Cork community plants trees for those who died during pandemic
Glasheen event was an ‘emotional’ and ‘uplifting’ experience for elderly residents
Cork City Council worker Paul O’Donovan and local residents Aodhan Quinlan and Ger Stack plant trees on the school path in Glasheen in memory of residents who have passed away this past year. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision
It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter, but one Cork community has brought a little sunshine into the lives of some of its oldest members with a special tree-planting ceremony to remember all who died during the Covid lockdown.
Magazine Road Residents’ Association, which last summer campaigned against Covid-19 lockdown parties in rented houses around University College Cork, took to the streets again on Wednesday – this time not to protest but to plant trees.
Catherine Clancy, the association’s chairperson, explained that the tree-planting ceremony on the school path in Glasheen was designed to remember all those from the community who died in the past year or so.
“We planted a total of eight trees today, two cherries, two apples, two hollies and two hazels, which we got from Cork City Council and we got great support from the council’s parks department, which helped us with the planting.
“We dedicated three of the trees to three members of our community who passed away – Paddy O’Sullivan, Dan O’Rourke and Bill Murphy – who were all well-known and popular members of our local community.
“So they are remembered by three of the trees but the area where we planted them is the school path, so another tree is dedicated to all the boys and girls who went to Glasheen Primary School over the years,” she said.
Ms Clancy added that while none of the trees are specifically dedicated to people who died from Covid, they do mark the extraordinary year it has been for families whose grieving for loved ones was curtailed by Covid-19 restrictions.
“It’s been a very difficult year for families who have lost someone, with so few people being able to attend the funerals, so this was a nice way of marking the passing of those who were significant members of our community whom we all loved,” she said.
“A lot of the people who attended today were elderly and they were delighted to be getting out and involved in something like this so it was very emotional – it was a lovely event and very uplifting after the year we’ve all had.”