A thorny subject


Sir, – While visiting the Fairy Lore and Landscapes exhibition in the UCC library recently, I was intrigued to discover that the hawthorn is associated with encountering fairies, and that the “fairy thorn” is “the legendary meeting-place for the fair folk as they travel across the landscape”.

Whether they engage in any intimate entanglements (“Some people claimed the hawthorn bush smelled of sex”, Life, May 22nd), or experience any “Proustian moments” (“Cavorting Buds of May – Frank McNally on a spectacular year for hawthorn blossoms”, An Irishman’s Diary, May 23rd), I will have to leave to Michael Harding and Frank McNally to verify! – Yours, etc,




Sir, – I share the enthusiasm of Frank McNally and Michael Harding for the May blossom, and perhaps the best way to see it in full splendour is from aloft. Earlier this week I was in a glider flying over mid-Leinster, and the fields below were fringed with vibrant white, making for a landscape of rare beauty.

The hawthorn lines are one of the pleasures of flights at this time of year, and I can confirm that this year’s display is exceptional.

I wish that more people could see from aloft this vivid enhancement of the biodiversity of our hedgerows.

Admittedly, from 2,000 feet above ground one cannot catch any slight sexual whiff, but the erotic imagination can dwell delightedly on the lacy frills edging the lush grasslands, if one is so inclined. – Yours, etc,




Co Kildare.

Sir, – From Sigerson Clifford’s pen: “And when May had hid the hawthorn tree, with stars she stole from out the skies ...”. – Yours, etc,




Co Galway.