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The Irish For: The weeds and wildflowers that bother and delight the countryside

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15.09.2019

This is the latest dispatch from our columnist Darach Ó Séaghdha, author of the award-winning and bestselling Motherfoclóir. Every Sunday morning, Darach will be regaling (re-Gaeling?) us with insights on what the Irish language says about Ireland, our society, our past and our present. Enjoy.

WHAT MAKES ONE plant a weed and another a flower? It’s something I think about when I see those surprisingly colourful ones blooming at the side of the motorway.

In a way, weeds are like poison in that the definition says more about our expectations of them than their true nature.

Just as poisons and medicines are often the same substances administered in different doses and with different intents, a weed is really just a plant that’s growing where it’s not supposed to. Famously, a rose-bush in a wheat field can be considered a weed.

However, the fact that weeds are able to thrive without human assistance while our lovely hanging baskets and potted herbs need careful regular tending speaks volumes. The world that we want........

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