Recently I received a copy of this wonderful book from an old college friend aimed at inspiring a new generation of wildlife lovers. If you have young kids in your clan they will surely love this book. It is a visual feast of Irish Wildlife. Please find information on how to buy it below.
’My First Book of Irish Animals’ is a beautiful picture book to introduce young children to our wonderful wildlife. Filled with fascinating facts and illustrated by Aoife Quinn, a very talented Irish artist, this unique book will capture the imagination of young children.
About the Author/Publisher: Juanita Browne’s books include ‘Ireland’s Mammals’ (2005); ‘Kildare’s Natural Heritage’ (2008), and ‘Put the Kettle On - the Irish love affair with tea’ (2013). She currently works on natural history productions for television and radio.
Having taken out my girlfriend's Christmas decorations from storage I discovered revealed two Scandinavian druidlikemen accompanied by a fly Agaic mushroom. This got me thinking about how this iconic mushroom appears in our cultural anthropology. After all for most people. this is the quintessential toadstool. How did we relate as a people to this example of Irish wildlife?
One wonderful festive link is that the red and white of Santa Clauses coat has been linked to the colours of the mushroom. This tentative link is a nice idea in isolation. More prevalent in modern day ,The most obvious example of this magic mushroom in the media is from the Supermario game or watching the TV series the smurfs. However I wanted to find an earlier and more primal link between our islands culture and this beautiful toadstool.
In Irish folklore, the species has been associated with a notion of 'Celtic' Druidism. Druids were said to fast for 3 days before taking this mushroom. Part of the poisonous effect was to cause stomach cramps and therefore expel any water or food. The psychoactive active substance then took effect bringing on hallucinations. This is not advised for a modern advocate,but it does show the deep link we have with this little fungus. The research continues.