There's nothing spiritual about vandalising trees

A DRIVE to see Co Waterford's fabulous Mahon Falls last Sunday left me wondering if people are aware of the difference between spirituality and superstition.

We took our youngest daughter Becca (7) to see the 80-metre waterfall in the Comeragh Mountains because on a windy day the walk and sights are literally breathtaking.

After gazing in wonder, and later tucking into our picnic in the car, we were driving away when I ordered a halt, stormed across the road and took a photo of a young hawthorn covered in rubbish. I've written in the past about the threat posed to the 'fairy trees' at the ancient Hill of Tara, which were being 'suffocated with heavy rubbish' by wish-makers.Two years ago, a campaign had to be launched to plead with people to stop tying hairbands, plastic and even handcuffs to two hawthorns at the seat of the high kings of Ireland.

My Comeragh snap shows a sapling adorned with compact discs, car air fresheners, a baby's teething toy, rags, hankies, scrunchies, odd gloves and even a golf ball. This is a young tree that has managed to take root and survive in a harsh climate, unprotected from winds, rain and freezing or scorching temperatures.

Surely, it deserves more respect.

Traditionally, people would have tied biodegradable ribbons or strips of cloth to wishing trees to send appeals to saints or local fairy folk. However, I'd argue that today's practice has nothing to do with spirituality or one-ness with nature and more to do with superstitious, thoughtless vandalism.


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