Castle Coole is a stately home which belongs to the National Trust, though the current Lord Belmore lives in a modern house in the grounds. Like their noble neighbours at Crom and Florencecourt, his ancestors took a real interest in trees.
One tree is a special giant. From the outside, this horse chestnut grows with others at the edge of the front lawn outside the restored facade of Castle Coole. Once inside the canopy an amazing structure is revealed.
The tree is a collection of massive branches, leaving the trunk at a low level. In the absence of grazing livestock, these branches have survived and behaved like new trees, growing up to form their own trunk, branches and canopy, larger than the original branches. The whole is a wonderland of moss covered branches. When the family was still resident and there were children growing up at Castle Coole a tree house was built in the tree – a few nails are all that remain today to mark a very favourite place.