In the last few weeks, the fierce golden blaze of yellow gorse which swept through Ireland’s hedgerows like wild-fire, has given way to the gentler, creamy-white froth of hawthorn blossom. In Irish mythology, tree lore features in many of the old stories and legends, and perhaps none more so than the hawthorn tree.
The hawthorn is a small, bushy tree which grows up to six metres in height, which can live to a grand old age of four hundred years. It is native to Ireland, where it is mostly used to mark field boundaries, and roadside hedgerows.
In Irish, the hawthorn is known as Sceach Gheal, from sceach meaning ‘thornbush/ briar’ and geal meaning ‘bright/ lumnious/ radiant’. According to the ancient Brehon Law, it was classified as a Peasant tree. In Ogham, also known as the Tree Alphabet, the hawthorn is represented by the sixth symbol called Huath
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