Belfast Telegraph

Harry Potter link to Narnia Santa trail in Glenarm

By Mandi Millar

Harry Potter might be zapping them in at the box office with his latest offering, but an ancient Co Antrim tree could put a real spell on you this Christmas.

The mystical yew circle at Glenarm Castle, the centrepiece of its festive Narnia-themed Santa trail this year, is one of the oldest in Ireland and tradition has it that the best wands could be made from its timbers.

In video: the Narnia-themed Santa trail at Glenarm

“Yew trees are an ancient native Irish tree and their history extends back into folklore when the fairy folk were said to have carved wands from their branches,” said Adrian Morrow, manager of Antrim Estates, the castle’s farming business.

Glenarm’s yew is reckoned to be over 350-years-old, planted at a time when suspected witches were still routinely burned in Ireland, but this year it’s getting an entirely 21st century opportunity to re-live its mystical past.

As a centrepiece of Glenarm Castle’s Christmas Experience – a Santa trail for all the family - it will emerge from swathes of dry-ice mists, magically lit with hundreds of bulbs as a fairytale castle as visitors set off to visit Santa.

“Christmas is a magical time for children – and parents too. We hope our Christmas Experience with its animals, elves, puppets and, of course the ‘real’ Santa – complete with his own beard – will get the festive season off to a special start,” continued Adrian.

“The ancient yew with its history and folklore is the perfect centrepiece. I have been asked whether Alivan’s, suppliers to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has ever used our tree for wands – but I couldn’t possibly comment!”

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