Old ‘Holmer’ makes public plea for votes

Pictured is Paul Clerkin, a local tree expert in Co Down sitting up the Holm Oak tree, during filming of the 'Tree of the Year With Ardal O'Hanlon' programme in December 2016
Pictured is Paul Clerkin, a local tree expert in Co Down sitting up the Holm Oak tree, during filming of the 'Tree of the Year With Ardal O'Hanlon' programme in December 2016

A tree in Northern Ireland, which has been nicknamed ‘The Holmer’, is in with a chance of winning the European Tree of the Year award in a voting competition which is seeing people from right across Europe vote for their favourite tree.

The stunning Holm Oak tree in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, County Down, has been nominated by Alistair Livingstone of the Light 2000 community group to be in with the chance of winning the 2017 competition.

Standing on the left, just inside the main Fairy Glen entrance to Kilbroney Park, this wonderful evergreen Holm Oak has been much loved by many generations of Rostrevor locals as well as Charles Dickens, CS Lewis and the young Princess Elizabeth who have all reportedly walked the ground where the Holm Oak is planted.

Eleanor McGillie, from the tourism cluster Live It Experience It, says with voting open until February 28, we don’t have long left to vote for this mighty oak in Kilbroney Park which is one of our many fantastic playgrounds in Northern Ireland.

She said: “The Holm Oak Tree has been described as the oak which bends but never breaks. It has a girth of 3.6 metres with a typical snakeskin bark. It is a distinctive oak because of the 45 degree angle at which it leans, making it easy for young children to climb.

“Currently over 3,300 votes have been cast but if we are to catch up with votes for other trees across Europe, the Northern Ireland public need to get behind the mighty Holm Oak.”

In a post on http://www.visitmournemountains.co.uk the old Holmer makes a public plea to the people of Northern Ireland.

The note reads: “I’m the 200-year-old leaning Holm Oak near the Fairy Glen in Rostrevor – now I need support. I’ve been loved by generations of local people. For decades artists, writers and musicians have been inspired under my evergreen leaves. Charles Dickens, CS Lewis and the young Princess Elizabeth have walked the ground I stand on. Hundreds of children have climbed my strong dragon-skin back or swung from my branches. We’ve all become friends. I hear your voices: you touch my spirit as I reach for the light.”

To vote for Holmer simply visit http://www.visitmournemountains.co.uk/europeantreeoftheyear – when you go to the voting page it will ask you to choose two trees to vote for (please make sure one of them is the Holm Oak, Rostrevor). You will then receive an email with a link for you to complete your vote (just to verify your email address works) so please click the emailed link to confirm your vote.