Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Irises Are Smiling

By Griff Crump

Éireann go breá!  Yes, it's St. Patrick's Day, so why not take a look at some of the many irises that have an Irish flavor to their names?  For a start, here's 'Isle of Erin', (F. Gadd, R. 1985).

'Isle of Erin'

One of the earliest Irish-themed introductions of which a photo is available was 'Irish Linen' (Fay, R. 1954):

'Irish Linen'

In 1962, Alta Brown registered her miniature dwarf 'Irish Doll'.  Whereas most of the Irish-themed irises tend toward a greenish hue, the falls of this one are certainly more yellow.  But that's okay.  In ancient days, the preferred color for Irish raiment was yellow.  The color was obtained from the pollen of crocuses.  Imagining how many crocuses it would have taken to produce enough dye to color even one woolen cloak, and thus the cost, one can figure the social status of a wearer who could afford such a garment!  Later, Irish milliners found a less expensive source of the color in saffron imported from India.  The wearin' of the yellow ended, however, when Elizabeth I, having consolidated her rule over Ireland, prohibited the native Irish from wearing their traditional woolen cloaks and the color yellow.  (A culture-eradicating tactic as insidious as those pursued by the Soviets of the 20th Century.)

'Irish Doll'

Betty Wilkerson registered 'Tara's Choice' in 2002  --  the hill of Tara being the place a bit north of Dublin where Ireland's ancient kings were crowned.

'Tara's Choice'

Ireland has long been known as the land of saints and scholars, but to that we would certainly have to add poets and musicians.  Gordon Plough in 1978 introduced 'Irish Tune'.

'Irish Tune'

And the late George Sutton introduced his standard dwarf bearded 'Irish Chant' in 2001.

'Irish Chant'

While looking at SDBs, I'll add my own 2009 SDB 'Bradan Eolais' (Salmon of Knowledge), so named because of its gold-washed salmon coloring.  The Bradán Eolais was a magical fish whose great powers were accidentally acquired by the mythical Irish hero Finn MacCool.

'Bradán Eolais'

From Keith Keppel in 2005 came 'Irish Jig'.

'Irish Jig'

 Many of us are familiar with L. Noyd's 'Pride of Ireland' registered in 1970.

'Pride of Ireland'

 Larry Lauer gave us 'Irish Gold' in 2004.

'Irish Gold'

And sure, when Irish gold is around, can a leprechaun be far away?  R. Fothergill introduced a Pacific Coast Native as 'Leprechaun' in 1959, but no picture is to be found!  Well, now, is that surprising, after all? And Hooker Nichols' 1982 'Leprechaun Kingdom' was similarly elusive.  Again, perhaps, too close to home.  Barry Blyth claimed to have found the big one, 'Leprechaun's Gold', in 1982, but again, no picture to be found, at all, at all. But other things leprechaun-ish do abound.
John Weiler introduced SDB 'Leprechaun's Delight' in 1987.

'Leprechaun's Delight'

C. Boswell presented a 'Leprechaun's Eyelash' for inspection in 1989, winning an HM in 1991and an AM in 1995 .
   'Leprechaun's Eyelash' SDB

Barry Blyth's 1993 'Leprechaun's Kiss' has also proven elusive.  A stolen kiss, perhaps?  Or could this image found in our Iris Encyclopedia under another file name be it?
'Leprechaun's Kiss'?

Chuck Chapman found a 'Leprechaun's Purse' in 1999.

'Leprechaun's Purse' SDB

Jim Hedgecock had a 'Leprechaun Fantasy' in 2012.

'Leprechaun Fantasy' Spuria

And, finally, I must admit that I am somewhat partial to the little people, since my great-grandfather Thomas Bernard Weadick (MacMhadoc) was born at an estate in County Wexford known as Parknashogue.  At least, that's the way the English rendered the name.  It was, in the Irish, Páirc na Sióg, which translates as Fairyland.  Here is Fairyland today: (The county government won't let them cut down the two ancient trees.)

Do you think a leprechaun might be found here?

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed your "blog". Beautiful irises and well written.


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