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In ancient Ireland it was believed there were 365 different parts to the body, and a different plant existed to cure the ailments of each part. After describing 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, plants as emblems in children's games, in Irish place names and folklore cures.
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
Niall Mac Coitir 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.
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