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The Midland Tribune – Birr to Host New National Forestry Show Next Weekend

Thursday, 5 May 2011

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Birr will play host to a brand new event on the calendar, the Irish Forestry, Woodland and Bio Energy show over two days next weekend.

The new national forestry event kicks off this Friday May 6th and Saturday May 7th at Birr Castle Estate. Minister of State for Forestry, Shane McEntee is formally to open the show at 12.30p.m. on Friday 6 May. The show is open from 9.30a.m. to 5.30p.m. each day.

The car parking is free and right next to the show and the tickets are €15 for adults (€10 for students/OAPs) and free for children (who have to be accompanied).

The show site is most attractive, compact and easy to get about.

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Andrew Evans of The Gwynedd Axemen

Andrew Evans of the Gwynedd Axemen, who will be giving demonstrations at the Forestry Show in Birr Castle next weekend.

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‘The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the best time is now.’ – Old Chinese proverb; they are always right!

The show has an interestingly broad appeal. It will suit keen gardeners, amateur growers, lovers of big shiny machines as well as the hard core industrialist, or even visitors simply wishing to enjoy scenic – and educational! – walks through the spring time woodlands of the Birr Castle Estate.

There are specialist crafts and products such as woodturning, wildflower seeds, hedge laying, exquisitely carved Celtic sticks, hurleys and split log furniture and a reasonably new household name and inspiring success story, Bunbury Boards. Handcrafted from the finest Irish hardwood and sourced from sustainable forest, each board is individually stamped and coded so that you can check on their website from which tree it was made and importantly, what has been done to replace that specific tree! As the Irish Times commented – ‘a board with a back story’; theirs was from a tree blown down in a storm. Bunbury Boards are William Bunbury’s successful attempt to breathe new life into the woodlands of Lisnavagh in Co Carlow; his ethos dovetails with that of the show.

The show naturally has a strong ‘eco’ emphasis and will appeal to both fervent and somewhat vague environmentalists! Most, if not all, exhibitors have a strategy that encompasses sustainability, conservation and environmental awareness – that is their foundation. Sustainability is a strong flavour running through the show. An extreme or poetic example of such bias are the Trojan horse loggers demonstrating the natural way to work woodland and combining a traditional heritage skill with sustainable forest management. The economical selective thinning and low environmental impact may be particularly suitable for small, wet, steep or rough plantations. Tom Nixon and his immense Ardennes stallion and mare will be working in the forests and appearing daily in the demo arena.

For most however, the embracing of the ‘eco’ strategy involves a fine balancing of environmental protection as against cold cost figures; sometimes there is an easy synthesis of the goals, sometimes not.