The Wishing Tree

On the road out of Ardboe in Co Tyrone down towards Loch Neagh on a sharp right-hand bend, headstones are planted around a ruined church once a monastery. Views over the lough are awesome. At the entrance to the cemetery stands an impressive 10th century High Cross and behind it the site of the ‘Pin Tree’ that blew down on Christmas Eve 1997. It had been poisoned by myriad metallic objects hammered into its ‘wishing tree’ trunk. Heaney was thinking about his wife Marie’s mother Eileen Devlin (the wishing tree that died) when he wrote the piece though he never names her. The Devlin family home was little more than two miles away from the cemetery. Eileen and Tommy Devlin […]