Irish Wild Plants: Myths Legends and Folklore

Irish Wild Plants: Myths Legends and Folklore


By (author) Niall MacCoitir, Illustrated by Grania Langrishe

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  • Publisher: The Collins Press
  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 25mm | 862g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Cork
  • ISBN 10: 1905172699
  • ISBN 13: 9781905172696
  • Sales rank: 170,569

Product description

Most of us are never far away from green and growing things and indeed our lives would feel much poorer without them. The wild plants of Ireland have been bound up in our culture from the earliest times appearing in the ancient Irish brehon laws and nature poetry as well as myths and legends and much folklore. According to that folklore a person who carries a four-leaved shamrock will be lucky in gambling, while a girl who puts nine ivy-leaves under her pillow will dream of her future husband. Herbal medicine was also important in ancient Ireland. There were 365 parts to the body, and a different plant existed to cure the ailments of each part. Plants are described in seasonal order, a fresh perspective which brings us back to the viewpoint of our ancestors. After the history of herbs in Ireland and traditional herbal medicine, different aspects of plant folklore are examined. Included are their roles in magical protection, their use in charms and spells (especially for love!), plants as emblems in children's games, in Irish place names and folklore cures. As with its companion Irish Trees - Myths, Legends and Folklore, this book is beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned watercolours by Grania Langrishe.

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Author information

NIALL MACCOITIR grew up in a bilingual environment in Dublin with a love of Irish history, culture and nature instilled into him. After graduating from University College Dublin, he worked for Dublin County Council and now works for Fingal County Council. His interests in folklore led to his first book, Irish Trees - Myths, Legends and Folklore.

Review quote

"This work will be relevant for Irish cultural studies and folklore in general, and may also prove beneficial to botanists with an interest in the cultural aspects of plant life." 'A treasury of ancient and interesting information' The Irish Times 'A delightful book' The Irish Garden 'A beautiful book' Books Ireland 'Exquisitely illustrated' Sunday Independent 'A delightful, thoroughly-researched book' Irish Examiner

Table of contents

Introduction 1 Aspects of Plant Folklore 4 Major Plants in Folklore Mistletoe 21 Rushes 28 Shamrock/clover 36 Primrose 49 Marsh marigold 54 Nettle 58 Watercress 65 Bluebell 71 Yellow iris 76 Bog-myrtle 81 Meadowsweet 85 Scarlet pimpernel 89 Foxglove 94 Honeysuckle 101 St John's wort 107 Mugwort 114 Yarrow 119 Vervain 125 Mallow 120 Ragwort 133 Heather 139 Bilberry 146 Dog-rose 153 Bramble 159 Bracken 167 Ivy 175 Houseleek 183 Sea wrack 187 Grasses 193 Dandelion 199 Buttercup 205 Dock 208 Charlock 213 Violet 217 Water-lily 222 Mint 226 Umbellifers 230 Forget-me-not 236 Great Mullein 240 Orchid 244 Wood avens 248 Henbane 252 Daisy 255 Centaury 261 Devil's bit scabious 264 Thistle 268 Plantain 274 Lady's-Mantle 278 Poppy 281 Vetch 286 Fungi 291 Lords-and-Ladies 297 Spurge 300 Crane's-bill 302 Butterbur 303 Wild Plants and the Zodiac 305 Postscript 313 Notes on Names 317 References 319 Bibliography 347 Index of Plant Names in English 353 Index of Plant Names in Irish 361 Index of Latin Plant Names 369 General Index 371