holidays,  Ireland

Living in Ireland: Festival of Trees

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Before we say goodbye to 2017, I thought I’d share one last holiday-themed post.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed or found the most interesting about living in Ireland is seeing how the locals celebrate the various holidays.

Ireland doesn’t have the Christmas markets that other European countries are famous for, but it does have plenty of other events for locals (and visitors!) to enjoy.

This year a friend invited us to see the Festival of Trees at Christ Church in Bray.

Bray is a cute seaside town south of Dublin. It’s one of the farthest points south that you can live from Dublin and still commute 45 minutes by train into the city center for work.

Christ Church is a protestant church dating back to 1863. The church spire (below) is 175-feet tall and was completed in 1870. Eight bells hang in the spire and are still rung at midnight every New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year.

For this festival, Christ Church set up approximately 40 trees, each decorated by a community group, inside its sanctuary. A Bible verse or hymn corresponded with each tree.

This is what you saw from the back of the sanctuary. It’s a gorgeous building.

I took a few photos to give you an idea of what it was like to be there. I wish you could have smelled the glorious scent of all of those tree! Oh, and please excuse the dim lighting conditions.

Here’s a tree decorated with items pulled out of the recycling bin.

I believe this group was advocating for people do all they can to stop or reverse the effects of climate change.

Here’s a tree made of field hockey sticks, which I thought was clever.

My kids play field hockey on Mondays as part of their school day.

I believe this was a remembrance tree.

There are names of loved ones written on each dove.

This Donald Trump tree was one of the last trees on the tour. It’s labeled the “Golden Fleece Tree” and was decorated by a hair salon.

Donald Trump masks were sold as Halloween costumes at the euro store (like a dollar store) this year. Most people here are either appalled at his rhetoric and/or think he’s a joke.

It was my impression that the tree was not intended to be a compliment.

This is just another reminder to me that our world is much more connected than folks might realize.

The ballerina tree was very pretty.

It looks like Bible verses are written on the tree’s ornaments.

They also had a wishing tree where the kids could write down a wish. My son wished for snow and he did get to see about 5 minutes of snow this year!

There was also a wood cross where people could write prayer requests down on Post-It notes and add them to the “tree.” The notes were over-flowing onto the ground. It was touching to observe.

I’m in awe every time I step foot into a historic church.

Especially from an artistic and architectural standpoint, you can tell these are special places.

It was also neat to see a church opening their doors to the community in this way.

While we enjoy attending the big, spectacular holiday events in Ireland, it’s the smaller community events that have helped me appreciate and understand my neighbors a little better.

By far, the best part about living in Ireland are the Irish people. Their graciousness and ability to see me as an individual and not as a representative of the political or Hollywood version of U.S. values has been humbling and so appreciated.

Happy Travels!

If you are new to Dublin or visiting Dublin, here are some helpful websites to check to see what’s happening in and around the city.   |     Visit Dublin      |     Dublin Town

If you are in the South Dublin area, these websites are helpful.

Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council     |     Bray, Ireland

If you liked this post, here are more posts about visiting Ireland.

The Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands with Kids

Galway with Kids

Our Favorite Irish Castle Tour with Kids

Belfast with Kids

Dublin: Talking Statues

Kissing the Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle

Here are some posts about our expat experience of living in Ireland.

Living in Ireland: Christmas in Retail 2017

Living in Ireland: Storm Ophelia

Living in Ireland: That Time a Tree Came Down

Living in Ireland: Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Living in Ireland: Back After A Month in the United States

Living in Ireland: As Seen On My Commute

Living in Ireland: A Trip to the Hardware Store

Living in Ireland: Spring Flowers In Our Yard

Living in Ireland: Grocery Shopping

Living in Ireland: What to See my Hot Press?

Living in Ireland: Merry Christmas 2016

Living in Ireland: Christmas in Retail

Living in Ireland: Groceries

Moving to Ireland: Grocery Item Look Alikes

Moving to Ireland: Primary School 101

Moving to Ireland: First Week of School

Moving to Ireland: The Great Purge

Moving to Ireland: Human Kindness is Overflowing 

Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #1

Moving to Ireland:  House Viewing #2

Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #3

Moving to Ireland: Temp House First Floor

Moving to Ireland: Temp House Second Floor

Moving Tips to Keep You Sane

My #1 Moving Tip

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