FIRST OF all, we should acknowledge that Ireland does in fact have a ‘Tree of the Year’ competition—what a wonderfully weird little country we are.
Second of all, we should also acknowledge that the winner of this year’s competition is haunted.
You read that right—this year’s winner is none other than the Witch’s Yew, situated on the grounds of Blarney Castle.
— Tom Fitzpatrick (@Tom1Fitzpatrick) August 29, 2019
The 'Tree of the Year' competition were looking for a tree which held the best story, possibly with a hint of magic, and they certainly found it with this particular Yew tree.
You may have heard of Blarney: it is the home of the Blarney Stone, which has long been rumoured to give those who kiss it the ‘gift of the gab’—namely, you’ll never be able to stop talking.
The 600-year-old Yew tree is alleged to hold the ghost of the Blarney Witch, who first told the Irish people of the talkative powers of the Blarney Stone.
In the 1700’s, the owners of the Blarney Estate built a tower of stone under the tree which became known as the Witch’s Kitchen. The legend goes that the Witch is imprisoned in these stones during the day but stalks the grounds come nightfall.
Many have claimed to see embers glowing in the Witch’s Kitchen just before dawn, and the Tree Council of Ireland may have taken the haunted history of the tree into account when deciding on the winner of the competition.
If you’re taking a trip to County Cork the next time you’re on the Emerald Isle, be sure to sit underneath Ireland’s Tree of the Year, kiss the Blarney Stone and visit the Witch’s Kitchen (During the day, just in case)