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Liam Emery’s Celtic Cross, Killea, Co. Donegal

The Mystery of the Cross on the Hill

In 2016 passengers on an aircraft approaching City of Derry Airport noticed an unusal sight on the Donegal hillside as they approach to land. A 100m tall cross on the hill was visible in the fields near Killea, and nobody knew how they appeared. Was it a miracle?

A few days later the mystery was solved. The giant Celtic cross was the work of local forester, Liam Emery. Liam was a hard working, quiet man who secretly planted Japanese larch trees amongst surrounding evergreens. The larch trees are similar in colour to the others for much of the year, but their leaves turn a beautiful shade of gold in autumn, making it an exciting landmark for the county.

The funny thing is, Liam told very few people about his work, they were his little secret. Sadly he died in 2011 aged just 51, before his work came to fruition. His wife, Norma, said she partially forgot about the trees, but that he would have been delighted at how they came out. His great legacy is expected to last at least 70 years.

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