Rocking around the Christmas trees ♫
Choose/Cut your own Christmas Tree in Wicklow!
By Annette Kelly
Every December, buying our Christmas tree is a major event in the children’s Advent calendar – and all they want for Christmas is a real Christmas tree!
For the first time last year, we decided to make an experience of it. On a friend’s recommendation, we went and picked our own tree at the Enniskerry Christmas Tree Farm, Co Wicklow. The place is a working nursery farm, with a field of Christmas trees, and a view over the Great Sugar Loaf. It has no web presence, no advertising, no signposts even.
The friendly staff showed us down to the plantation, so off we went to look for our tree. In-between chasing games and bouts of hide-and-seek, my husband spotted the one – a Nordmann fir, not too tall, bushy enough, perfect. A few minutes later, two men showed up on a quad, quickly cut it down with a chainsaw, and hoisted it up on their trailer.
When we walked back up to the farm shed, our tree was netted and ready for transport. The three older children proudly carried it into the car, already looking forward to decorating it.
Enniskerry Christmas Tree Farm
Tel. +353 01-2867521
From Enniskerry, take the L1011 signposted for Glencree Reconciliation Centre. Go through the village of Kilmolin and keep driving until you find a small sign for a Pet Cemetery and Nursery. Go up that narrow lane for about 100 metres and it’s the second entrance on the left.
Several Christmas tree farms in Wicklow and around Ireland offer a ‘choose and cut’ option. Visitors can go out among the trees, find their own and have it cut. Purchasing a tree while it is still in the ground makes sense, as it will last longer than one which was pre-cut and shipped to distant garden centres or Christmas shops. It also makes for a great family day out!
If you want to walk around the trees, or better still, cut your own, outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear are a must! Think wellies, gloves and waterproof clothes, and maybe even a thermal flask. As Glenealy Farm‘s James Carroll say, ‘there is a reason you don’t see many lumberjacks in high heels’.
Gleanealy Christmas Tree Farm
Tel. +353 086 8464515
Open 1st–20th December 10am–6pm Monday–Thursday, 10am–7pm Friday, 9am–7pm Saturday–Sunday.
In Glenealy, take the turn towards Ashford in front of the garage. Take an immediate and very sharp left down Chapel Lane. The farm is halfway down the lane on your right.
On the farm run by furniture maker James Carroll and his brothers Dave and Andrew, you can choose and chop your ideal Christmas tree in the forest, or adopt a pre-cut tree from the Christmas barn. On busy days, “Handsome Dave” will help you get your dream fir. Caring for their organic trees by hand, the brothers keep a few Shropshire sheep for weeding (also available for petting!), rather than heavy chemicals.
At the weekends, Coffee Express will be serving coffee, hot chocolate, tea and snacks, while blues and jazz expert Andrew plays Christmas tunes on the grand piano in the barn. The red post box will be back beside the sleigh, to send out those special letters to Santa.
Deirdre, of Dee’s Decorations, will again set up her Christmas shop on the farm, selling holly and handmade decorations for several charities.
Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm
Tel. +353 01-2818489
Open every weekend in December 10am–4.30pm.
The farm is well signposted along the R755, from Roundwood to Laragh.
From Roundwood, take the L1059 signposted for Lough Dan all the way to Oldbridge. At the T-junction, turn left towards Laragh and Glendalough. The farm is a few hundred metres up the hill, on the right-hand side, at the Wicklow Way Lodge B&B.
On his farm located on the side of Scarr Mountain overlooking the Lough Dan valley, sheep farmer Seamus wanted to find a way of keeping around for longer all the things he cared for.
So he thought, ‘how about I grow Christmas trees? They will stay around for more than 10 years and I can really look after them.’ So he decided to plant a field of Christmas trees, and then another, and then another. Thirty years later Seamus and his dog are still planting Christmas trees together.
Take home a Wicklow Mountains Christmas tree this December, and make memories. The farm’s website shows a great video of a baby’s journey into the mountains to find his first Christmas tree.
Parkmore Christmas Tree Farm
tel. +353 087 6616758 (Stephen Cowman) / 086 3227116 (Mathew Hickmott)
Open every weekend in December 11am–4pm.
The farm is well signposted from Roundwood.
Travelling south from Roundwood, take the R764 signposted for Rathdrum. After 1km keep going straight on the L1076, leaving the R764 on the left. Go straight through the staggered crossroad with the R763, following the signs for Rathdrum. After 1.8km, turn left at a fork over a bridge. After 100 metres turn left again to arrive in Moneystown. With the school and the church on the left, turn right at the next fork and the farm entrance is 100 metres on the right.
Make a day of it with your family, bring your wellington boots and gloves and find that perfect tree amongst the thousands of trees on the farm. Staff will cut it, net it and load it for you. All are welcome, dogs included.
Christmas trees have been grown at Parkmore for over twenty years, with the option to choose your own available for the fifth consecutive year. Unusually, they use a special breed of sheep to keep the grass and weeds under control – so you could say their trees are almost organic!
Glencullen Christmas Tree Farm
(beside Johnny Fox’s Pub)
Tel. +353 087 2750678
Open Monday–Friday 11am–6pm, Saturday–Sunday 10am–6pm.
At the highest Christmas tree farm in Ireland, you can walk through the forest to pick your own tree. Once you have decided, wave out to a member of staff, who will put your tree through the netting machine and help you load it into your car. Alternatively, you can choose one of their pre-cut trees.
In the Christmas shed, children (and older kids!) can grab a few sweets. There is also a sleigh and a Santa train, which visitors can use to take their own Christmas photos.
Almost half of Irish households say they will be buying a real Irish Christmas tree this year, with between 350,000 and 400,000 trees expected to be sold throughout the country in the run up to the big day. A survey on behalf of the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association(ICTGA) reveals that 44% of consumers are likely to opt for the real deal this festive season, with the average spend per tree €43.
Families are being encouraged to choose an Irish-grown tree by looking for the Love A Real Tree label which proves the tree was grown by an ICTGA member.
Annette is a blogger exploring Ireland’s great outdoors with four children and a camera. She is French, married to an Irish man, and they live in beautiful county Wicklow.