Friday, September 12, 2014

Marlay Park Fairy Tree

When I was walking the back trails of Marlay Park, I stumbled upon a very strange tree in the southern end of the park. The first thing I noticed was the little, pointy spires and towers from a large dead stump through some thick brambles.

When I turned the corner, I saw the whole thing.

Marlay Park Fairy Tree
An Inhabited Tree Stump?

As I walked up to the tree, I saw that it was decorated from root to tip with doors, windows, balconies, and walkways. Little towers and steeples poked out of the nubs of old branches. These embellishments went all the way around the trunk and were very detailed.

Fairy Door Marlay Park Fairy Tree Dublin, Ireland
Fairy Door
Fairy Window Fairy Tree Marlay Park Dublin, Ireland
Fairy Window

I also noticed little notes, letters, and wishes addressed to the fairies of the tree. Some were just little well-wishes to the fairies and the animals (?) of the tree, while others were requests asking for specific things like toys, ponies, and little brothers.

A Letter to the Fairies at the Fairy Tree Marlay Park Dublin, Ireland
A Letter to the Fairies

Among the letters were little gifts for the fairies of the tree, baby pacifiers (called soothers) chief among them. Some are pinned to the tree with the notes, but others are scattered among the roots of the old tree, but those leaving them have been careful not to block the doors or windows.

[UPDATE] I heard a theory from @Love_Dundrum on Twitter about the baby soothers...
Fairy Gifts Marlay Park Fairy Tree Dublin, Ireland
Fairy Gifts

I did some searching, and it seems the Fairy Tree was started and is maintained by an art instructor and students at a nearby center for adults with disabilities. They have been caring for and adding on to the Fairy Tree since 2010.

The tree, judging by just one visit, seems to be very popular with the local children and school groups. The notes and gifts were all in good, fresh, and clean condition, so I assume the tree is regularly cleared of letters and toys that pile up and deteriorate in the elements. I admired the fact that a community can take such good care of such a unique landmark.

The tree and its customs are so well known, an Irish company has even started making and selling fairy doors to be installed on trees or other fixtures so any home can have their own magical fairy family move in.

If you make it to Marlay Park, explore the Wicklow Way trail in the south end of the park and you'll find the Fairy Tree... if you're lucky, you just might see a fairy.

Marlay Park Fairy Tree Resident
A Resident Fairy

And for those who need a little guidance...


View Marlay Park Fairy Tree in a larger map


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