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A RAG TREE IN THE BOTANIC GARDENS

As you travel around the island of Ireland you may notice from time to time come a tree or bush by the roadside completely covered in rags or scraps of clothing. Such trees are known locally as a ‘rag tree’ or a ‘raggedy bush’. Usually, though not always, the trees are close to Holy Wells, and they are almost hawthorn bushes.

A wish tree is an individual tree, usually distinguished by species, position or appearance, which is used as an object of wishes and offerings. Such trees are identified as possessing a special religious or spiritual value. By tradition, believers make votive offerings in order to gain from that nature spirit, saint or goddess fulfillment of a wish.

The practice of tying pieces of cloth to a wish tree is often directly associated with nearby clootie wells, as they are known in Scotland and Ireland, or "cloutie" or "cloughtie" in Cornwall.


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