Bill Liao

The most interesting clime-able smooth barked and solid tree with branches so accommodating they sweep down towards the ground and then gracefully arc up again to the sky, almost as if they are to catch you hold you.

In 2002 when I first visited Ireland I took a little time out after flying in and decided to do a little tour of Cork to see the old Gaol and the science park. I wanted to rest a bit and to settle myself for the onward journey. I do not know what had me drift around the city in my rental car and I was lost several times ending up in a dead end road, whose name I never noticed. Beside me I saw a leafy green park and feeling a mite stressed decided so stop for lunch. Having bought a rather excellent sandwich I wandered and was immediately struck by the sight of this amazing tree. I was captivated and being a both a tree hugger and climber set about finding a handy bough.

I spent several hours marveling and sitting in the crook of the welcoming branch I had discovered and after eating my leisurely sandwich I took a brief nap right there before driving on to Limerick and reentering the hectic business world that so consumed me at the time. In those few hours though I had found a place of welcoming calm which touched me. I have many times reflected on that as I meditate. So calming was the presence that even the abominable traffic on the pre-motorway roads to Limerick failed to daunt me.

Years later, after moving to West Cork, I searched in vain for the magnificent tree I had seen on my initial visit and in my mind’s eye so often since. I wanted my young children to share in its presence and to climb into its welcoming branches.  After many attempts I gave up hope of rediscovery.  Then, one random summer evening this year, my good friend Sean Moran suggested we go walking along the river as he wanted to show me his favorite park.   Lo and behold – as the saying goes – there was my magnificent tree in all its welcoming glory. It is remarkable too that days later I was contacted about this very endeavor that you are now reading and was thus able to indeed offer a tree with which I have a special connection to Cork, Ireland and a little place in my soul.

(P.S. In this photo Bill is accompanied by his daughter Willow).


Australian entrepreneur, venture capital investor, diplomat, author and speaker with a distinguished record in the areas of business, development and community activism, Bill is co-founder of the CoderDojo movement and Founder of Weforest and is the European venture partner for SOSventures a $200m international investment fund.