What’s the best Birthday present you ever got?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of apple blossom

Yes, well some years ago, I got a present of a tree for my birthday – an apple tree – and every year, around this time, those delicate pink and white flowers open up to greet the sunshiny days of Spring.

“Efflorescence”, that’s the word to describe our little tree ‘in the state of flowering’ and that’s what’s happening right now in our suburban garden.

Later on, of course, the wind and the rain will come howling down from the Kimmage Crossroads and tear at the branches and send the petals flurrying and swirling into the air until only the pluckiest and the stubbornist of the buds will remain to develop and grow into lovely green and rosy apples.

In Celtic tradition, the apple tree was a symbol of purity, wholeness and fertility. They say that applewood was burned by the druids in various fertility rites. The apples were highly valued because they would keep over the long winter months.

But for me, the apple tree is a reminder of the rhythms of nature and of the cycle of life. Rotha Mór an tSaoil. Isn’t it amazing, when you see the tree in winter, to think that in a few short months, it will be completely transformed from bare branches to an abundant mass of flowers – and then again – to sagging branches, laden with luxurious fruit!

I have a series of apple paintings which I return to from time to time. (Here’s one of them below). But they have to be real apples, the sweet juicy ones. Did you ever get a nicer gift?

small oil painting of Halloween Apple by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Halloween-Apple-no.2, 20 x 20cm, oil on canvas






  1. Tá an blas is fearr ar úlla na hÉireann! Cé go mbíonn siad beag bíonn dath sláintiúl orthu!


  2. Hi Eoin, that’s a fine apple painting, one that Charles Brady would have been proud of.
    Your fine words was a reminder to me that even though we are twisted and turned by a very unsettled world. The rhythms of nature (like your flowering apple tree) keep us rooted to something deeper and profound. Thank you


    • Thank you for the comment, John. Yes indeed, the world seems to be in a state of ‘chassis’ these days, it’s hard to understand what’s happening… and hard also, not to let it affect the work in the studio. Do you find the same? But yes, the buds open up again each Spring and the beauty of nature is a reminder for me that the world is bigger than the present moment. All the best for now, and regards to Nath, eoin


  3. Eoin, …

    “…and pluck till time and time has done, the silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun..”
    yup, gorgeous altogether, the joys of spring an’ all that…

    ‘Afraid no bday present springs to mind, not from now, not from long ago, what is that about?!

    Happy Easter , Cáisc Shona
    ciao ciao


Leave a Reply, I'd like to hear your viewpoint.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s