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athgarvan

Fiachra

FiachraA fairly common first name in Ireland is Fiachra. The original Fiachra was a hermit who lived in Co. Kilkenny in the 7th cent. He was very interested in flowers and vegetables which he cultivated in his little garden and which he often used as cures for local people. Between his holiness and his medicinal plants he soon found his privacy and isolation destroyed.

As many Irish monks of that period did, he took himself off to establish a hermitage in a cave near a spring in France. The local Bishop gave him a little plot to use as a garden and his fame spread and again his little cave became a place of pilgrimage. The Bourbon Royal Family and the great Cardinal Richelieu were said to have had great devotion to St. Fiachra in the 17th century.

Some churches in Paris had St. Fiachra as their patron. One was near the Hotel St. Fiacre which became the terminus for the first public transport - horse-drawn cabs - in Paris. They became known as "fiacres" and taxis in France continue the tradition ever since. So St. Fiachra is the patron of gardeners and taximen - an Irishman who in the best tradition made good as an emigrant!

One of EuropGarden 1e's finest Japanese Gardens forms part of the Irish National Stud in Co. Kildare.     Part of those gardens is St. Fiachra's Garden which seeks to capture that which inspired those involved in Ireland's monastic movement in the 6th and 7th centuries.  It does so principally by paying handsome tribute to the Irish landscape in its rawest state.  Rock and water are rulers in a garden rejoicing in the natural beauty of woodland, wetland, waterfalls, lakes and streams.

Comments

Interesting... but you left out the most important thing for people unfamiliar with Q-Celtic languages: How do you pronounce the name?
Fiachra is pronounced as fee-ac-kra with the stress on the 'fee'.

Edited at 2013-12-08 09:52 (UTC)
I have a small statue of him. He is holding a spade as he is thin that stained glass.I first gave it to my mother many years ago. She was an avid and proficient gardener.
Good for her. Any medicinal skills?
She wasn't an herbalist. But she grew all our vegetables, including potatoes. We had fruit bushes, berries and grapes. As a child I helped her can and make jams. We even made pickles. When it was just she and my father she still had her beloved garden but not as large. Of course, she also did flowers and shrubs. She kept notebooks with drawings of her planting and notes on how they progressed.
Do you still keep up the interest? Isn't it wonderful that people had a garden, time, energy and interest in the past. How people manage in cities and large towns I don't know.
I did in the past. I learned to garden but I never had my mother's "magic touch". She could make any thing grow. Now I live very close to the water and neither the climate nor land is hospitable for gardening. Neither are my "old bones". But I always loved herbs and had an extensive herb garden. I still keep a basic herb garden - mainly in containers as the soil has gotten salted with a couple of floods.