AN imaginative four-day Killarney Celebration of Trees, which includes an attempt to create a world record-breaking tree hug, will take place in the restored Killarney House and Gardens on Friday, May 20.
The tree hug will involve students from local schools in the Killarney area as well as local businesses and visitors.
TV personality and architect Duncan Stewart, who launched the event at the Killarney Plaza Hotel on Monday, praised the timely series of activities to raise awareness of trees.
“We must start to sustainably manage all our natural resources for future development,” he said.
According to organising committee member Carmel Brosnan, the Killarney Celebration of Trees weekend is all about helping people to understand and appreciate the priceless contribution trees make to the quality of everybody’s life.
The mega tree hug will involve Killarney school students as well as local businesses and visitors. Everyone is welcome to participate. Assembly points will be announced on a dedicated website: www.killarneycelebrationoftrees.com
Other tree-related activities will include talks on trees by author and tree expert Thomas Pakenham and award-winning Chelsea Flower Show garden designer Mary Reynolds. Guided walks around Killarney National Park will also take place daily.
The main event on Saturday, May 21 will be a Sound of Wood concert in St Mary’s Church of Ireland, featuring soprano and harpist Marina Cassidy, Killarney School of Music and performers from the Academy of Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.
The newly refurbished Killarney House and Gardens will be the setting for a talk by Duncan Stewart, who produces the Eco Eye TV series, and Fr Sean McDonagh, a leading campaigner on climate change and biodiversity, on Sunday, May 22 which is UN International Day of Biological Diversity.
The weekend will culminate in the creation of the Killarney Declaration on Nature, which local businesses will be asked to sign up to. It aims to embed a mentality of sustainable development in the economic fabric of the Killarney area and encourage eco-tourism.
The weekend is being organised by Just Forests in association with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Killarney National Park, Killarney Tidy Towns, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and the Trustees of Muckross House.
Cinema Killarney will host the Irish cinema premiere of Nature is Speaking, a series of short films, featuring Robert Redford, Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts, on Thursday, May 19.