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 […]
Apples and Pears
Trees which produce sweet edible fruit have been precious since early man first foraged for food, and are associated with ancient sites. At Navan Fort archaeologists found the oldest Irish apple, dated to 1,100 B.C.
Beside the ancient royal site of Navan at Armagh is the mysterious pool known as the King’s stables. Whether or not a king kept his horses here, it is known to be a ritual pool into which offerings where thrown and from which treasure has been recovered. Around the pool, now somewhat choked by aquatic […]
On a rural area of Co. Down between Saintfield and Ballynahinch is a Peartree Road, with a Peartree farm and the very pear tree after which both were named. Marked on the earliest Ordnance Survey maps of the 1830’s, this local hero of a pear tree is still alive and well. The trunk leans mossily […]
At Brookhall Open Farm outside Lisburn, a remarkable pear survives, known to be over 100 years old: it was planted when the buildings were erected in the 1870’s. What makes it remarkable is that it is an espaliered specimen, grown tight against the gable-end wall of farm buildings, and has been severely pruned for all […]
Many old varieties of apple and pear have been lost but there is increased interest in preserving those that remain. Keegan Crab, Barnhill Pippin, Golden Nobel and Ballyfatten, all planted around 1880, may still be found in the MacNeice orchards beside Ardress House in Armagh. Other old trees survive beside farmhouses, sometimes kept as much […]