The Ardboe Wishing Tree

The Ardboe Wishing Tree

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03min 32sec





black and white


Digitised as part of the BFI's Unlocking Film Heritage project


British Film Institute, UTV

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Graveyards tell strange stories and this one is no exception. From magic cows to wishing trees discover what lies in the Ardboe graveyard. 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.


Broadcaster: UTV

Programme: Parade

Presenter: Charles Witherspoon



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