Killarney tree celebration aims for record tree hug 


An imaginative four-day ‘Killarney Celebration of Trees’ event which will run from Thursday, May 19 to Sunday, May 22 2016, will include an attempt to create a world record-breaking tree hug in the restored Killarney House and Gardens on Friday 20th May 2016.

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, 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.

“The Killarney Celebration of Trees weekend is all about helping people to understand and appreciate the priceless contribution trees make to the quality of all our lives,” Carmel Brosnan of the organising committee said.

The mega Tree Hug takes place on Friday 20 May. It 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:

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 – the States oldest National Park, will also take place daily.

The main event on Saturday, May 21st, will be the ‘Sound of Wood’ concert in St. Mary’s ‘church of the sloes’(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 is 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 22nd  – 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.The declaration aims to embed a mentality of sustainable development in the economic fabric of the Killarney area and encourage eco- tourism.

“I am delighted to launch this timely series of activities to raise awareness of trees and I would encourage all economic interests in the greater Killarney area to adopt the ‘Killarney Declaration on Nature’ as a means of ensuring sustainable development and quality eco-tourism for future generations.” stated Duncan Stewart.

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 19th.

Natalie Omudson, communications officer of New York-based nature conservation organisation stated that, “Conservation International is delighted to cooperate with Just Forests for the Irish Cinema Premiere in CinemaKILLARNEY of our award-winning short film series Nature is Speakingat the Killarney Celebration of Trees.”

Tom Roche of the organizing committee stated that, “The “Nature Is Speaking” films are CI’s invitation to the human race to listen to nature. Nature’s message to humanity is simple: Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature. CI’s goal is that these films will help spark an international conversation. The best way to start a conversation is with a provocative statement. We want the “Nature Is Speaking” films to serve as a wake-up call — nature’s message must be heard now.”

Killarney Public Library is the venue for Just Forests very popular development education exhibition Wood of Life, which makes ‘local and global’ links on Ireland’s reliance on tropical forests.

Killarney Outlet Centre will host a fascinating exhibition of the world’s most commercial timbers. The ‘World Timber Collection’ consists of 850 wood samples from all over the world (with their original hand-written labels) and was developed by Viscount Powerscourt in 1930 and this will be the first time the collection has been on public display for many years.

For further information on all events and how you can register for the tree hug please visit the dedicated website at:


FROM: Just Forests

CONTACT: Tom Roche – Mobile: 086 8049389

Photo L to R: Pat Dawson, Regional Manager Killarney National Park –  Duncan Stewart, Architect and Produced ECO Eye – Tom Roche, Just Forests – Carmel Brosnan, Killarney Celebration of Trees Management Team – Johnnu McGuire, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.

Links to Media Reports: Killarney Advertiser