Family day to mark 21st anniversary celebration of Oak Glen Forest

Crann, Ireland’s leading voluntary tree organisation, and Coillte hosted a Family Day between 12 noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday 25th August in Oak Glen in Glencree County Wicklow to celebrate the ‘coming of age’ of Oak Glen.

Oak Glen was planted 21 years ago to re-establish an oak forest in Glencree, where there was a royal forest park in the 13th century. Members of the public were invited to bring a picnic and come along for an enjoyable day in the woods. Dale Treadwell was on hand with his bugs and beasties to entertain the children and adults alike.  Scrappy aka ‘Harry the Hedgehog’ was a big hit also. There was a tree planting ceremony at 3pm by Paddy Woodworth to honour all sponsors of trees in Oak Glen.

The project was launched in 1990, with the first tree planted by President Mary Robinson and the final oak tree in the first phase planted by Bob Geldof. Members of the public sponsored approximately 120,000 oak trees. These sponsors ‘invested’ through grid referenced certificates in groups of five young trees of which one, on average, would develop to maturity after thinning.  The grid referencing is being transferred to a GPS based grid to be accessed through the Crann website – – or directly through a smart phone link. 

Tony Carey, Crann’s Chairperson, said: “This unique joint project, between Crann and Coillte, has reached the stage at which the ‘young oak forest park, with its biodiversity in the heart of Glencree valley, can be enjoyed by the public.

Gerard Murphy, Managing Director of Coillte Forest said: “At Coillte we are immensely proud of this project and the Family Day is a way of paying tribute to a significant ecological achievement that was largely funded by generous donations of the public. It is part of our ongoing commitment to the innovative and sustainable management of natural resources on our estate across the country.”

Speaking at the event, where he planted a young oak tree, Paddy Woodworth, author and journalist whose book on ecological restoration projects worldwide, Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century, will be published shortly, said: “This project is really important as it demonstrates the importance we place on our native woodlands in Ireland. I congratulate Crann and Coillte on this great collaboration. This project is a heartening  example of the kind of work that I’ve seen in many countries,  where local communities and enlightened businesses are increasingly engaged with their environment,  and working to protect and restore  it for future generations.”

The event was part of National Heritage Week 2013.