At a recent meeting of Ardee branch of the Labour Party, former Ardee Town Councillor Tom Minogue proposed a vote of thanks and congratulations to Uachtaran na hEireann Michael D Higgins, who made that historic state visit to Britain recently.
Tom was this year’s grand marshall in the Ardee St Patrick’s Day Parade, another ceremonious role.
It’s just a few years since President Higgins made a historic visit to Ardee. The town had just won the National Tidy Towns Tree Project Award a few years before and in recognition of this achievement the Tree Council of Ireland decided to launch National Tree Week in the town.
It was a great honour for the mid-Louth town and for the county and President Michael D Higgins paid his first official visit to Ardee and Louth when he officially launched the conservation week.
“This is an award you can be very proud of,” he told the large gathering at the Fair Green that day which included members of Louth County Council, Ardee Town Council, Ardee Tidy Towns, Ardee Active Retirement and the Ardee Business and Traders Group.
President Higgins also congratulated Ardee on becoming Ireland’s first Age-Friendly town.
“You are creating a solidarity between the generations,” he said. And he praised the people of the town for taking a lead in the protection of the environment.
Our president is also a poet and he referred to many poets, Robert Frost, Rainer Maria Rilke, Robert Browning, Lady Gregory and the trees at Coole Park, and also spoke of his own native Clare where the townland takes its name from a native tree.
He said trees are part of our heritage and remind us of our own transient lives.
They are something that should be planted and preserved for they “contribute to our own well-being”.
Eanna Ni Lamhna, President of the Tree Council of Ireland, welcomed the President to Ardee and her own native parish of Stabannon which is just up the road.
She thanked the sponsors of National Tree Week, Bord Bia and Coilte, represented by Seamus Dunne and David Gunning.
She thanked Brendan Matthews and Ardee Tidy Towns, Miriam Clarke, Mary Dunne of Ardee Active Retirement, the children and teachers from the national schools and their hosts Louth County Council management staff who were there. Ruth Kelly sang the national anthem. The Ardee Concert Band were out in force, and, as usual, outstanding and the President planted an oak tree. Great memories of a great day.