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None of the species in the survey are unique to Ireland, and all are common European species, so there is no botanical basis for the widespread belief that the shamrock is a unique species of plant that only grows in Ireland.
For example, in the series of medieval metrical poems about various Irish places called the Metrical Dindshenchusa poem about Tailtiu or Teltown in Co.
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Meath describes it as a plain blossoming with flowering clover mag scothach scothshemrach. Brigid decided to stay in Co. Kildare when she saw the delightful plain covered in clover blossom scoth-shemrach. In his work Boke of the Histories of Irelande, Campion describes the habits of the "wild Irish" and states that the Irish ate shamrock: For example, in the medieval Irish work Buile Shuibhne The Frenzy of Sweeneythe king Sweeney, who has gone mad and is living in the woods as a hermit, lists wood sorrel among the plants he feeds upon.
Here shamrock is described as a food eaten as a last resort by starving people desperate for any nourishment during a post-war famine: Anatomies of death, they spake like ghosts, crying out of theire graves; they did eat of the carrions Creative writing ireland his Creative writing ireland An itinerary thorow Twelve Dominions, Moryson describes the "wild Irish", and in this case their supposed habit of eating shamrock is a result of their marginal hand-to-mouth existence as bandits.
Moryson claims that the Irish "willingly eat the herbe Schamrock being of a sharpe taste which as they run and are chased to and fro they snatch like beasts out of the ditches. To a herbalist like Gerard it is clear that the shamrock is clover, but other English writers do not appear to know the botanical identity of the shamrock.
This is not surprising, as they probably received their information at second or third hand. It is notable that there is no mention anywhere in these writings of St. Patrick or the legend of his using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.
However, there are two possible references to the custom of "drowning the shamrock" in "usquebagh" or whiskey.
Patrick[ edit ] St. Patrick depicted with shamrock in detail of stained glass window in St. Benin's Church, WicklowIreland Traditionally, shamrock is said to have been used by Saint Patrick to illustrate the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity when Christianising Ireland in the 5th century.
The first evidence of a link between St Patrick and the shamrock appears in on the St Patrick's Coppers or Halpennies. These appear to show a figure of St Patrick preaching to a crowd while holding a shamrock, presumably to explain the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
However, Jack Santino speculates that "The shamrock was probably associated with the earth and assumed by the druids to be symbolic of the regenerative powers of nature Nevertheless, the shamrock, whatever its history as a folk symbol, today has its meaning in a Christian context. Pictures of Saint Patrick depict him driving the snakes out of Ireland with a cross in one hand and a sprig of shamrocks in the other.
The first written mention of the link does not appear untilin the account of Thomas Dineley, an English traveller to Ireland.
The 17th day of March yeerly is St Patricks, an immoveable feast, when ye Irish of all stations and condicions were crosses in their hatts, some of pinns, some of green ribbon, and the vulgar superstitiously wear shamroges, 3 leav'd grass, which they likewise eat they say to cause a sweet breath.
Patrick using the shamrock to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and this story does not appear in writing anywhere until a work by the botanist Caleb Threlkeld. This plant is worn by the people in their hats upon the Day of March yearly, which is called St.
It being a current tradition, that by this Three Leafed Grass, he emblematically set forth to them the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.
However that be, when they wet their Seamar-oge, they often commit excess in liquor, which is not a right keeping of a day to the Lord; error generally leading to debauchery.
The Rev Threlkeld's remarks on liquor undoubtedly refer to the custom of toasting St. Patrick's memory with "St. Patrick's Pot", or "drowning the shamrock" as it is otherwise known. After mass on St.M.A.
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