Corravahan’s great Cedar of Lebanon

corr sth IMGP4930The 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.

Cedar tree nr flower garden c1883  “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.

cropped south elevation from gardens Corravahan B&W c.1910 with HKL & familyThe 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). crop south elevation Corravahan 1963 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.

Cedar of Lebanon-Corravahan-May 2017_20170505_124754The 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.

Cedar of Lebanon- Corravahan-January 2018_20180129_121559January 2018

Cedar of Lebanon- Corravahan-January 2018_20180129_121340The fallen branches

Cedar of Lebanon- Corravahan-January 2018_20180104_120600Bailey contemplates the damage

Cedar of Lebanon- Corravahan-January 2018_20180104_120133The 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