Table of Contents
- Written by Holly Hughes on December 13, 2021
Don’t you love how every flower is never just a flower – it is a symbol of national identity, or intense personal emotion, or a vital link to our long-lost ancestors and heritage. To celebrate this power, we’re looking at the native flora of Ireland and their Celtic symbolism.
So the next time you take a trip to the Emerald Isle – or simply wish to bring a bit of that famous Irish luck into your home or garden – you’ll know exactly what to look for!
Celtic flower meanings
In Celtic mythology, particularly in Ireland, plants carry much symbolic meaning. Flowers grown in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are imbued with emblematic Celtic power. So powerful is this symbolism that many of these Celtic flowers are still named as the official flora of these nations today.
For example, the Scottish thistle (the Celtic flower name is Cluaran na h-Albann) is believed to have saved a group of Celtic warriors from invasion by a Norse army. One of the invading troops, walking barefoot in the ambush, stood on the prickly flower which caused him to cry out in pain and thus alert the Scottish Celts to the threat of attack. It remains the national flower of Scotland today.
In Wales, daffodils are the national flower and are also associated with Celtic heritage, though the source of this association is unknown.
And what is the flower of Ireland to carry a Celtic meaning? Read on to find out!
What is the official flower of Ireland?
Ireland’s national flower is the shamrock. In the Irish language, it is called “seamróg” which means “summer plant”.
The shamrock, as an Irish flower symbol, is believed to have been important in Druid culture in Ireland. This tiny, three-leafed plant resembles a triskel and thus held enormous power amongst the Celts.
Druids believed that the most powerful things in the world came in threes, from the phases of the moon to the ages of man. Thus this three-leafed plant was held in high regard in Ireland as it symbolised the holy trinity in which all life existed.
The shamrock took on new meaning during the time of St Patrick, now Ireland’s famous patron saint. He used the symbolism of this plant – which he knew to be important to pagan culture – to explain Christianity. Thus, this small, seemingly insignificant plant (which is actually a weed!) became the vehicle that spread religion across Ireland and is now considered to be Ireland’s country flower.
And of course we know all about the symbolism of the four-leafed clover and the luck of the Irish!
What flowers are native to Ireland?
There are many flowers from Ireland that hold a special significance in Irish culture, as well as being a beautiful sight in the nation’s fields, hedgerows and gardens. Let’s have a look at some of Ireland’s flowering plants.
Despite occasionally being known as the English primrose, this perky yellow flower is also native to Ireland. The word primrose means ‘first flower’ (its Irish name is ‘sabhaircín) and springs from the fact that this plant sprouts up at the beginning of each year in Ireland.
These native Irish wildflowers were also believed to be sacred by the Celts in Ireland. They have long been used in homeopathic concoctions to cure all manner of ailments including burns, toothaches, headaches and jaundice.
This is an important blossom in Irish history as it is a symbol of remembrance for the men and women who died fighting for Ireland’s freedom as well as symbolising Christ’s resurrection at Easter time. Blooming in the Spring, it is a meaningful tribute to the nationalists who fought in the 1916 Easter rising, which led to Ireland being declared a republic.
Preferring a cool climate and moist soils, these beautiful, trumpet-shaped flowers unsurprisingly thrive in the rich, damp earth of Ireland.
Early Dog Violet
Purple blossoms abound in Ireland, from the homey spattering of heather to the delicate early dog violet. With five dainty violet petals and heart-shaped leaves, this beautiful plant particularly loves a shady spot in a wooded area.
If you would like to bring some of Ireland’s lush woodlands into your garden and are living in a cooler violet, why not plant some of these stunning violets? They bloom in late spring and early summer so get planting! Or just get a beautiful bouquet of purple Irish flowers delivered with 1800 Flowers or EnjoyFlowers.
What Irish flowers are used for funerals?
Symbolising the restoration of innocence to a departed soul, lilies are traditionally used as funeral flowers in Ireland. Its elegant white petals denote purity and sympathy. Roses in both red and white variations are also commonly used in funeral arrangements.
However, more important than the type of blooms used in funerals in Ireland, is the way they are arranged. Traditional funeral flower crosses are very popular as a symbol of faith in Ireland. Using a range of flowers from roses to orchids interspersed with dark green foliage, funeral crosses are often sent to grieving parties in Ireland as an expression of sympathy that brings comfort to those coming to terms with their loss.
You can browse a selection of meaningful and beautiful funeral arrangements at FromYouFlowers or SendFlowers.
Which plant is a symbol of Northern Ireland?
Given the important linen industry Northern Ireland is famous for, flax is widely considered to be the symbol of Northern Ireland.
However, the shamrock here too carries weight and is often another plant credited as the national flora of this small nation.
And there you have it, the briefest of deep dives into the many symbolic plants blooming across Ireland! If you are now dying to infuse your home with the verdant foliage of that historic isle, why not order some blooms from some of our favourite flower delivery services. For fast delivery, intoxicating variety and great affordability you can’t go wrong with any of the below!
Flower Delivery Options
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat!
(Good luck in Irish)
Writing Sympathy Cards: A Guide to Meaningful Messages
Written by TopFlowerDelivery Team on June 05, 2023 During times of grief, words often fall short. Yet, it’s during these times that a simple, thoughtful message can bring a glimmer...
03 June 2023
Understanding the Symbolism of Funeral Flowers
Written by TopFlowerDelivery Team on June 05, 2023 The tradition of sending flowers to a funeral is a meaningful way to pay tribute to the life of a loved one...
03 June 2023
How to Send Flowers to a Funeral in Another State
Written by TopFlowerDelivery Team on June 05, 2023 In times of grief, one of the most touching ways to express your condolences and show support is by sending flowers to...
03 June 2023