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Straw, hay & rushes in irish folk tradition

Author: Anne O'Dowd
Publisher: [Sallins, Co. Kildare, Ireland] : Irish Academic, 2015.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In Ireland, the humble organic materials of straw, hay, and rushes were utilized throughout the centuries for a myriad of purposes. The heyday of their use as objects were the 18th and 19th centuries, when travelers 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  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Anne O'Dowd
ISBN: 0716533103 9780716533108 0716533111 9780716533115
OCLC Number: 910409127
Description: 560 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
Contents: Spreading Rushes in Folklore and History --
St Brigid's Crosses --
Folk Drama, Masking and Straw --
The Last Sheaf, The First Sheaf and Harvest Knots --
Sleeping Arrangements and Conditions --
Seating --
Containers --
Containers for Hens --
Containers for Fishing: Rush and Straw Fish Traps --
Straw for Everyday Clothing --
Animal Restrictions --
Carrying Loads and Produce by Road and Track --
Building Work: Shelters and Homes --
Miscellany.
Responsibility: Anne O'Dowd.

Abstract:

In Ireland, the humble organic materials of straw, hay, and rushes were utilized throughout the centuries for a myriad of purposes. The heyday of their use as objects were the 18th and 19th centuries, when travelers 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 utilized these objects were both ingenious and thrifty, making use of what they could find at no cost and using their learned skills to make objects which are now seen as having not only function but also beauty. Author Anne O'Dowd's powerful and lavishly illustrated book looks at the historical context of the making of a wide range of useful and ceremonial objects, as well as the folklore of belief and custom connected with the materials and practices. The thousand or so objects (made from straw, hay, and rushes) in the National Museum of Ireland's Irish Folklife Collection are the foundation of this study. The book is beautifully illustrated with color/black and white images, and it presents a fascinating insight into Irish crafts and rituals, along with their ancient origins. -- Publisher description.

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