Trinity College Dublin said reluctant goodbye to one of its most well known landmarks this summer. On Sunday August 9th, the Horse-Chestnut tree situated at the Nassau Street entrance to the college was felled because it had contracted a serious fungal disease.
Experts concluded that the infected tree, which for generations had been used as a rendezvous point, posed a danger to the general public and was removed for safety reasons.
The removal was a necessity as nothing more could have been done to save the tree. Trinity’s Facilities Officer Noel McCann said “There are currently six hundred trees on Trinity College’s Campus…We value and care for them all”.
The tree, of the Aesculus variety, was planted in the 1870s and had seen Trinity students come and go for over 130 years. It bore witness to many significant changes in the student body including the admission of women in 1904 and the mainstream attendance of Roman Catholics without dispensation from their Church in 1970.
Over the ages, it had seen changes to the architectural landscape of the University. It was planted in what was originally the Fellow’s Garden in the late 19th century and witnessed the erection of the Arts Block in 1978.
The tree was an easily recognizable object that visitors and tourists used as a reference point. Furthermore, since the advent of the smoking ban in 2004, it had found a new lease in life as a shelter for smokers.
It has been proposed that the empty void left by the Horse-Chestnut tree’s removal be replaced with another tree. A press release from the University Communications Office confirmed “The College’s Grounds and Gardens Committee is currently seeking a suitable replacement tree species for the site”.