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Niall Mac Coitir brings to life the myths, legends and folklore associated with native Irish trees, much of which persists to this day. Two main themes emerge: the tree as a marker of important places such as royal sites or holy wells, and the role of trees as sources of magical power in folk customs and traditions, such as carrying a blackthorn sta. when out walking at night to ward off evil spirits. Beautifully illustrated and imaginatively written, this mix of natural history, mythology and folklore will entertain and enlighten all interested in Ireland's trees.
Niall Mac Coitir provides a comprehensive look at the folklore, legends and history of animals in Ireland, and describes their relations with people, being hunted for food, fur, sport, or as vermin, and their position today. A final section, inspired by stories of animal transformation, looks at twelve animals and how we can enrich our lives by visualising ourselves with their special qualities. This fascinating and beautifully illustrated compilation of folklore, legends and natural history will delight all with an interest in Ireland's animals.
Ireland's wild plants have been part of our culture and folklore from the earliest times, featuring in the Brehon Laws, early Irish poetry and herbal medicine. Plants are described in seasonal order and different aspects are examined: their roles in magical protection, charms and spells, emblems in children's games, Irish place names and folklore. This beautifully illustrated and comprehensive compilation of natural history, mythology and folklore will entertain and enlighten all interested in the wild plants of Ireland.
Birds have been important symbols in our art and culture for thousands of years. They have inspired poets and painters, and feature in many place names and legends. In this book, Niall Mac Coitir draws together the mythology, legends and folklore of Ireland's birds, both wild and domestic. The birds are presented in seasonal order based on their migratory habits (the cuckoo and summer) or on their cultural associations (the robin with Christmas). He also explores how birds are often powerful symbols of various virtues and qualities, such as the goose, which is a symbol of watchfulness and bravery. This challenges us to look at birds in a different way, as dynamic creatures that have influenced our society over the millennia. Written with imagination and enthusiasm, this mix of natural history, mythology and folklore will delight and enlighten all interested in the birds of Ireland.
The wild plants of Ireland have been bound up in our culture and folklore from the earliest times. They appear in the ancient Irish brehon laws and early nature poetry for which Ireland is famous. Herbal medicine was also important. 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. So, it is no surprise to find there are many myths and legends and much folklore associated with many wild plants and flowers in Ireland. A person who carries a four-leaved shamrock will have great luck in gambling, while a girl who puts nine ivy-leaves under her pillow will dream of her future husband. Plants are described in seasonal order instead of botanically, a fresh perspective that in many ways brings us back to the viewpoint of our ancestors. 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 (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.
Ancient Ireland was such a healthy place no poisonous plant could grow and cattle had to be restrained from over-eating in case they burst! In early Irish legend it wasn't St Patrick who expelled the snakes from Ireland, but Moses! A frog foretold the victory of the Normans in Ireland; the last wolf in Ireland was killed in Carlow in 1786; a cure for burns was to be licked by a person who had licked a lizard. This compilation of folklore, legends, and history relating to animals in Ireland includes description of their relations with people and being hunted for food, fur, sport, or as vermin, and their position today. How and when non-native animals arrived in Ireland is discussed and how the boundary between wild and domestic animals has been more uncertain than people realise. The book ends with an imaginative section inspired by stories of animal transformation, looking at twelve animals and how we can visualise ourselves as having their special qualities and so enrich our lives and deal with situations differently.
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