All over the countryside of Ireland today the hedgerows are colouring up with that beautiful yellow flower. In the North we call it WHIN, in County Cork they call it FURZE and city folk call it GORSE.
Like a lot of the hedgerow of Ireland WHIN has its links with the ancient Celtic folklore. It is said to be the symbol of the sun god Lugh, as it carries a spark of sun all year. It symbolises Joy.
The one old saying still used today –
When Gorse is in bloom, kissing is in season
When furze is out of bloom, kissing is out of fashion.
Yellow gorse petals are actually edible and are used to make a special brew called gorse flower wine, a favourite of our ancient Celtic forebears. Used as an old cure by farmers for their animals.
‘Get a few handfuls of the yellow blossoms of the furze and boil them in water. Give the water as a dose to the horse and this will cure worms’.
In years gone by, the golden glow of Irish whiskey was achieved by using gorse flowers, which also added subtle almond flavour to Ireland’s favourite distilled beverage. I have just found an old recipe for this “Golden Whiskey” only snag is takes 9 months to mature!