John McCullagh December 29, 2003
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The Fairy Tree is in folklore, often associated with raths/hill forts of old, the little people of the underworld preferring to commune [sometimes through the souterrains often attending these sites] with the ancient rather than the modern peoples.



Journeying through Ireland, one can often see them, even today [the Fairy Trees – not the Fairies – they’re harder to catch sight of!] in the centre of cultivated fields, the local farmer knowing better than to disturb the earth around them.

The fear of the powers of retribution of the little folk remains strong – even in towns. When this area of Newry (photo above) was being redeveloped three decades ago, the Contractors refused to remove this Fairy Tree. Stalemate reigned for weeks. The rising sense of frustration was fed by ongoing press speculation.

One Monday morning the builders arrived at work to find the job done for them: the Fairy Tree had been uprooted, allegedly by vandals over the weekend. Still it was difficult to persuade labourers to removed the stump and dead tree from the site.

If you, like me, know the names of those allegedly involved in the act of desecration, you probably also know how the participants prospered – or otherwise – since. This either will have fed your faith or fear, or confirmed you in your pragmatism. It will not have left you unmoved.

Would you do the job, if the necessity arose again?

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