Churchyards have many lovely trees, some commemorating famous people and often with good stories.
At Carncastle, above Larne, with views of the Antrim coast below and the hills behind, there is a picturesque church on an ancient ecclesiastical site. Among the many graves, one is unmarked by a stone but is known by its ancient sweet chestnut tree.
The grave is reputed to be the burying place of a sailor from one of the fine ships of the Spanish Armada, blown off course by gales and wrecked on the southern Antrim coast. Its sister ship the Girona reached the north coast only to founder in its turn, and leave precious relics now housed in the Ulster Museum.
The sailor was found washed up on the beach below Carncastle and duly buried in the churchyard. In his pocket were some nuts, seeds of his native sweet chestnut. After his death, one germinated, and in spite of cool coastal winds on this upland site it has grown to the venerable tree which can be seen today.
Other fine churchyard chestnuts can be seen at Aghalurcher (Colebrooke) Co Fermanagh, and at Inch, near Downpatrick, Co Down.