RESIDENTS of the Glebe in Letterkenny have reacted furiously after a beloved tree was chopped down without warning.
The century-old chestnut tree was felled some time between Friday evening and Saturday last. It is not yet clear who was behind its removal.
Donegal County Council has confirmed it has received complaints about the incident and is investigating.
Known simply as ‘the tree on the corner’, the shrub’s demise has sparked an angry response from local people, many of whom grew up in its shadow.
Several residents and former residents, some of them now living overseas, have taken to social media to recall gathering conkers, climbing its branches and sheltering under it from the rain.
So highly regarded was the tree on the corner that when laying footpaths in the area, builders opted to work around it and incorporate it into the local landscape rather than produce the axe.
Earlier this week a poem was placed on the remaining stump, lamenting the loss of the famous greenery.
It concludes with the line ‘Nobody knew, but to us you were the tree on the corner that deserved a place among us for another hundred years’.
Local resident Ted McLaughlin has lived in the Glebe for over 40 years. He described the tree as being ‘wantonly cut down’.
Mr McLaughlin said a site adjacent to where the tree stood has been bought recently by an English businessman and that a team of contractors had recently started clearing local grassland.
“This chestnut tree was on the corner with the footpath around it. It was over 100-years-old and they wantonly cut it down.
“I was out for a walk on Saturday and I passed and the tree was flattened. I was raging and I know a lot of the neighbours feel the same,” Mr McLaughlin said.
Another resident, Trevor Gordon, said his children cried on learning that the tree on the corner was no more.
“It was a bit of a landmark where children would have went to collect conkers. People just knew it as the tree on the corner.
“Guys were clearing a scrub of land and no one passed much remarks until people came out and discovered it was gone.
“I’ve only lived there for four or five years but my children were very upset when they learnt it had been chopped down and I know there is a huge amount of upset in the area.”
Mr Gordon added that the question now was why the 100-year-old tree was felled.
“What was the point in taking down this beautiful old tree? It was healthy, it wasn’t rotten and there was no danger of it falling down.
“Ultimately nothing much can be done and as far as I know no statutes have been broken but it’s sad and people are devastated by what has happened.”
Writing on Facebook, a third resident, Bernie Frain added, “It is a long time since I felt as sad. You don’t realise the impact something has on you until it is gone. Our children met here, climbed the branches, had picnics, sheltered from the rain. Beautiful sacred memories in a special place.”
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said it has been contacted by local people and that it is looking into the incident.
“Donegal County Council can confirm that complaints were received in relation to this matter and Council staff are examining this matter.”
The Donegal News did attempt to speak to the contractor understood to be involved in a building project in the area about the cutting down of the tree however at the time of going to press no response had been received.
The Tree at the Corner
Forgive them for what they have done to you
Forgive us for not caring enough and watching over you
Now you are gone we are all talking
Some would say a little too late
Memories come flooding back of days spent together
Walking our grandchildren we would say, just a few steps more until we reach the tree at the corner
You sheltered us from rain, you sheltered us from storm
You sheltered us from rays of sunshine
You let us rest when we were weary, you never asked for more
You were getting old, some would say a hundred years
We should have kept a closer watch on you, as we knew you were getting old
Nobody knew but to us you were the tree on the corner
That deserved a place among us for another hundred years