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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

South Armagh woodland helps to remember and celebrate loved ones

Maggie Finnegan

The grieving process is something most of us go through in our lifetime.

In the south Armagh village of Silverbridge, a 16-acre woodland has been planted which allows people to dedicate a tree to a loved one who has passed away.

Brian’s Wood was recently named the Northern Ireland project of the year by the National Lottery.

So far, about 15,000 trees have been planted and a growing number are being dedicated.

“It’s called Brian’s Wood because the farm here belonged to my mother’s family,” said Maggie Finnegan.

“There were two boys in the family and they both died when they were infants – and they were both called Brian, which was common in the 1930s and 1940s.”

Brian's Wood

The wood allows people to remember and celebrate those they have lost, while spending time in nature in a scenic rural area.

“You’re planting something in memory of your loved one,” Ms Finnegan said.

She said Brian’s Wood was an amenity that people from the locality in particular could enjoy.

“But then we’ve people from all over,” she said.

Bernie Muckian

Indicating a nearby plaque, she added: “This particular tree is a lady from Texas.”

Bernie Muckian lost her mother, Eileen McCormack, during the summer. Her father died 13 years ago.

“But bereavement and grieving is a different process for everybody. I feel I’m probably just dealing with my dad’s bereavement now, really, after my mother passed,” she said.

“My dad always had apple trees so I have chosen an apple tree in his memory – and having a memory tree here in Brian’s Wood is such a special moment for me.”

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