It is with great regret that we have received the sad news of the peaceful passing over of our Great friend, Father, family man, tireless community worker, tree and nature lover, Woodland League Director and long time supporter. Ken Doyle RIP (1951 to 2017). We wish to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and express our gratitude for his efforts on behalf of trees and communities.
When the Woodland League was being formed a conversation occurred around the word co-operation and why it was sometimes shown broken with a hyphen, reflecting how the word and meaning was corrupted today, giving the impression of being co-opted into something as opposed to being an integral part of something greater than ourselves. The latter is how Ken Doyle lived.
Looking at the word, and it’s association with the tree, it appeared related to the coopers work of crafting wooden barrels and perhaps this is the actual root of the word cooperation. Reminding us of how much trees and forests influence our thoughts and are embedded in our language. The conversation then turned to the ancient Irish analogy of a wooden barrel being strong in the hoop, the hoop being community and strong upright leaders being referred to as, “Staves of the Barrel”. To finish we discussed the aims and objectives of The Woodland League, and of how the restoration of our Native Forests is directly linked to Restoring Community.
This calls to mind the Fifteenth century poem by Tadhg Dall Ó Huiginn, of Sligo, (1550-1591) one of Ireland’s greatest bardic poets and we quote these lines below, translated, from one of his poem’s written for his deceased brother.
Poetry is daunted,
A stave of the barrel is smashed,
And the wall of learning broken.
Ken Doyle was a Stave in his family, community, and within the Woodland League, promoting our message over many years and always ready to help out, a true gentleman, who spent his last three years working tirelessly with disadvantaged elderly people in a project, called, “Golden Years”, run by the Darndale Community Centre, in North county Dublin, where he was loved and cherished. During this time, Ken also played a key part in promoting, The Woodland League, “Forest in a Box”, native trees project for national schools in Dublin.
We say farewell for now, with this beautiful and appropriate contemporary poem, which reflects his life, knowing Ken’s love for the trees, knowing he too was “Always There”, in his authentic way, may his heaven be a vast Forest in the Sky.
Slan Leat, a Chara go Mór
Lessons Learned from Trees
You grow from seed One sprout to Heaven, a central Sun Another Root into the Earth, to find your place, and Nourishment. An anchor to the ground of being You. A silent alchemy, birthed into life. You lengthen up your spine Always reaching – up, up, up, Spreading out your branches.
If we could film your growth Over hundreds of years and fast forward through the images Your form is that of a Dance. Ever so graceful, dedicated, Slow.
Life comes to You. Birds Sing in your Branches. Joy in the living altitude of You. And in turn you hold the earth below in place; Binding together, deepening your contact.
One so still knows where they are. Your greatness is grown out of Stillness. A guide to others. Many seek refuge in your cover and your shade. Younger trees grow in your furrows, you are mentor and friend. Seeds brought on the wing, the air that breathes out from your heart To nourish ours.
Standing tall through every storm. You sway in gales Yet we can trust in one so steadfast, You are always – There. Stood fast upon the root that binds your form between heaven and earth. The greater you become The deeper so your roots must grow; Ever reaching up to heaven Ever deepening your connection into Earth; Into the dirt that was your first Cradle And Now, You Blossom into Seed And wear your Crown.
By Sharon Ni Cuilibin 2015