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Event Details

Howth paint out

Time: May 5, 2018 all day
Location: Howth, North County Dublin
Website or Map: http://www.irelands-directory…
Event Type: paint, out
Organized By: Norah Blount
Latest Activity: May 6

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Event Description

The beautiful and diverse village of Howth beckons for this saturday.  Subjects range from a huge variety of boats, old village houses if you meander the back streets and of course the wonderful heather and gorse are in bloom for those seeking a touch of vibrant colour.  In a change from previous paint outs I plan to arrive around 10am to paint , then break for lunch around 1pm before either trying a second painting or whatever the mood takes on the day.  Hope to meet some of you there

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Comment by Sean Quinn on May 1, 2018 at 13:42

For the past few weeks I have been much struck by the intense vibrancy of the yellow gorse flowers.  I have an interesting memory of gorse flowers being used in a  ritual when I was in the national school.    It was a huge school in Longford with about 350 pupils,  and at one stage it was my job to unlock the gates in the morning.   But every first of May (and its May 1 as I write this) I would arrive to see the   the tall double gates decorated from top to bottom with golden furze flowers.   My impression is that it was done secretly in the night.    This was almost a challenge in the pagan tradition to the catholic practice:  inside in each  classroom  the month of May was celebrated as Mary's month.    I look on the person who did this as the Last Druid of Ireland,    and I wonder more than half a century later does anyone else, besides myself,  remember  his handiwork?

Comment by Norah Blount on May 1, 2018 at 6:47

Some info about gorse, from the Irish Times

The golden yellow flowers of the gorse or furze bushes across Ireland have the distinction of being the longest blooming flowers. With their coconut smell and blueish/green spiky stems, these pod-like flowers are most prolific on mountainous and bogland scrubs from February to May and add strong colour to the Irish landscape. Common gorse (Ulex europaeus) is the only species native to much of western Europe. It grows in sunny sites on dry, sandy soils. Foragers and chefs pick them for use in salads, herbal teas, cordials or syrups. They can also be added to beer, wine, spirits, ice cream or chocolate. Gorse flowers are also excellent pollinators for bees.

The ashes of gorse flowers were once used as a soap substitute when combined with clay. In the 18th and 19th centuries, gorse bushes were cut and dried to be used as fodder crop for horses and cattle. Some suggest it has potential for use again in a fodder crisis – an interesting alternative to burning it off the land to create grasslands. 

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