Trees in Celtic Mythology

Trees were hugely significant to the ancient Celts. They believed different kinds of trees served different mystical purposes that helped them through their lives.
Trees in Celtic Mythology. Image copyright Ireland Calling


Celtic Tree CalendarCeltic Tree Calendar


Based on the ogham alphabet and its association with trees.


alder-menuThe Alder Tree


Druids believed the Alder tree symbolised the balance between male and female.


apple tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Apple Tree


Appears in several stories in myths and legends in many cultures. In Celtic mythology it is a symbol of youthfulness and rebirth.


Ash Tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Ash Tree


The ancient Irish believed the Ash tree had healing qualities and saw it as one of a trilogy of sacred trees, along with the Oak and the Hawthorn.


Aspen tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Aspen Tree


It was believed to have the power to communicate with the next world. The Celts also believed that the wood from the tree would protect them from spiritual harm.


Birch Tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Birch Tree


The Celts believed the Birch tree had the power to purify and also protect them from spirits and evil fairies.


Blackthorn tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Blackthorn Tree


There was a sinister mythology around the blackthorn tree. It was connected to witches and the goddess of winter.


Elder tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Elder Tree


Sacred to the Celts and they believed it protected them from evil spirits. However, the Christians took a very different view.


menu-gorseThe Gorse Tree


The Celts believed that the Gorse tree was a symbol of love and fertility.


Hawthorn tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Hawthorn Tree


The Celts believed it was bad luck to cut the branches of a hawthorn tree as it would disturb the fairies. However, in Britain and other parts of Europe it was associated with love.


hazel tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Hazel Tree


Sacred to ancient Celts and it was punishable by death to chop one down. The Romans and Greeks associated it with intelligence.


Heather tree Ireland CallingThe Heather Tree


Covered the hills of Ireland with purple and white colours. It had many practical uses for the Celts and also mystical qualities.


Holly tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Holly Tree


Has played a key role in many cultures. Druids believed it had protective qualities while Christians believe it was part of Jesus’ crown of thorns.


Ivy tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Ivy Tree


Seen by many cultures as an enemy of the vine tree. The Irish believed it protected them from evil.


Mistletoe. Image Copyright - Ireland CallingMistletoe


The Christmas plant was a considered sacred by the druids and was thought to ward off evil, restore health and bestow fertility.


Oak tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Oak Tree


Has always been used for building things due to its strength. It was also thought to be associated with thunder and lightning.


Reed tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Reed Tree


Very important in Celtic folklore. It is thought to be an introduction to the Ogham calendar and was used by Druid scholars for writing equipment.


Rowan tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Rowan Tree


Very sacred to the Druid Celts. They believed it symbolised death and buried it with their dead to protect them from evil spirits.


Scots Pine tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Scots Pine Tree


One of the oldest tree species in existence. It symbolises many things including; eternal life, fertility, prosperity and vitality.


Vine tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Vine Tree


Introduced to Ireland by the Romans. The Irish later built vineyards wherever they went in the world.

Sykes Irish cottages

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Willow tree Ireland CallingThe Willow Tree


The Druids used to say that the universe was hatched from two eggs that were nested in the Willow tree. It is a key element of the mythology of a number of cultures.


Yew tree copyright Ireland CallingThe Yew Tree


Associated with longevity and resurrection. It was revered by both the Druids and the Christians.

Celtic MythologyMore on Celtic myths and legends

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