The Enchanting Hawthorn: A Journey into County Mayo’s Biodiversity and Folklore

As we step into the vibrant month of June here in County Mayo, the landscape awakens with the frothy splendour of the hawthorn blossoms, adorning the land’s boundaries and ditches. Hawthorn is a historic fairy tree which is steeped in local folklore and casts an ethereal charm over the countryside. With our sudden transition this year from a late, cold, and wet spring to the warmth of summer in what seems like just a week, the hawthorns have taken over the spotlight from the gorse and are painting the landscape with their abundant, frothy cream and pink tinged blooms. As we delve into the captivating world of the hawthorn, let us uncover the tales, traditions, and natural wonders that surround this enchanting tree.

A Dance of Blossoms: Pausing for a moment, let your senses soak in the captivating scene that unfolds before us. The air carries a delicate fragrance, teasing the sweet nectar hidden within the hawthorn’s blossoms. Amidst the flourishing blooms, the hawthorn’s thorns stand as guardians, adding a touch of intrigue and protection to its enchanting presence. Like celestial confetti, white petals adorn the branches, transforming them into an otherworldly vision. As we wander through meadows and woodlands, the hawthorn’s blooming spectacle casts a spell, inviting us to witness the magic of nature in all its glory.

Beyond its thorns, hawthorn plays a vital role in supporting biodiversity. Its dense branches provide nesting sites and shelter for birds, while the berries serve as a nutritious food source during colder months. The blossoms attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, contributing to the pollination of surrounding plants. Hawthorn also offers refuge for small mammals and acts as a larval host plant for butterflies and moths. Its ecological value extends to various wildlife, including bats, squirrels, and diverse plant species. The hawthorn with its blossoms and protective thorns, enhances biodiversity and fosters the health and balance of our ecosystem.

The Puca’s Mysterious Connection: Within Connaught’s folklore, the hawthorn occupies a place of reverence and mystique. Ancient beliefs intertwine the hawthorn with the Puca, a mischievous and shapeshifting creature deeply rooted in Irish mythology. Known to take the form of a horse or other animals, the Puca maintains a strong bond with the natural world, including the hawthorn.

Guardians of Secrets and Spells: Folklore whispers that the Puca seeks refuge within the hawthorn’s branches, guarding their secrets and weaving spells of protection. Local inhabitants hold great respect for the hawthorn, refraining from disrupting its sacred presence for fear of awakening the fairy folk’s wrath. I myself feel the need to seek its permission before cutting or trimming branches, honouring the deep connection between the tree and the mystical realm.

Where Mysteries Unfold: Legends suggest that encountering the Puca near a whitethorn tree may bestow blessings or guidance upon the fortunate soul. Yet, caution prevails, for the Puca’s mischievous nature may lead to tricks and pranks. The presence of the Puca near the whitethorn adds an air of enchantment, amplifying the tree’s already mystical reputation.

Unveiling the Hawthorn’s Secrets: Beneath its shroud of mystery, the hawthorn holds intriguing facts waiting to be discovered. Did you know that it symbolizes love and fertility, often incorporated into weddings and May Day celebrations to represent unity and prosperity? Additionally, the hawthorn boasts a rich medicinal history, with its berries and flowers renowned for their cardiovascular benefits and soothing properties. This makes hawthorn flower tincture a valuable component of traditional herbal remedies, aiding heart function, blood pressure regulation, stress management, digestive health, and overall well-being. As with any herbal remedy, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating hawthorn flower tincture into your routine.

As you immerse yourself in the allure of the Irish countryside, let the flowering hawthorn be your guide into a realm where folklore and natural beauty intertwine. Explore the hawthorn’s blossoming splendour, understanding its role as a guardian of Connaught’s folklore. Pause beneath its branches, breathe in its sweet fragrance, and listen closely to the whispers carried by the wind. In the presence of the hawthorn, you become part of a timeless tale, connecting with the rich heritage and enchantment that weaves its way through the heart of Connaught’s traditions.

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Plant Sale May 29th 2021 in Brickens, Co Mayo

We are teaming up with Village Farm at Brickens Community Centre, not far from Claremorris, to bring you a plant sale on Saturday 29th May. We will be there from 10am to 2pm.

Village Farm are Saturday regulars there, with their converted horse box coffee trailer and will be selling locally baked breads, scones, lots of sweet treats, as well as fairtrade coffee, teas and hot chocolate. They will also be taking orders for their home reared Aberdeen Angus beef! Check them out (and give them a follow!) on instagram here

Wild Acre Farm will be bringing along a little bit of produce (it’s early yet!) and wide variety of veg plants to grow on at home, including heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins, courgettes, chillis, cabbages, celeriac, calabrese mix, salad mixes, red and white onions, leeks, brussel sprouts, herbs and perennials such as heirloom strawberry plants and artichokes. We’ve even got some oca… all ready to go in the ground now (hopefully) the frosts are done and it’s warming up. Full list of varieties and prices at the bottom of the page.

Why not come and have a coffee, have a browse, and talk to us about our veg boxes, our growing practices, (or even about starting a local food hub!)

We’d love to see you there.

Claire

Price List and Varieties

Modules (9 in tray €3):

Celery
Celeriac
Brussel Sprouts
Red Cabbage
Winter Cabbage Mix
Gourmet Salad Mix
Broccoli/Calabrese Mix
Red and white onion Mix
Leeks

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Hot House Pots €3 each:

Aubergines* – Black Beauty or mixed

Chilli* – Hungarian Hot Wax / Aciburun / Jalapeno

Sweet Pepper*

Globe Artichoke*

Tomatoes* – Ailsa Craig / Black Krim / Green Zebra / Tigerella / Bloody Butcher / Tiny Tim / Orange Banana / Romanesco

* need greenhouse or polytunnel to grow in. (Or a sunny windowsill and a bigger pot)


Outdoor (or Indoor Pots) €2.50 each

Pumpkin or Winter Squash – Sugar Babe, F1 Mars, Green Hokkaido, Tuffy, Marina Di Chioggia, Jack Be Little, Musquee De Province,

Courgettes or Summer Squash – Green / Yellow / Custard White Patty Pan / Spaghetti Squash / Rolet


Strawberry plants €1.75 each or 10 for €15
Heritage strawberry plants. Unknown variety but they are strong, grow well outdoors here, crop heavily and taste like only home grown strawberries can.

Well rooted, fed and ready to go in the ground to crop end June / July


Oca (or New Zealand Yam) in pots €3 each – South American low carb root crop. Edible leaves and roots. Lemony Sorrel taste. Lovely roasted. Grows really easily in Ireland. Earth up like potatoes. Harvest after first frost has made the leaves die off. Red, white or ‘strawberries and cream’ available

All plants are grown naturally without chemicals, sprays or artificial fertilisers. Mostly certified organic seed, some are organic peat free compost too.

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