Straw, Hay & Rushes in Irish Folk Tradition

By Anne O'Dowd

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. *** Straw, Hay and Rushes has been selected the winner of the 2015 ACIS Durkan Prize for Books on Language and Culture. *** "...an inherently fascinating history that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community and academic library collections." -- Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Bookwatch: March 2016, Julie's Bookshelf *** Librarians: ebook available [Subject: Social History, Irish Studies, Folklore, Art History]


Publication Date: 12/22/2015
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9780716533108

Available in other formats