The King Oak tree in the grounds of Charleville Castle in Tullamore is on a shortlist of six for the European Tree of the Year.
The tree, estimated to be between 400 and 800 years old, is currently in third place in the voting behind the Plane tree in Kozy, Poland and the Plane tree in Eger, Hungary
Most Tullamore inhabitants have interacted with the King Oak at some time in their lives. To climb its majestic lower branches - that now touch the ground and stretch to an amazing 50 meters was a sign of great courage. Teenage romances started and ended at this mysterious giant tree.
“As a young boy growing up in Tullamore, my fascination with the King Oak was tinged with fear. As children we were told that if a branch fell from the tree a member of the Earls of Charleville would at that die. In 1963, a bolt of lightening did strike the tree and true to legend, Colonel Charles Hutton-Bury, the famous explorer and last of the Charleville line fell dead.” remembers the nominator of the King Oak Tom Roche from Just Forests.
The competition is searching for the oldest, the tallest, the biggest, the most beautiful or the rarest of trees. It is searching for the most lovable tree, a tree with a story that can bring the community together. The trees participating in the European Tree of the Year are winners of national contests.
Voting ends on February 28, 2013 and the result will be announced on March 1.
To vote go to the official website by clicking here.