Across Belfast Lough on the southern shore hotel in leafy Cultra, is a sweet chestnut traditionally associated with King James, although he may never have visited it.
The tree is in a private garden which was once part of the grounds of a single large house, before being developed for smaller houses. In this case, the new houses have been carefully sited to keep the outstanding trees, and the sweet chestnut, accompanied by evergreen oak, have survived the changes.
It is taller and leafier than its rivals, with new green growth from low down on the trunk. At first glance, this disguises its massive size. There is a hollow at the base of the trunk which has not bothered the tree at all. It has benefited from careful tree surgery at the time of the new housing and is a fine example of how an old tree, looked after, can continue to thrive.
King James at Cultra, King William at Scarva – the one tall and strong, the other wide-spreading and vigorous. A parallel for our times ? Their trees still alive, their memories still resonating in politics today.