Gorse, whins and furze

Sir, – Frank McNally is right that the Whins/Furze Line (roughly the 54th parallel running through Cavan town) is under siege from the English word "gorse", which has propagated like a weed across the whole country from its foothold in Dublin (An Irishman's Diary, April 28th).

The plant’s remarkable ability to regenerate after fires is well known – the green shoots of recovery providing sustenance for goats and donkeys.

The virtual disappearance of these animals from many areas has led to the widespread proliferation of the thorny evergreen, with the recurrent danger of uncontrollable “gorse” fires. – Yours, etc,

Dr JOHN DOHERTY,

Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall.