Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Walking by the Boyne in Trim I noticed the whins are in full bloom. Whins? Furze or gorse if you like. The same plant is called different names in different parts of the country. This article from Crann suggests that it is called whin north of a line through Louth, Meath and Mayo while south of the line it is called furze. He doesn't say what part of Meath the line goes through. As far as I know Meath people call it furze. There is a placename north of Navan called Yellow Furze. And beside Coolaney, Co Sligo there is a place called Whinny Hill.

The picture above has the Yellow Steeple in the background. There is an interesting article with pictures on whins here.

As regards poetry there are these lines from Goldsmith's Deserted Village:

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,

There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,

The village master taught his little school;

Evan Boland mentions whin bushes in her poem How We Made a New Art on Old Ground.

Patrick Kavanagh in A Christmas Childhood has that image of the bushes on the horizon:

Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy's hanging hill,

I looked and three whin bushes rode across

The horizon — The Three Wise Kings.


Paddy Smith said...

Two plugs for an obscure magazine in the one blog. You must know somebody in Crann, Michael.

Michael Farry said...

I was going to add: "The editor of Crann is of course Paddy Smith, a member of Boyne Writers Group" but decided against it.

Tony Bailie said...

Hello Michael,
they are known as whins in Co Down and in the Mourne Mountains, they used to be pounded to a pulp and fed to horses.