Straw, Hay & Rushes in Irish Folk Tradition
Straw, hay and rushes were utilised throughout the centuries in Ireland for a myriad of uses and practices. In the 18th and 19th centuries travellers to Ireland often wrote disparaging and derogatory accounts of what they saw - saddles of straw, sleeping on rushes, restricting animals with tethers and spancels of bark and animal hair, and wearing crudely-made straw and rush hats. Yet the people who produced and used these objects were both ingenious and thrifty, making use of what they could find at no cost and using their skills to make objects which we now see as having function and beauty.
Anne O'Dowds powerful and lavishly illustrated work looks at the historical context of the making of a range of useful and ceremonial objects, and the folklore and traditions connected with the materials and practices. The book is beautifully illustrated with colour and black and white images and presents a fascinating insight into Irish crafts and customs.