On a farm near Carrickfergus in the shelter of the Knockagh is the biggest pear tree of them all and an amazing survivor.
At first glance it seems to be an entire orchard, not a single tree. Half a dozen trunks raise their pale downy leaves, a mass of flowers early in the year, and a crop of small sweet pears which are very edible though they do not last well.
This whole grove springs from a single tree. Well over a century ago the pear tree was already old and very large. Because it appeared to be about to split apart and collapse, special metal hawsers were brought from Carrickfergus shipyard, from the last ship launched there, and these were used to support the tree.
Great metal bolts were driven right through the trunk and branches, then tied by the hawsers to a mighty stone and to surrounding trees.
The pear tree split apart in spite of these efforts, branches falling in all directions. However, this was anything but the end of the story. As the branches lay upon the ground, they drew nourishment from it, grew new roots, and behaved like new trunks.
This is the pear tree that absolutely refuses to lie down and die.