Woodland on Oulart Hill – Coillte ’98
This is a piece taken from Coillte’s own website (http://www.coillte.ie/index.php?id=255) which gives some background to the woodland on Oulart Hill.
“Coillte ’98 – A New Wood for Oulart Hill
In January 2001, Coillte was approached by Brian O’ Cleirigh, Chairman of Tulach a’ tSolais, to see if we would be involved in the formation of a Memorial Park on Oulart Hill. Coillte were very interested and so a meeting was convened between Coillte Management, Brian O’Cleirigh and Minister Hugh Byrne T.D. to see what arrangements could be made to bring this project to fruition.
The outcome was that Coillte agreed to design a woodland park which would represent the aspirations of the local historical group Oulart Hill Co-op.
Coillte has owned a twelve hectare conifer forest on Oulart Hill since 1952 and the new project – to be known as Coillte ’98 was designed to bring colour and variety to the hill and significantly enhance its commemorative and amenity status.
In this unique memorial to 1798, the actual location of the first battle of the 1798 Uprising, a forest of broadleaf trees replaced the conifers. The new forest will focus on the nation’s children, especially those born in 1998, and will include an acknowledgement of the roles of Australia, Canada, France and the United States in 1798.
One section of forest each is dedicated to the children of Wexford, Wicklow, Dublin, Carlow, Kildare and Meath, and a section each for those of the rest of Leinster, for Munster, Connacht and Ulster.
One special block is dedicated to the children of the host parish of Oulart itself, particularly those born in 1998. The name Oulart, which comes from the Irish word ‘abhallghort’ meaning orchard, is reflected in a border of crab-apple which grows wild on the hill. Each of the woods, which vary in size from 0.2ha up to 1.2ha, are planted with different species of broadleaves e.g. oak, beech, maple, ash, wild cherry and, eucalyptus to represent Australia.
It was decided at the outset that the trees will not equate numerically with the babies born in the individual counties. There were for instance 1613 births to County Wexford domiciled mothers in 1998, but it was decided to plant a greater number of trees than this rather than a specific tree for each child. Thus each block will notionally reflect both each and every birth in the area to which it relates. So, in time to come, any young person may go there and know that he or she is represented in the wood of his or her place of birth.
In order to present the design of the woods in a way that would be both visually attractive and informative, a sign was commissioned from Coillte’s Sawmill in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary.
In keeping with all the other elements on Oulart Hill, Coillte ’98 reflects a comprehensive view of 1798 which looks to the future with a confidence rooted in the deeds of our forbears. When fully finished, this project will have proper paths, signage, and picnic places and with its unique Fr. Murphy’s Well (where Fr. Murphy of Boolavogue is reputed to have washed his wounds after the battle).