The Black Poplar Tree in Clarecastle
Black Poplar Trees in Clarecastle
Following on from our Tree Survey of 2022, two ancient Black Poplar trees were noted in Clarecastle. One stands in Flynn’s Field, opposite the school. It is thought to be 200 years old. Jimmy Flynn says that there were five of these trees originally. Eric Shaw remembered Paddy Conjuror Moloney who lived nearby, using two of the trees to hang his salmon fishing nets between so that the old nets could be cut from the topline and the leadline, to mount a new net. The large trunk of another Black Poplar tree that had fallen years ago was noted close to the tree in Flynn’s field. The condition of the wood in the trunk is quite sound and it was felt that with permission a disk of the trunk could be cut, it should be possible to accurately date the tree.
The other can be found at Abbeyview in Ballybeg. This one is perhaps 170 years old. The family of William Carroll moved into the original Abbeyview house in 1849. They planted conifer, copper-beech, apple trees etc. around that time and it is likely that the Black Poplar was also planted about then. With the permission of the owners, Bernard Carey, Forester, took cuttings to propagate and preserve the species. Congella McGuire, Clare Heritage Officer, Elaine Keegan of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Bernard Carey and Eric Shaw are in the photos.
The black poplar may be a native Irish tree, although rare. It has been found especially in the midlands, predominantly in hedgerows in wet farmland near deep water-filled ditches, particularly along the River Shannon. It is a tall tree growing up to thirty-five metres with rough fissured dark grey bark. Its twigs are a shiny orange-brown, smooth and more or less hairless. The leaves are triangular oval with toothed edges, bright glossy green on top and paler beneath.
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