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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Mar 2018 right left

   
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Hedge Planting

Sunday 4th March
Gilford Castle, Gilford Village, Co–Armagh
Free

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Woodland Management – Saintfield Estate

Sunday 18th March
Saintfield Estate, Saintfield
Free

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The Rivers Trust Spring Conference 2018

Wednesday 21st March
Iveagh House, Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Free

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NI Tree of the Year announced… 7 December 2017

NI Tree of the Year has been revealed today! (via The Woodland Trust)

 

WT1

Photo by Michael Cooper Photography

An oriental plane tree of ancient Greek descent has been crowned Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year in a search for the nation’s best–loved tree.

Organised by the Woodland Trust, the competition saw six splendid specimens1 compete for public favour, with the champion securing 1,732 votes.

The winner, the Erskine House Tree, is sandwiched between Belfast City Hospital and Queen’s University Belfast and, in terms of height, could give the high–rise buildings a run for their money.  It is however taking a bow, not because of its size, but because of a remarkable story backed by powerful public support.

This much–loved tree is a descendent of the famous Greek ‘Plane Tree of Kos’, under whose shade Hippocrates, the father of medicine, taught in 500 BC. In the 1960s a young Greek doctor, Dimitrios Oreopoulos, undertook kidney research at Queen’s University and Belfast City Hospital, later gaining worldwide fame for developing a form of kidney dialysis.  In appreciation of his time here, Dimitrios presented seeds from the Plane Tree of Kos for planting in the hospital grounds.  Only one – the Erskine House Tree – flourished and survived and is, today, an oasis of calm and a symbol of hope for patients, staff and students.

Dimitrios’ son, Dr George Oreopoulos, who recently visited the Belfast tree, said the gifting of the seed was: “a symbolic gesture of thanks from a young Greek doctor who was grateful for an opportunity. It is with this that I hope my own son learns never to underestimate the importance of small gestures of thanks that can grow into something great long after you’re gone.”  

The Erskine House Tree was nominated by Dr Gerry Gormley, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Queen’s; Professor Peter Maxwell, Clinical Professor from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s; and Dr James Douglas, former Nephrologist at Belfast City Hospital.

WT2

Photo by Parkway Photography

Dr Gormley said: “The team are thrilled and honoured to be announced as this year’s winner. There were many worthy trees in the competition, each of them with such a unique story. Being involved with the Erskine House tree has truly been a humbling and uplifting experience. The tree’s heritage, and what it represents, made a connection with so many people. Not only symbolising the huge advances that Northern Ireland has made to the treatment of individuals with renal disease, but also providing a beacon of hope to those living with renal disease.”

The tree received widespread support throughout the region, with TV presenter and patron of Northern Ireland’s Kidney Patients’ Association, Eamonn Holmes also lending his support.

Read the full press release here…