If you are out and about walking over the next week or so be sure to walk the river bank towards Marlfield on the Purple Walk, to take in the amazing sight of the white carpet of Ramsons or Wild Garlic covering the ground right to the river's edge.Don't neglect your nose but breathe in deeply to savour the wondrous scent.Take a leaf in hand and crush it and take the scent with you as you continue your ramble.
In Wild Irish Plants by Niall Mac Coitir, - available at Oliver's great value remainder shop in Mitchell Street for eight euros,a steal at that price - mention is made that in ancient Ireland there were 365 different parts to the body ,and a different plant to cure the ailments of each part.
Garlic was one such and was highly valued as a preventative of infection,as well as a cure for coughs,cold and flu.It was also believed in many parts of Ireland to clear the the blood of impurities,and wounds of infection,and to cure toothache.
Wild Garlic/Cneamh was considered an important food in early Ireland,and along with Watercress and Wood Sorrel was regularly collected from the wild and then eaten raw or cooked in a broth or soup.
When,a few years back I found myself trekking in the Himalayas,I used often eat a clove of garlic raw and found the effect good for trekking but not necessarily so for company!
In recent times wild garlic was often used to flavour butter instead of salt - this was not a custom in my grandmother's in the Nire Valley in the '50s when I was but a boy,where the 'true' country butter was flavoured with a generous dollop of salt.God be good to her.
The wild garlic in this area of the Rock can be found elsewhere but not as yet in the same profusion.
Cloves of wild garlic were sometimes planted in the thatch over the door in Irish cottages for luck!
author artist activist