Sabhaircíní : Is this a record?

watercolour by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of primroses in Glendalough

I didn’t believe it when I heard it first but yes, it’s true.  No wonder that Charles Darwin was intrigued.  The humble Primrose produces two different types of flower. One is known as “thrum-eyed” and the other as “pin-eyed” and this subtle adaptation ensures successful cross-pollination by the bees and their fluttering friends in early Springtime.

Yes, March is the month for Primroses. Sabhaircíní in Irish. It might be cold and damp but what a joy to see those pale yellow flowers reappearing under the hedgerows, huddling together by the roadside, spreading out across the ditches and proclaiming to the world that Spring is definitely here.

Now, I can imagine that Darwin was quite pleased with himself when he discovered those pins and thrums for the first time but really, was it such a big deal? – See below – see what I discovered the other day in Glendalough. Most of those Primroses have five petals as you might expect – but look closer – one flower has SIX!

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of primroses
Is this a record?

Before I continue, let me tell you that you can actually eat Primrose flowers (not that I advise it) but they say that “an infusion of the flowers was formerly considered excellent against nervous hysterical disorders.  Primrose Tea, drunk in the month of May is famous for curing the phrensie.” You can read all about that here

Ní fada anois go mbeidh na sabhaircíní ag bláthú thíos faoi sceacha ar fud na tíre. Bíonn cinn álainne le feiscint i nGleann dá Locha ach is dóigh go mbeidh cinn le feiscint pé áit in Éirinn ina bhfuil tú.

Anois, ní fhaca mise síog riamh (ach ní hé sin le rá nach bhfuil siad ann). Deirtear go bhfuil siad an-cheanúil ar na sabhaircíní agus, má fheiceann tú paiste mór desna bláthanna séimhe seo faoi bhláth, bí cinnte go bhfuil bealach isteach go dtí ríocht na sí áit eicint ina láir.

Deirtear freisin gur féidir leat na síoga a fheiscint má itheann tú bláth nó dhó desna sabhaircíní seo ach ní mholainn é sin duit.  Bain súp as an radhairc ach fág na bláthanna sa talamh!

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Glendalough

Agus mé ag trácht ar bhláthanna, ba mhaith liom a rá libh faoi thaispeántas deas atá ar siúl faoi láthair i nGailearaí Náisiúnta na hÉireann.  ‘Drawn from Nature’ an teideal atá air agus tá saothar ann le cara liom, Yanny Petters, i gcuideachta ghrúpa ealaíontóirí mór le rá.

Sliocht ón suíomh idirlíona:

    …Spanning almost 300 years, artists include William Kilburn, Ellen Hutchins, George Victor Du Noyer, Lady Edith Blake and Wendy Walsh. These pioneering men and women have made significant contributions to art, science and our understanding of the natural world.  Inspired by Patricia Butler’s book “Irish Botanical Illustrators and Flower Painters”, the exhibition features prints, drawings and illustrated books from public and private collections in Great Britain and Ireland.

“Drawn from Nature” exhibition


  1. St Patrick only had 3 leaves, thus St Kevin had 6! Double your odds with St.Kevin!!
    Great article Eoin.
    Stay safe kk


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