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Ardboe Wishing Tree
Ardboe Wishing Tree

Ardboe Wishing Tree 1965


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Ardboe Wishing Tree 1965

3 mins Northern Ireland

What is the truth behind the strange chips embedded in a dead tree? Will it grant you a wish or cure your warts? And at what cost? It is believed that the ‘pin tree’ has been slowly poisoned by the metal hammered into its trunk. Locals also warn that anyone who dares to remove a coin from the tree will become ill. With this in mind and a rock in hand Ulster Television’s intrepid reporter investigates.

Ardboe loosely translated means 'height’ or ‘hill of the cows'. According to local folklore the 15th Century monastery was built from the milk of a magic cow that appeared out of Lough Neagh. Legend has it that after the builders had drunk their fill, the leftover milk and cream from the cow were mixed in with the foundations of the Ardboe High Cross making it not just the tallest high cross in Ulster but the strongest one too. This High Cross is 18ft tall and each of its carved faces tell tales from the Bible. The panels on the east show stories from the Old Testament including Daniel in the lions’ den, while the west face depicts the New Testament starting with the Nativity. This material is Courtesy of the UTV Archive.

Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive is a free public access resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone who has an interest in moving images. Spanning from 1897 to the present day, the films in the Digital Film Archive cover all aspects of life in Northern Ireland and includes everything from dramas to documentaries, newsreels and features, animation to amateur footage.




Cemeteries Coins Desires Rituals Superstitions Social customs Trees 1960s Television news




Northern Ireland



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