Builder and part-time farmer Paddy Mangan, hailing from Oldcastle, Co. Meath, has made a significant contribution to the environment by donating 9,000 saplings across Ireland. Mangan’s motivation stemmed from his observation of the widespread interest in growing native trees, as well as the prevalence of ash dieback in his area. Recognizing the potential loss of ash trees in the future, Mangan began planting trees on his farm five years ago. Over this period, he planted approximately 3,000 trees. To accomplish such a feat, Mangan enlisted the help of his six-year-old daughter, Oonagh, who planted her first tree at the age of three. Oonagh’s passion for planting and Mangan’s desire to secure a brighter future for the next generation inspired him to donate trees. Mangan emphasized the importance of planting native Irish provenance trees to prevent the introduction of diseases that could harm native flora and fauna.
Each year, Mangan donated up to 50 or 60 trees, but due to limited space on his land, he sought alternative methods of distribution. On December 15, he posted a message in a native tree group on Facebook, offering to donate 1,500 trees. The response exceeded his expectations, with an overwhelming number of people expressing interest. Volunteers stepped forward, and with their assistance, Mangan was able to distribute 9,000 trees across the country. The majority of these trees came from Coillte and None-So-Hardy in Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow. The distributed saplings included oak, mountain ash, beech, white thorn, black thorn, crab apple, Scots pine, birch, alder, and hazel.
Looking ahead, Mangan aims to further increase the distribution of trees. He plans to give away 35,000 trees annually, resulting in 250,000 Irish native trees planted by 2030. Mangan intends to plant an additional 15,000 trees before the end of the current season, which typically runs from November to March. Despite being occupied with building, farming, and family responsibilities, Mangan remains committed to his cause. He is also pursuing two higher diploma courses, one focused on traditional building renovation and the other on retrofitting existing buildings.
Mangan firmly believes that anyone can contribute to tree planting, regardless of their circumstances. He asserts that it only takes a minute to plant a tree and encourages individuals with small gardens or vast acres of land to participate. Even apartment dwellers can find opportunities to volunteer and make a difference. Mangan emphasizes the importance of taking action, stating that while the government plays a role, individuals must also shoulder responsibility for combating climate change. He encourages people of all ages, from three-year-olds to eighty-three-year-olds, to engage in tree planting.
Although Mangan’s tree donations are currently non-profit, he expresses openness to future sponsorships or donations from those receiving trees. Mangan can be contacted through his free tree page online.