A Missing Landmark !
A whole new generation of Kilmurry people have grown up without realising that the focal point for many of their ancestors is no longer there. That focal point was the big horse-chestnut tree just across from the forge at the cross. Many is the tale and secret that tree could tell! It was used as a meeting place for all kinds of people at all times of the day or night. People used it to advertise dances and concerts for miles around; others used it as the starting post for their various journeys by “shank’s mare”, bicycle or “rubber Jennet”.
Politicians used it as a billboard to promote their various candidates. Many famous names were pinned to it. Big and all as it was, some people failed to spot the tree until it was too late. These people were usually travelling by car from Kilkishen under the influence of some beverage or other! Emigrants who travelled to Australia and America used tell their offspring of Kilmurry’s famous tree and many of their sons and daughters came to see it for themselves in later years.
But modern progress decreed that the tree should go. In order to allow more room for the motor car, the County Council decided that it had to be knocked. Despite some strong local protests, the impressive landmark was brought down, and now no obvious trace of it remains. However, it will remain on in the memory of those who had the pleasure of spending some time “under its spreading chestnut leaves”.
The Big Tree in Kilmurry
By John Joe Walsh
I stood on the roadway one evening,
To watch the sun sink in the west,
And my mind it filled with sweet memories
Of that dear place that! love the best.
I thought of the days of my childhood
When I had not a care nor a worry,
With my friends I played at the crossroads
‘Neath the horse chestnut tree in Kilmurry.
We would gather every evening
‘Neath the Big Tree at the cross,
The boys playing marbles
and the men playing pitch and toss.
And these blithe and comely girls
In our hearts they caused a flurry,
As they sang and laughed and danced
‘Beneath the Big Tree in Kilmurry.
The birds would build their nests there,
In its branches stout and green
And its leaves afforded shelter
From the sunshine or the rain.
And once it was reported
That should you salute that tree
You’d be sure to get an answer
Whatever time ‘twould be.
It’s gone now, yes the tree is gone,
The tree we can’t replace,
Cut down in the name of progress
In this never ending race.
To open up the roadway.
For the bustle and the hurry
There are nothing left but memories
Of the Big Tree in Kilmurry.