The Cedar of Lebanon – possibly planted at Corravahan in 1728
Corravahan House, Co. Cavan, was built in 1840, replacing an earlier parsonage. The house is surrounded by the remains of its nineteenth-century gardens, although some elements are much older. We believe that our cedar tree is upwards of 300 years old. It is mentioned by Charles Robert Leslie in the 1870s, in his diaries -“I sat out under the cedar tree”- indicating that it was already a significant landmark in the garden, a mature specimen upwards of 100 years old.
“The cedar tree near the flower garden” 1883
This suggests that it may have been part of the planting for the Parsonage garden of c. 1728, when, more than likely, it was imported as a sapling with several years of growth. A typical 10-year-old specimen would be around 6 metres tall; after 40 to 70 years, it might reach 12 to 18 metres. But these trees grow very large, up to a maximum height of about 23 to 37 metres, with a 24 to 40 metre spread.
The cedar dominates the flower garden, c. 1910
Our cedar was once much taller than now; during a severe storm that ravaged the northwest of Ireland on September 16th 1961 (“Hurricane Debbie“), the top of the tree blew off and brushed against the house! (written May 2017). Corravahan 1963
It is in the nature of these great cedars, that they shed large limbs; then they put their energy into re-growing in a different direction, so that after several decades they are once again full in stature.
The cedar stands over the lawns, May 2017
Ironically, just eight months after the foregoing piece was penned, “Storm Eleanor”, on the evening of January 3rd 2018, has devastated the Cedar once again, with a severe north-westerly gust removing a 20-foot section from its crown, along with a number of lower branches.
Bailey contemplates the damage
The damaged cedar, January 2018
The cedar will undoubtedly survive; with some judicicious surgery to the affected limbs, the tree will recover and re-grow, for the enjoyment of future generations.
(C) Ian Elliott 2018 www.corravahan.com