Christine Merdon, Chief Operating Officer for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), welcomed Ireland's Taioseach Enda Kenny, Ireland's Ambassador to the United States Anne Anderson, senior congressional leaders and members of Congress, House Chaplain Father Patrick J. Conroy and Donegal native Father Brendan McBride to the U.S. Capitol Grounds for a tree dedication marking the 100th anniversary of Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising.
Select trees on the Capitol Grounds serve as living memorials to an individual or an event. The Irish Oak dedicated today is one of those special trees.
"A much-loved symbol of strength, the Irish Oak is known for its longevity – often living as long as 500 years. The Architect of the Capitol selected the Irish Oak because of its historical significance to the people of Ireland. One of the earliest forms of Irish law was created to protect the oak and five other 'chieftain trees.' It is also likely that ancient Irish religious sites were located next to oak groves," said Merdon.
Representative Mick Mulvaney (South Carolina) and Representative Brendan Boyle (Pennsylvania) sponsored the tree that was planted on Capitol Grounds across from the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Architect of the Capitol cares for the historic and picturesque grounds surrounding the U.S. Capitol Building including more than 4,300 trees on 274-acres. Approximately 140 trees serve as memorials or commemorate an event.