Wearing the green preceded by sending the green ?

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Wearing the green preceded by sending the green ?

Post by smcarberry » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:03 pm

Reading these news articles appearing 1885 to 1907, I am led to believe that there was a Clare custom to share shamrocks of the old sod with those who had dispersed around the globe, as a way to celebrate the day. If you have further information, kindly tell us.

Sharon Carberry
O'N shamrocks '07, Stuart Island WA.jpg
O'N shamrocks '07, Stuart Island WA.jpg (53.28 KiB) Viewed 9760 times
Talty's shamrocks in TX 1902.jpg
Talty's shamrocks in TX 1902.jpg (16.65 KiB) Viewed 9760 times
StPat's Day shamrocks 1885.jpg
StPat's Day shamrocks 1885.jpg (42.21 KiB) Viewed 9760 times

Gilligans Lad
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Re: Wearing the green preceded by sending the green ?

Post by Gilligans Lad » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:34 am

I can remenber as a very young child every St.Patricks a small box used to arrive in the post, inside was a bunch of Shamrock complete with a set of small Harp pins,the shamrock was divided up between all of us, (there were nine of us including my mother) and off we went to school or to work as we got older.
The shamrock was sent by mothers family in Ennis I still have a harp pin, a few years ago a friend of ours went to visit her daughter in Nenagh and she brought me back a root of Shamrock from Ennis which is still flourishing to this day, I can't believe my mother lied to me when I was about six years old and I wanted to grow it back then, but she said shamrock would only grow in OULD IRELANDS blessed soil,
Now I am an old fella I say similar thing to my children and grandchildren, whilst they are looking at my pot of Shamrock in the back garden I tell them I had the soil shipped over to England at great cost
They act as though they believe me but I think they are only trying to humour me.
Happy St. Patricks to one and all
regards John

Paddy Casey
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Re: Wearing the green preceded by sending the green ?

Post by Paddy Casey » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:12 am

As you suggest, the idea that shamrock cannot be cultivated outside Ireland is a myth. It is a myth which, I suspect, is carefully cultivated (excuse the pun) by the IASFP&E to protect their market. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that most of the shamrock worn in parades around the world is grown in Sezuan and Peru and shipped to Ireland for packing and distribution to the nostalgic diaspora*.

Curiously, while there is quite an industry engaged in the growing and distribution of shamrock there is also a worldwide community which regards it as a nuisance and is dedicated to its elimination (see, for example, http://www.ehow.com/how_12069144_kill-s ... lants.html). What a pity. With a bit of constructive thinking these two communities ought to be able to collaborate to the mutual benefit of the shamrock and their bank balances.

The shamrock is not the only successful St Patrick's Day export. There is also Magic Irish Dust which was presumably harvested from the vacuum cleaners in the banks and real estate companies during the boom years and is used by Irish teachers in the Far East (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj27JY1gD0I ; thanks to Fíona de Buitléir for flagging this delightful nugget to me).


* Some time ago I had lunch with a man who owns a little chain of those garden centres which sell scented candles and gifts and so forth in the West of Ireland. He amused me with his account of a recent trip to pottery factories in China where he has much of his stuff made. His shops sell, for example, coffee mugs decorated with a large shamrock and the legend "Souvenir from Ireland" or some hackneyed Irish motto. The bases of the mugs bear the words "Made In China". They are a great catch with the tourists who want something authentically Irish to take home.

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Re: Wearing the green preceded by sending the green ?

Post by pwaldron » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:25 am

Those of you among the diaspora probably don't hear the annual publicity about the path worn by successive shamrock-bearing taoisigh to the door of the Oval Office where successive U.S. presidents have been presented with shamrock by the bowlful every St. Patrick's Day for many years now - although some offence was caused by the present incumbent this year, who told the bould Enda Kenny that he doesn't work Saturdays and asked him to call back on Tuesday!

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Re: Wearing the green preceded by sending the green ?

Post by Kevin57 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:15 pm

I remember my Grandmother would get a package of shamrocks every year from Ireland. I am not sure if they were from Clare or Galway but it surely brightened her day!

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Re: Wearing the green preceded by sending the green ?

Post by Jimbo » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:04 am

With regards to sending shamrocks to friends and relatives overseas, I suspect most Irish simply pulled a few shamrocks from their back garden and stuffed them into a personal letter or card and sent them on their way. However, a new addition to my stamp collection might suggest that things weren't quite so simple. Below is evidence that at least in the 1950's there was a special Shamrock envelope that involved Irish science.

Shamrock Envelope (front).jpg
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This envelope, which measures 3½ inches by 3½ inches, appears to have been designed especially for the sending of shamrocks. At the bottom of the envelope it states "free from soil, earth & sand, roots removed."

This specific envelope was postmarked from "Mainistir Na Buille". Most likely purchased at a tourist shop at Boyle Castle. Inside the envelope was empty.

It was postmarked on the 6th of March in 1956 to arrive at its destination by St. Patrick's Day. Amazingly, it was sent from Mainistir Na Buille, Ireland all the way to Seremban, Malaysia. I suspect that the recipient Mr. Eddy Jesudasan was not an Irishman or of Irish heritage. From the surname, my speculation is that Mr. Jesudasan was a Malaysian of Indian subcontinent descent. A Christian, a follower ("dasan") of Jesus ("Jesu").

All fascinating facts, for a stamp collector, but the most interesting feature of this postal cover was on the reverse side. The envelope was created by "Dunmore East Packing Company" of County Waterford, Ireland and above this it stated "Patent Applied For".

Shamrock Envelope (back).jpg
Shamrock Envelope (back).jpg (284.5 KiB) Viewed 4239 times

What type of patent would be involved in the sending of a shamrock in an envelope?

I searched the Irish Patent Office website using all possibilities of "shamrock", "packing", "Dunmore East" but I had no luck whatsoever.


Fortunately searching the American newspaper archives for "Dunmore East" provided an important clue to solving the mystery of the Irish patent:
Science Comes To Aid Of Shamrock
Big Business Ideas Applied to Trade

By Derry Moran
United Press Staff Correspondent

DUNMORE EAST (Ireland) — When the wearers of the green swing through the cities of America this St. Patrick's Day, the shamrock nestling proudly in their lapels will be as fresh as if they'd just stooped and plucked it from an Irish meadow.

Scientific cultivation and packing, plus special freight flights across the Atlantic and the American continent, will have combined to give sons and daughters of the old country the freshest, straightest-from-the-auld-sod three-leaf shamrock that ever left the Emerald Isle.

Right now the Shamrocks are covering six rolling green acres round this quaint, old world County Waterford village on the south-east tip of Ireland, as carefully matured and coddled as prize orchids in an amateur gardener's hothouse.

There are no amateurs round here now, though. Shamrock is big business and a new industry. In Willie Lawler's pub nights, rugged-faced farmers who winters past talked of wheat, barley and spuds now confer over their pints of beer on the advisability of "turning the lower meadow over beyond to raising shamrock for the Yanks."

Gets Big Idea

The man behind the new industry is a resourceful Irish business man, William D Walsh, managing director of the newly established Dunmore East Packing Co.

Two years ago, hit by rising prices where it hurt most in his toy manufacturing business, Bill came to Dunmore for a holiday. In search of new outlets for a keen business mind, he was struck by the lushness of Dunmore's fields and meadows, especially the green shamrocks that blanketed the area.

Then a giant, four-engined trans-Atlantic plane droned overhead en route to Shannon and New York. The two things clicked — the shamrock at his feet and the air giant in the sky; fly shamrock to the States.

Long browsing through reference books and consultations with horticultural experts gave the right type of shamrock to grow. Then came the problem of packing. After wide research Bill and a team of experts hit on a special process which ensures that the leaf's natural freshness is retained. Add to the preserving process a special, Celtic-emblemed transparent plastic box that provides insulation and controls evaporation, and Bill was ready to get to grips with the American market.

Orders Obtained

A trip to the United States secured orders in the big cities and towns of the continent. Last year for the first time thousands of Irish exiles wore shamrock on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) almost in the same condition as it left the old country. This year it will be even better, with another year's research going into the job.

A few days before the holiday, scores of special workers will go out into the fields to begin the harvest. Colleens wading ankle deep through the lush pasture will fill bags with shamrocks, send them to the plant for treatment and packing, and then speed them on their way to Shannon by special convoy.

There the freight holds of giant sky transport will receive the cargo and speed it across the Atlantic to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, Chicago — and your lapel.

The Times Standard, Eureka, California, 12 March 1952
Absolutely fascinating, however, I felt that Mr. Walsh was still a bit coy in describing what science could have been involved in the packing of shamrocks that would allow an Irish patent. Fortunately, the entire process at Dunmore East has been documented in short films from the 1960's on the British Pathé youtube channel. From these short film clips can anyone please identify the process that an Irish patent had been applied for by the Dunmore East Company of County Waterford?


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