The Forest of Ancestry

My name is Lucinda Toal, I am 35 years old and a full-time mum to 2 wonderful daughters. I am a nature lover at heart, a “card carrying tree hugger” ever since I was a child. The environment and protecting it has always been something I was mindful of. However, it was during the fracking at Woodburn Forest, Co. Antrim, that I had the idea of how to protect our trees… make them sacred! I began to develop the idea of the Forest of Ancestry and the more I thought about it, the more I realised our community really needs it.
I want to create an environment that protects nature and preserves it as much as possible, while providing a comforting environment for families and friends to mourn the loss of their loved one. Personally, I do not find graves comforting and they create a space issue, which we are now experiencing in County Antrim, as we are running out. Rather than continually taking over new green spaces, I would like to create one that is preserved, while providing a familial burial space for generations to come. Using a tree and bio urns, many family members can be buried together, as well as family pets, as long as the remains are cremated. The Forest of Ancestry will hold a biography and image of each resident, to share with future generations and visitors. Everyone deserves to be remembered and so much information gets lost with time.
I would like to create a space that allows people to freely celebrate their loved one. In November 2016, my Dad passed away unexpectedly. My family had not prepared for this to happen, so it was quite a difficult time in many aspects. While wanting to honour my Dads faith, I also wanted to celebrate him but due to restrictions within the church, it couldn’t fully be achieved. The crematorium has such a tight time slot, little could be done there too. My Dad has no official resting place, so I am determined to make the Forest of Ancestry his.
There are many hurdles to overcome to make the Forest of Ancestry a reality. I am pursuing as many avenues as possible to help get me there. Unfortunately, my personal circumstances won’t allow me to achieve this on my own, which is why I am grateful for the support received from Antrim Enterprise Agency and Women In Business NI.


My family tree is a horse chestnut tree that my dad help me pot before he passed away.