Colonisation of the boundary wall at the Rock is well underway since we undertook the repair and rebuild some time ago.What to me has been remarkable is the prevalence of various types of nettle showing either on the face of the wall as above,atop the wall or along the verge - the latter reaching up to three foot plus in height.
Nettles as with other so called weeds have appeared in place-names such as Kilnantogue,Coill na Neantog, the Wood of Nettles/Nettlewood,County Offaly and Carrownanty,Ceathru na Neantog,the Quarter of Nettles to give but two examples - cf Irish Wild Plants - N.Mac Coitir,available at the bookstore,Mitchell St.
The nettle,with its harsh stinging leaves and stems is a symbol of desolation and abandonment.However its nutritious leaves and many herbal uses also make it a well-respected plant.In addition Nettle was traditionally highly regarded as a source for making cloth.
Two varieties are listed in Ainmneacha Plandai agus Ainmhithe/flora and fauna nomenclature:- neantog,common nettle and neantog bhliantuil,the small/annual nettle.
When I worked in Dublin nettles were commonly called Stingers by the children I taught - spot on!
For folk beliefs and customs Mac Coitir above is your man!
For your next quiz,"what night was known as Nettlemas Night?"
The Romans of antiquity had a wondrous use for the lowly nettle as a stimulant to love-making!
Caution is advised as there's enough sting in the tail already.
author artist activist