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Which will you root for as Northern Ireland's Tree of the Year?

The Weeping Ash has been standing proud on Bangor’s Main Street for the best part of 200 years. Picture by Michael Cooper, WTML/PA Wire
Andrew Madden

SIX of Northern Ireland’s most famous trees have been shortlisted for the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year Competition, so the question is: which one are you rooting for?

One nominee sits in the grounds of the Belfast City Hospital and has a fascinating connection to ancient Greece.

The Erskine House Tree is a descendent of the Greek 'Plane Tree of Kos,' under whose shade Hippocrates, the father of medicine, reputedly taught in 500 BC.

Another contender, The Weeping Ash has been standing proud on Bangor’s Main Street for the best part of 200 years.

Planted outside the Bangor First Presbyterian Church in 1840, the tree was nearly removed to make way for a war memorial in the 1920s. That was before the church’s congregation got wind of the plans and ensured the tree’s survival.

According to local legend, the next entry has its roots in the story of a sailor in the Spanish Armada who was shipwrecked on the south Antrim coast in the late 1500s. He was found washed up on the beach below Carncastle and buried in the churchyard.

In his pocket were seeds of his native sweet chestnut and, after his death, a triumphant tree sprouted from his grave. Duly named The Armada Tree, the ancient chestnut stands in the grounds of St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Carncastle, Co Antrim.

The next entry is The College Tree, situated in the grounds of Foyle College.

The College Tree, Derry. Picture by Michael Cooper/WTML/PA 

The cut-leaved hornbeam was planted as part of the impressive landscaped grounds of the nearby Duncreggan House some 150 years ago.

In Newry, Co Down, a weeping canopy hides the centuries-old hollowed trunk of a tree in the Pauper’s Graveyard.

 The Weeping Tree, Newry. Picture by Michael Cooper/WTML/PA 

The Weeping Tree stands on the burial site of more than 2,000 people who died in the local workhouse.

Finally, a tale of jealousy is at the heart of the origin of The Bicycle Tree in Lisnarick, Co Fermanagh.

 The Bicycle Tree Lisnarick. Picture by Michael Cooper/WTML/PA 

The horse chestnut that stands on the village green is said to have gotten its name from the story of a young lad who noticed a stranger's bike leaning against the tree outside the cottage of the girl he had eyes for.

Aghast at the competition, the boy nailed the bike high in the tree, where it stayed for several weeks before being retrieved in the dead of night.

To vote for a tree in the Tree of the Year contest, visit woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear

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