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Subject: Re: GENIRE-D Digest V03 #94
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2003 19:41:46 -0800
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> Subject:
> GENIRE-D Digest Volume 03 : Issue 94
> Today's Topics:
> #1 Shamrock...........COLGAN & BRITTE ["Jane Lyons" <>]

Trivia: The Shamrock

Mooneygoeswild site and article:

Sunday, March 18th 2001

Botanist Dr Charles Nelson spoke to
Mooney Goes Wild today about
shamrock. Ten years ago he wrote a book
entitled Shamrock -
Botany And History Of An Irish Myth.

There has always been a dispute as to
which plant is the 'real'
shamrock. The name itself, 'Seamr - og'
is Irish, and means the
'young clover'. So it would seem that
the shamrock was therefore a
member of the clover family. One
candidate for the title, the Wood
Sorrel (whose leaf is the logo of Aer
Lingus), is not a clover, so
presumably it is disqualified. But which
of the clovers is the lucky

The credit for shamrock research must go
to Nathaniel Colgan, the
famous botanist and author of The Flora
Of County Dublin (1904). In
an attempt to identify the 'true'
shamrock, Colgan carried out what
can best be described as an election
throughout the country. He
asked people to write to him, and let
him know which plant they
wore on St. Patrick's Day. The result
was a close run thing. The main
contenders were the Red Clover, the
White Clover, the Lesser Trefoil
and Spotted Medick. The winner, by a
small margin, was the Lesser
Trefoil Trifolium dubius.

The idea that Shamrock will not grow on
soil that is not Irish is
nonsense. All the candidate plants grow
elsewhere in northern
Europe. It is also believed that the
shamrock does not flower, but it
does so later in the year. People just
lose interest in the plant once
St. Patrick's Day has passed.

Colgan also undertook a detailed history
of the shamrock as a
cultural icon. Shamrock was eaten in
Ireland, at least in times of
famine. The first reference to it as an
Irish emblem dates from 1681.
There is no reference to it in
connection with St. Patrick in the old
Irish manuscripts, so the story that he
used the plant to illustrate
the nature of the trinity is just that,
a story. The first written
account of the Trinity Shamrock legend
dates from 1727.

For anyone looking for some history and "names" in Irish history this site offers
History and is entered by the author and date..the date is the date entered not
the information in the articles.
If interested explore the site and open the articles. You may do a word find if
you are looking for something in particular, but the site has much to offer. One
article on R. Praeger offers much insite into each of the counties of Ireland.

Happy Reading!

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