In praise of the whin

 

Sir, – A letter-writer’s reference (December 1st) to the oft-forgotten whin bush (a term I prefer to furze or gorse) reminds me of how important it was to our Irish farmers for many years. In the past the gorse, furze or whin was crushed and used as animal fodder and bedding. Birds used it for nesting. In cottages it was used for flooring and fuel and cleaning the chimneys.

Who can forget its delicate scent? The whin bushes were also used to dry clothes. The damp washing was flung over the whins, and it would take a very strong gale to wrest the washing from those treacherous whin spikes.

As small boys we used to gather buckets of those brilliant blossoms and put them in boiling water with eggs. The result was yellow hardboiled Easter eggs. – Yours, etc,

DENIS RANAGHAN,

Kilpedder,

Co Wicklow.