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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

A giant redwood grove is being planted in Birr

You can buy your own space for a redwood for €500

largest forest grove of giant redwoods outside California Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

PLANS ARE AFOOT for a giant redwood grove in Birr Castle Gardens – and the space for the trees can be bought by the public.

Lord Rosse of Birr Castle turns 80 this year, while the organisation Crann turns 30, so they’ve teamed up to put together the ambitious plan for what they say will be the largest forest grove of giant redwoods in Ireland – and probably Europe.

It will see spaces in the eight-hectare grove being sponsored in the names of Irish people living here and abroad, with the initiative being pitched towards Irish people living abroad who want some literal roots in the country.

The €500 cost for each space will go towards the planting and establishment costs, and will provide a trust fund for the care and maintenance of the forest grove. All of the names of the sponsors will be inscribed in a book of honour at Birr Castle as well as the project’s website.

largest forest grove of giant redwoods outside California Lord Rosse and his grandchildren Charlotte, Olivia,Bee, William and Henry and some of the redwood saplings and a Giant redwood behind them. Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Clara Clark is a member of the charity tree organisation Clann and is the volunteer project manager for the project. She explained that Crann came up with the idea for the specific tree project, and approached Lord Rosse about it.

“It’s primarily a diaspora project,” she said. “But obviously if people at home wanted to sponsor a space in the grove that would be fine.”

The entre grove will be organised in grids, and each person who buys a space will get a GPS location for it, so they can identify it from wherever they are in the world.

Clark explained that redwood trees are endangered in California, so Crann wants to do its bit in protecting them.

California used to be a more temperate climate, but now due to climate change there are droughts, there are floods, there are fires. The redwoods in California are endangered by climate change effectively. In the meantime in Ireland redwoods have been growing for thousands of years. They grew here back before the last ice age. We are not doing anything weird in that sense we are repatriating redwoods to Ireland. They were indigenous and we are now bringing them back.

“There are Irish families who can’t come back to Ireland so what we are doing is saying you can put roots down in Ireland,” said Clark.

largest forest grove of giant redwoods outside California Lord Rosse and his grandchildren Charlotte, Olivia, Bee, William and Henry and some of the redwood saplings and a giant redwood behind them. Source: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Crann will plant 18-month-old trees in the spaces, and Clark said redwoods grow quite quickly. Physical planting will take place in the spring and the site is currently being dug and prepared.

There are about 2000 trees ready to plant and sponsorship has already begun. The planting will take place over two phases.

Clark described the purchase of a space as an investment for a family. “It ties in well with Crann’s philosophy of protecting the environment – and these will do that.”

Redwoods can live for thousands of years and Clark said they help clean the air, create homes for bids and space for animals, and benefit the environment.

She also said that the seeds from these trees may be used by people in the future to plant more redwoods elsewhere.

To find out more about the project, visit its official website.

Read: Construction of €233 million Center Parcs project to begin later this month>

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