You and the Scoodoos


A couple of weeks ago I received a request from my Facebook Friend Ciarán Burke in Ireland. He asked if I’d post something on Scoodoos.

When I saw the pictures and heard the story I said, “Of course!”

This is what he shared:

* * *

In County Mayo, activists in the West of Ireland are trying to raise awareness of the importance of trees with Scoodoos.

Ireland is one of the least forested countries in Europe, which is both a surprise and a shame considering the rich folklore of Ireland surrounding the trees and the importance of the trees to the Celts. Some believe that the Ogham alphabet (sometimes called the “Celtic Tree Alphabet”) characters are based on native trees. There are still ancient Ogham stones surviving around the country side with these markings carved into the stone over a thousand years past.


The Scoodoos are sculptures that were created initially for personal gardens. People have responded in such a positive way that the Scoodoo concept has taken on a life of its own. The Scoodoos are ancient tree spirits who have been living in harmony with nature, amongst the trees and the flora and a fauna of their arboreal habitat. For centuries they have been rarely seen by humans. Now, they are deeply concerned not only about their survival (they need more trees), but they are worried that humankind is leading the planet on a path to environmental catastrophe.

They have decided to reach out to humans and share their message: “We Need More Trees!”

In the last few weeks, Scoodoo sculptures have been appearing in public places such as road intersections–and even little ones in trees in the towns.

Next month as part of Ireland’s National Tree Week there will be a Scoodoo Trail at the National Museum of Country Life in Castlebar County Mayo. It’ll be an educational trail where people can learn to identify trees and appreciate their beauty and understand the importance of trees to our survival.

If you want to learn more about Scoodoos, visit the Facebook Page and website. If you want to learn more about Ciarán Burke, check out his blog, Blooms ‘n’ Food.

If you can help spread the message of the Scoodoos, it would be much appreciated.

* * *

I loved this story, but one thing bothered me. I had tried to do a little research, looking up “Scoodoo” on the Internet, and I couldn’t find anything!  What was the story about the name? Was it made up? Was it ancient and so rare that few knew of it?

I wrote Ciarán and he cleared things up: “The name Scoodoo (pronounced skoo-doo, long ‘o’ as in school) is made up. My wife Hanna made the first Scoodoo sculpture when we wanted some natural sculpture for the garden. When it was made we felt that it had a presence and character, which reminded us of old tree spirits at least if they had physical shape, that is what they would look like. So Hanna asked, ‘What shall we call it?’ and the first thing that came into my head was… ‘SCOODOO.’ She asked, ‘Why?’ and I told her, ‘It looks like a Scoodoo.’ So the word Scoodoo became a name for us to represent the trees sprits.

Now we name each new Scoodoo with a name ending in ‘oo’, eg. Nanoo, Cruckadoo, etc.’ ”

Ciarán also mentioned that he and Hanna have written a children’s book for which Hanna was doing the illustrations. He wrote that they thought the Scoodoo sculptures were a great way to teach children about the importance of trees, the value of nature, and respect for the environment. 

I couldn’t agree more.

Thanks,  Ciarán, for telling us about Scoodoos and their message: “We Need More Trees!”

–Sandra Knauf

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