It has been occupying the corner of the sitting room for the last number of weeks but now that Christmas is officially over, it’s finally time to take down the real Christmas tree.
But what to do with the tree?
Thankfully, there are plenty of options for recycling your Christmas tree these days, with Local Authorities across the country providing Christmas tree recycling depots, many for free, throughout the month of January.
You can also go to https://repak.ie/for-consumers/facilities-search/ to find out where your nearest tree recycling depot is.
Just remember to remove all decorations, including sticky tape, tinsel or string from the tree before bringing it to the recycling centre, as they may cause a hazard to small animals or birds once the tree is mulched.
Below is just a selection of Christmas tree recycling depots around the country, so please click on www.repak.ie or your local authority’s website for further information.
Christmas Tree Recycling Locations
Cavan - ends January 30th
Recycle your real Christmas tree for free at:
Bailieborough Recycling Centre, Adelaide Row, Shercock Road
Ballyconnell Recycling Centre
Cavan Recycling Centre, Corranure
Cork - ends January 30th:
Christmas trees may be deposited free of charge at any of the Cork City Council sites listed below:
Civic Amenity Recycling Centre, Kinsale Road
Parks Depot, Togher (adjacent to Clasduv Park)
Ballinlough Park (adjacent to Gus Healy Swimming Pool)
Skehard Road (Playground between old Cliffe and Kilbrack Lawn)
Green at junction of Ringmahon Road and Castle Road
Glen Amenity Park
Green at Junction of Murmont Road and Iona Road, Montenotte
Green adjacent to Tinkers Cross Traffic Lights
Green adjacent to Sam Allen Sports Complex, Knockfree Avenue, Gurranabraher
Green in front of new reservoir on Harbour View Road, Knocknaheeny
Parks Depot, Fairhill
Kennedy Park, Victoria Road
Lee Fields at Bottle Bank Site, Carrigrohane Road
Donegal – ends January 16th
Donegal Council has opened its free Christmas tree collection points, where trees can be deposited until January 16th:
Carndonagh, Carndonagh Recycling Centre
Buncrana, Nailors Row Car Park
Moville, Council Chip Depot
Newtowncunningham, Council Chip Depot
Letterkenny, Letterkenny Recycling Centre
Lifford, Council Machinery Yard
Milford, Milford Recycling Centre
Glenties, Council Yard, Gortnamucklagh
Dungloe, Dungloe Recycling Centre
Bunbeg, Council Chip Yard, Coshclady
Falcarragh, Kilult Quarry
Stranorlar, Stranorlar Recycling Centre
Killybegs, Council Yard, Bridge Street
Laghey, Laghey Recycling Centre
Ballyshannon, Council Yard, The Rock
Bundoran, Sea Front Car Park
Dublin City – ends 18th January:
Dublin City Council will accept Christmas trees free of charge until 18th January 2016 at the following locations:
Windmill Road Bring Centre, Crumlin, Dublin 12
Fairview - Clontarf Road, (In front of the football pitches), Dublin 3
Gulistan Terrace Bring Centre, Rathmines, Dublin 6
Albert College Car Park, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Oscar Traynor Road Bring Centre, Coolock, Dublin 5
Mellowes Park Depot, Mellowes Road, Finglas, Dublin 11
Pigeon House Road Recycling Centre, Ringsend, Dublin 4
Beside the Bottle Banks at Walkinstown Green, Dublin 12
Grangegorman, Upper Grangegorman Road, Dublin 7
Sandymount - Sandymount Car park, Strand Road, (opposite Gilford Road), Dublin 4
Collins Ave Bring Centre, (opposite DCU entrance), Dublin 9
Croke Park, Cusack Stand (via St Joseph's Ave.)
Galway County – ends January 15th
Galway County Council is accepting Christmas trees for recycling at the following sites:
Athenry - Public Car Park beside Kenny Park
Ballinasloe - Canal Drive, Ballinasloe
Clifden - Ball Alley, Beach Road
An Cheathrú Rua - Halla Éinne
Gort - Council Yard, Georges St.
Loughrea - Fairgreen, Courthouse Road
Mountbellew - Black Quarry, Mountbellew – Ballinasloe Road
Milltown - Council Yard, Milltown
Oughterard - Car Park, Oughterard
Maigh Cuilinn - Behind the bringbanks on Mountain Road
Portumna - The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna
Tuam - Recycling Centre, Athenry Road
Headford - Council Yard beside Mart
Oranmore - Oranmore Community Centre beside GAA Pitch
Galway City Council will accept Christmas trees for recycling at the following locations until January 8th:
Hunters Depot, Lough Rusheen on the Barna Road
Merlin Woods Depot in Doughiska
You can recycle your Christmas tree at the Transfer Stations around Kerry or North Kerry Landfill for €3.
Kildare – ends January 22nd
Christmas trees can be left at the following locations in Kildare:
Council Nursery Naas road, Newbridge
Council Depot, Leinster St., Maynooth
Clane GAA Club, Prosperous road, Clane
Kill GAA Club
Meeting House Square, Athy
Monread Park, Naas
Limerick – ends January 30th
Household Christmas trees can be brought to any of the three recycling centres in Mungret, Kilmallock or Newcastle West during the month of January 2016 (standard charges apply).
Mayo – ends January 17th
These are the drop-off locations for recycling of Christmas trees in Mayo:
Ballina - Reception area at Rathroeen, Landfill Site, Killala Road,
Ballinrobe - Mayo County Council Area Office, Kilmaine Road.
Ballyhaunis - Beside Bottle Banks in the car-park, Ballyhaunis.
Belmullet - Civic Office Car-Park, Church Road, Belmullet.
Castlebar - Castlebar Area Depot, beside Topoil at Cash & Carry, Moneen.
Claremorris - Thornhill house, (Old Council Office), Killeenfarna
Louisburgh - Car park, Chapel Street, Louisburgh.
Newport - Recycling Centre at Derrinumera Landfill Site
Swinford - Mayo County Council Pound, Kilkelly Road, Swinford.
Westport- Council Depot, Ballinrobe Road, Westport.
Meath – ends January 16th
Christmas trees will be accepted at Navan, Trim and Kells Recycling Centre until Saturday, 16th January, 2016.
Tipperary – until 15th January:
Christmas trees can be dropped off free of charge for recycling at the following locations:
Clonmel Recycling Centre, Carrigeen, Clonmel
Waller’s-Lot Recycling Centre, Cashel
Donohill Recycling Centre, Donohill,
Fair Green Car Park, Carrick- on- Suir
Nenagh Recycling Centre, Nenagh
Roscrea Recycling Centre, Roscrea
Council Depot, Carrigeen Business Park, Tipperary Road, Cahir
Templemore Town Park, Templemore
Bottom of Parnell Street Car Park, Thurles
Natural Christmas trees can be brought free of charge for recycling to:
Kilbarry Civic Amenity Site in Waterford City
Ballinamuck Civic Amenity Site in Dungarvan
Wicklow – ends January 16th
The two recycling centres in Wicklow operating collection points for any discarded Christmas trees are Murrough Recycling Centre, Wicklow town and GreenKing Composting at Coolbeg.
Please check with your local authority or recycling centres for opening hours.
Source: Local Authorities Network
Four sixth class students from a Louth national school presented An Taoiseach with a prize-winning Christmas tree on Friday, 4th December, following their win in the first-ever national ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay-writing competition.
The four award-winning students, from St. Joseph’s Mell National School in Drogheda, Co. Louth, as part of their prize, joined champion grower James O’Toole from Co. Wicklow and Mike Neary of Bord Bia in presenting the ‘2015 Supreme Champion’ Christmas tree to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. at Government Buildings today.
James O’Toole was recently crowned winner of ‘Ireland’s Best Christmas Tree’ for 2015 and grew this year’s ‘Supreme Champion’ Christmas tree, which is over two metres tall and eight years old, on his plantation, Fairwood Christmas Trees, in Carnew, Co. Wicklow.
The four sixth class students; Luka Juraityte (11), Best Akin (11), Antonio Ofodile (12) and Patrick Keane (11) won top prize in the ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay-writing competition for their collaborative essay, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Irish Christmas Tree’.
Speaking at the presentation, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. said: “I’d like to congratulate these four young students who have worked so well together to write their prizewinning essay; showcasing their talents and abilities as well as the key support from both their school and their families. The students wrote so passionately about the importance of a real tree at Christmas and I’m therefore delighted to receive this real Christmas tree, grown in Co. Wicklow. The Irish Christmas tree industry is a significant one, worth €21 million to the Irish economy and, as an indigenous industry, is providing local jobs to local people.”
More than 1,000 fifth and sixth class students from over 40 schools participated in the competition, which was organised by the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA), as part of their ‘Love A Real Tree’ campaign to encourage families to consider a real Irish-grown Christmas tree this year.
Speaking about the ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay competition, Joe Flynn of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association said: “We were truly overwhelmed by the standard of writing and creativity we received from students all over the country. The winning essay, however, stood out as it emphasised how, with the real Irish Christmas tree at the heart, Christmas is a shared experience with family, relations and school friends.”
He added: “Today is just the icing on the cake, with the four winning students coming to Dublin to present the Supreme Champion tree, grown in Wicklow by James O’Toole, to An Taoiseach.”
Mike Neary, Manager of Horticulture, Bord Bia took the opportunity to remind people of the importance of buying a real tree, “The look, the scent and the very feel of a real tree are all part of the Christmas tradition! Growing the perfect tree takes more than planting a tree and hoping for the best. It takes seven to ten years to produce a 2 metre tall tree, and this means year round care for the life of the tree by growers to produce the best tree possible. When you buy a real Christmas tree, carefully grown and cultured locally, there is that extra special knowledge that you are supporting nature and the environment.”
The ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay competition is a national competition, with fifth and sixth class students writing a discussion-type essay entitled “All I Want for Christmas Is A Real Irish Christmas Tree’. As well as the winning students receiving prizes, every participating school across the country will receive a Christmas tree seedling in Spring 2016, with planting and after-care instructions.
There are currently over 5,000 acres of Christmas trees planted in Ireland, with an estimated 550,000 trees expected to be harvested and sold this year. The most popular tree varieties in Ireland are the Nordmann Fir and the Noble Fir.
The total value to the Irish economy is estimated to be €21million with exports to the UK, Holland, Belgium, France and Germany worth an estimated €6million of that.
One in five would choose Mrs. Brown to decorate their real Christmas Tree in 2015
Mrs. Brown of ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’ TV fame is the nation’s favourite celebrity Christmas tree decorator, according to a new survey by the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association.
According to the research*, one in five Irish households would chose the TV sitcom character to help them decorate their real Christmas tree this year. The survey was organised for the ‘Love A Real Tree’ campaign to encourage more families to choose a real Irish-grown Christmas tree this December.
With 21% of the votes overall, Mrs. Brown, played by comedian and BAFTA-winner Brendan O’Carroll, was the clear winner for the role of Christmas tree decorator and was the overwhelming favourite for both men and women.
The ever-popular author and actress, Amy Huberman, clinched the runner-up spot, with one in ten households choosing the mum-of-two to help them decorate their tree.
Her husband, Brian O’Driscoll, went neck and neck with fellow sports star, Roy Keane, in joint third place, while ‘Brooklyn’ actress, Saoirse Ronan tied for fourth place with Bono. Olympic gold medallist, Katie Taylor, was voted fifth in the survey to find Ireland’s celebrity decorator of choice.
The Top ‘Irish Celebrity Christmas Tree Decorators’ for 2015 are:
1st: Mrs. Brown with 21% of votes
2nd: Amy Huberman with 11% of votes
3rd: Roy Keane with 9% of votes tied with Brian O’Driscoll with 9% of votes
4th: Saoirse Ronan with 7% of votes tied with Bono with 7% of votes
5th: Katie Taylor with 6% of votes
When the results are separated by gender, the survey also showed that in the second spot, men were more likely to choose Ireland Assistant Manager, Roy Keane whereas women were more likely to choose Amy Huberman.
Revealing the results of the survey , Joe Flynn of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association said: “Decorating a real Christmas tree is an annual family tradition, cherished by so many Irish households. So when we asked the public who they would like to help them decorate their real tree this year, it came as no surprise that the country’s number one celebrity Christmas tree decorator was Mrs. Brown, one of the most entertaining and popular characters on TV.”
He added: “You could imagine all the family having great festive fun with Mrs. Brown in the house over Christmas. I’m sure that any tree decorated by Agnes Brown would be colourful and memorable - with a personality all of its own!”
As part of the ‘Love A Real Tree’ campaign, Irish Growers also launched a national tree labelling system, with ‘Love A Real Tree’ labels appearing on real trees across the country. The label includes tips on how to care for your tree.
Advice on how to care for a real Irish-grown Christmas tree is also available here. Further information is also available on Facebook/lovearealtree or by searching #lovearealtree on social media.
*Survey by Ignite Research ‘Christmas Tree Research’ June 2015 from sample of 1000 adult respondents in Ireland, through an Online Omnibus Survey. Commissioned by the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association of Ireland.
The sample was quota controlled in terms of gender, age, social class and region, to reflect the actual demographics of the adult population in Ireland.
Four sixth class students from Louth have been crowned winners of the Christmas tree Essay Competition
Four sixth class students from a Drogheda national school have been unveiled as winners of the first ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay-writing competition.
The four students, Luka Juraityte, Best Akin, Antonio Ofodile and Patrick Keane from St. Joseph’s Mell National School in Drogheda, beat the competition from over 40 schools around the country to win top prize with their essay, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Irish Christmas Tree’.
More than 1,000 fifth and sixth class students participated overall in the competition, which was organised by the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA), as part of their ‘Love A Real Tree’ campaign to encourage families to consider a real Irish-grown Christmas tree this year.
The winning students, taught by Ms. Paula Galavan at St. Joseph’s National School, will receive a real Irish-grown Christmas tree for each of their families and one for their school, sponsored by local Christmas Tree Grower, John White of Whites Christmas Trees in Dundalk. The students will also share a cash prize worth €150.
Every participating school across the country will also receive a Christmas tree seedling in Spring 2016, with planting and after-care instructions.
Other Regional winners in the competition include: Brian O'Callaghan, 6th Class, Feenagh National School, Feenagh, Co Limerick; Sean Gallagher, 5th Class, Glanworth National School, Glanworth, Co. Cork; Abby O'Sullivan, 6th Class, Scoil Mhuire na nAingeal National School, Mary St., Clonmel; 5th Class trio, Abbie Ryan, Caoimhe Crotty & Lucy Reilly from Ballymacarbry National School, Ballymacarbry, Co. Waterford and Clodagh Foran and Shauna Whitty from Gusserane National School, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford.
Speaking at the announcement of the winning students, Joe Flynn of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association said: “It is only the first ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay writing competition but we’ve been truly overwhelmed by the standard of writing and creativity we received from the students. A winner had to be picked, however, and the winning essay was well-planned, articulate and emphasised how, with the real Irish Christmas tree at the heart, Christmas is a shared experience with family, relations and school friends.”
John White of Whites Christmas Trees added: “The ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay competition has been a really rewarding initiative for us to be involved in and we’re delighted to be presenting the winning students and St. Joseph’s Mell National School with their real Christmas trees, which have been grown in the locality.”
The ‘Love A Real Tree’ essay competition is a national competition, requiring fifth and sixth class students to write a discussion-type essay entitled “All I Want for Christmas Is A Real Irish Christmas Tree’. Based on research, the essay had to be between 350 and 450 words and explain why they want a real Irish Christmas Tree this year.
As well as being fun, the project aimed to enhance and develop several elements of the Primary School Curriculum, including IT Skills, Environmental Studies, Rural Science, Geography, Enterprise, Education, Geography, Literacy and Numeracy and Science.
Advice on how to care for a real Irish-grown Christmas tree is available here
Further information is also available on Facebook/lovearealtree or by searching #lovearealtree on social media.
We're putting a spotlight on the Growers, so now's your chance to find out a bit more about James O'Toole and how he got started in the tree business back in the 1970s, the sixteen hour working days on the run up to Christmas and his advice on picking a real tree this season.
James, how long have you been in the Christmas tree growing business?
We’re in the tree business since the 1970s. Back then, my father started selling trees in Stillorgan in Dublin and in fact, we’re still in that same site outside the Stillorgan shopping centre each year. As well as that, we also sell to wholesale and out of the farm in Carnew.
Tell us a little bit about your Christmas tree plantation?
We grow about 60 acres of trees, which amounts to 20,000 trees harvested each year. Currently in the ground, we have between 120,000-130,000 trees, both Nordmann Fir and Noble Fir. We really only started planting bigger numbers from 2008. Before that, we were just growing enough for our own site but now that the wholesale business has started to build up, we’ve started to plant more trees.
What are the hours like on the lead up to Christmas?
We work sixteen hour days coming up to Christmas. It’s an early start around 5am in the morning and we work until about 10 or 11 some nights. We keep going until Christmas Eve and then take a well-earned break.
Throughout the year, what work do you carry out?
I do a bit of farming as well. I keep some cattle, but mainly my work is full-time at trees all year around. Would you believe, our busiest month is probably January where we do our pruning - it’s just as busy as December! We do basal pruning first, followed by some side-work (trimming branches along the sides). In June, we do leader control to stop the leaders (top of trees) growing too fast. This is done to make sure that they won’t go off and produce large gaps at the top.
What are the benefits of buying a real tree?
The real tree brings freshness in to the house. It’s also a tradition – we have people visiting our site who bring their children along each year because when they were younger, they associated Christmas with a real tree. It’s great to see them passing the tradition on to their children. As well as that, it’s environmentally friendly.
Top tips for anybody picking a tree this Christmas?
Pick a tidy tree! A tree can look a lot of smaller on site than it does in a house, so remember to gauge your height before you come looking for a tree. Pick a tree that's narrow and full! Definitely get a water stand for it - it's very important! Once you have a water stand, the tree will stay fresh and healthy.
Back in October, James was crowned this year’s Overall Winner of Best Irish Christmas Tree Competition and we asked him how he felt about winning the title…
Great! It’s my first time entering the competition, so it’s brilliant to win both the best Noble Fir and Nordmann Fir categories, as well as being crowned the overall winner.
Irish Christmas tree growers are expecting a bumper crop this year as the 2015 harvest gets underway.