About the Arboretum
As well as the impressive buildings on the grounds, UCC is also known for its beautiful campus. The tree collection at UCC has joined some of the leading arboreta in the world after being accredited internationally by Arbnet in 2020. The UCC Arboretum has a collection of approximately 2,500 trees across the campus (c. 42 acres). There are approximately 120 different tree species in the collection. The collection is diverse, ranging from native Irish and British trees to American, Asian, Australian and European specimens. Some of the highlights of the collection include a pair of c. 150-year-old Giant Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens giganteum), the Strawberry Tree (Arbutos unedo), an Irish native, an Irish champion Wing Nut (Pterocarya fraxinifolia); and a variety of mature pine trees, including Scots, Monteray and Bhutan pines. One of the most recent additions to the collection is an iconic Wollemia (Wollemia nobilis).
The UCC Arboretum has its origins in the Queen’s College Cork (QCC) botanic garden which was established by Prof. William Hincks, the first Professor of Natural History at Cork, in 1849. Under the Irish Universities Act (1908), QCC became known as University College Cork. Significant extensions to the university campus and the tree collection have been made since then (particularly in 1880-1881), and it was at this point that many of the most important tree specimens were first planted. The botanic garden and arboretum were, thus, one of the university's earliest teaching, research and outreach tools. Over time, the systematic botanic garden has been removed due to changing teaching methods in botany and plant science, and to facilitate the development of new buildings on the historic campus. Although this is to be regretted from the point of view of the botanic garden, many of the tree specimens have survived throughout the campus, and these are supplemented by specimen trees, which continue to be planted in the President’s Garden, Lower Grounds and other parts of the campus.
Management of the Arboretum
The Arboretum is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Building & Estates Department of UCC. Jack Murphy and his team of gardeners manage the collection across the grounds. The UCC Campus Tree Management Strategy and the Campus Tree Planting Strategy form the basis for how the trees are managed, recognising the environmental, aesthetic, educational and historical importance of the trees in the collection. The tree collection contributes significantly to UCC's Green Campus. In March 2020, University College Cork celebrated ten years since becoming the first University in the world to be awarded a Green Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education.
Dr Barbara Doyle Prestwich, Dr Eoin Lettice (Co-Leads) and Emma Hutchinson (Research Assistant), Irish Tree Explorers Network Project (ITEN)
Jack Murphy and the grounds team from UCC's Buildings and Estates Department