One of the famous wishing trees was the ‘pin tree’ at Ardboe old church on the West shore of Lough Neagh. The most recent tree blew down in the fierce wind of Christmas Eve 1997. It had been dead for some time – probably no tree could survive for long the metal pressed or hammered into its trunk, once ‘pins’ or nails, now coins.
Two new beeches were planted in 1998 as replacements. Although not native, beech had been used for previous pin trees, and there is another beech beside the fine medieval carved cross at Ardboe churchyard, which was a monastic foundation.
There is local tradition of transference of significance from an original well which dried, to water gathered in a tree planted beside the well, and the belief has been maintained through a succession of trees.
The site at Ardboe was the focus for worship during penal days when the saying of Mass was not permitted. It also has a Lammas or harvest pilgrimage in August, a tradition which has been revived. A hundred years ago, this was a major local event, with stalls set up, and activities lasting for several days.