Gorse, furze or whin


Sir, – Michael Harding’s articles are always a joy to read.

What I can’t understand is why a Cavan man would use the name gorse when the traditional Ulster term is whin or even furze (“How I learned to stop worrying and love my enemy”, Life, June 3rd). Imagine the St Stephen’s Day mantra of wren boys calling out, “The wren, the wren the king of all birds, St Stephen’s day caught in the gorse”. It just doesn’t sound right somehow.

Gorse fires in my young days were confined to Bray Head or Howth. Now every vegetation fire in Ireland is described as a “gorse” fire, regardless of whether it is heather, furze or whin. Let’s stick with our traditional names. – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.