreciation of the many remarkable trees within this park. We really hope that members of the public will make their mark by way of a simple vote.”
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, added:
“Centuries–old, this striking natural landmark reaches out to visitors at Kilbroney’s Fairy Glen entrance. And, while it distinctively leans at an angle, this oak is standing tall for all of Northern Ireland’s amazing, unsung trees.