Éanna Ní Lamhna was at Belvedere House and Gardens last Sunday to launch National Tree Week.
Free events are organised all over the country and the week will conclude this Saturday March 9 with a guided tour by Crann Belvedere House and Gardens at 2pm. The walk will include tree identification and the ecology of trees.
Ms Ní Lamhna was accompanied to perform the official duties by leas-cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council Frank McDermott, PJ Fitzpatrick of Coillte, Peter Whyte of the Federation of BeeKeepers of Ireland and Mark Keenan of The Tree Council of Ireland.
National Tree Week is organised by the Tree Council of Ireland and supported by Coillte. Westmeath County Council, in conjunction with the Tree Council of Ireland and Coillte, supplied 650 free saplings to 101 community groups and schools around the county.
Ms Ní Lamhna said: “The theme of National Tree week is A Feast of Trees, to remind people of the role of trees in providing food for humans, birds, bees and other wildlife.
“The range of foods from trees includes fruit, nuts, seeds, oils, leaves, roots and bark and in addition there is the relationship between trees, bees, pollination, and food crop production”.
To mark the official launch Ms Ní Lamhna planted an ash tree, one of Ireland’s native species. This was followed by the planting of five oak trees to represent the five ancient provinces of Ireland – Leinster, Connaught, Ulster, Munster and the Midhe (Meath and Westmeath). The five oak trees were planted by the local Scouts.
Those attending then had the opportunity to avail of four tours – a nature trail, a historical tour including a visit to Belvedere house, a bird watching tour and a tour guided by Peter Whyte of the Federation of Bee Keepers of Ireland.