ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Niall Mac Coitir: Irish Trees - Myths, Legends and Folklore (A Review)

Updated on November 2, 2014

My Review

Druids, Saints and Common Folk

Special Irish trees await our discovery in Irish Trees: Myths, Legends & Folklore. Author Niall Mac Coitir assembles folklore of native Irish trees in this book. According to publicity from Mac Coitir 's publisher The Collins Press, West Link Park, Doughcloyne, Wilton, Cork County, "The author grew up in a bilingual environment in Dublin with a love of Irish history, culture and nature instilled into him. After graduating from University College Dublin, he worked for Dublin County Council and now works for Fingal County."

Mac Coitir presents two main themes in his writing about trees. These are:

1) as markers of important community places such as royal sites and holy wells; and

2) as sources of magic power. These symbols of power and strength persist in Irish folk customs.

Irish Poetry

Irish poetry also celebrates important pre-Christian places and trees. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), is called "the druid's tree" because of its flame-red berries. It symbolizes protection and magic.

In the ancient tale of Lubhdan, Leprechaun King and King Fergus, Lubhdan recites an ode that include the characteristics of familiar trees from apples to yew. The Metrical Dindshenchas or Lore of Places contains a poem that describes the traits and destinies of trees.

Meanings of Trees

Here are some of the ancient meanings of three common trees:

  • Ash trees have strong and flexible wood, delicate leaves and new growth; they are symbols of healthy land, fertility and healing.
  • Oaks supply strong timber, and acorns for animal food; their stately presence and long life symbolize fertility, strength, endurance and kingship.
  • Yew trees provide outstanding timber for bows and furniture; they are symbols of death, eternity, and the afterlife.

Aril or Fruit of Yew Tree (Taxus)


Irish Tree Stamps


Smitten by Druids, Saints and Trees? This book helps you to loiter in and understand their world.

Irish Forest


Ogham Tree Alphabet

The Druids used this ancient alphabet o work magic and honor the dead, surrounding each letter with medicinal and spiritual lore. Poets and bards created a secret sign language to describe the letters, each of which is named for a tree or a plant. For centuries this language was transmitted by mouth

Holly Leaves and Berries


Ancient Traditions Observed in Modern Times

Suzanne Stempek Shea in her novel Becoming Finola gives readers a modern example of the use of a holy tree. She describes such a tree, but does not name it, at a modern holy well "Flat stones surrounding the well hold bits and pieces of offerings like gold coins and chains, and smooth pebbles. Petitions and offerings -prayers and pictures sealed in plastic bags, rosaries, medals, packs of cigarettes and a cell phone - festoon the tough shrubby tree growing about three yards from the well."

The best line ever:

St. Colmcille (Columba) allegedly said he "dreaded more the sound of an axe in the oak grove of Derry than all the fears of death and hell."

Berries from Rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia)


Rate this book, if you dare...

On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

See results

Modern Sprite Guarding a Well


Your turn to comment on the book Mystery of Trees - and Druids and Saints!

Honestly, what did you think about this book?

See results

Poulnabrone Dolmen - County Clare, Ireland



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)