Friday, 10 October 2008

Birds of Ireland: Facts, Folklore and History by Glynn Anderson

Birds of Ireland: Facts, Folklore and History“Hearing the hoot of an owl is associated with bad luck. However, if you hear an owl, all is not lost: you must immediately take off your clothes, turn them inside out and put them back on. Luckily, most owls appear at night...” This is just one of the many informative and entertaining facts contained within this attractive book on Irish birds. The book starts with an overview of the history and folklore of Irish birds. In Irish mythology, birds were sometimes seen as omens, and there were countless beliefs, proverbs and curses associated with them. The book tells us that birds inspired poets such as Hopkins, Yeats and Heaney and influenced place names in Ireland like the Curlew Mountain in Roscommon and Hawk’s Nest, County Antrim. Physical descriptions and facts and figures on each species of birds found in Ireland is given together with the associated beliefs and traditions, proverbs and similes, curses and poetry, weather lore and culinary traditions. So if you are trying to ensure your husband’s fidelity, sew a swan’s feather into his pillow; if you need a cure for baldness, burn a raven and boil its ashes with mutton fat which then should be rubbed into the head; if you have jaundice, fix your gaze on a Yellowhammer - the bird will die but you will be ok. These and other useful snippets of information are contained in this book that can be dipped into again and again to provide entertainment for anyone with even a passing interest in Irish birds or Irish folklore. Birds of Ireland: Facts, Folklore and History is published by The Collins Press (2008).

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