Ivy has many superstitions and beliefs attached to it.
Because it had the ability to form dense thickets in woodland, grow where other plants could not and block out the light from even the mighty oak, ivy was believed to be very powerful by the Druids, more powerful than its enemy, the vine and quite sinister.
The ivy and the vine have been seen as enemies since ancient times. This seems odd since the same Greek and Roman gods are associated with each.
Bacchus, god of wine
In Greek mythology ivy was sacred to Osiris and also associated with Dionysus. In Roman mythology Ivy was connected to Bacchus, the god of wine as it grew over his home land.
Bacchus is often portrayed wearing an ivy crown, perhaps because this was once thought to prevent intoxication. The poisonous berries of the ivy, when ground into a powder were also once believed to be a hangover cure.
The link between Bacchus and ivy was taken over to England where old English Taverns would display ivy above their doors indicating the high quality of their drinks.
The proverb ‘Good wine needs no bush’, meaning good wine speaks for itself, comes from this practice.
Protection from evil
In old Ireland ivy was thought to provide protection from evil when growing on or near to a dwelling.
However, if it should die or fall down then misfortune would fall upon those therein.
Ivy was often carried by young women for good luck and fertility. Used at weddings intertwined with holly, the ivy would symbolise fidelity and at Yule-tide, would bring peace to the household.
Ivy was also linked to inspiration and worn by poets in the form of a crown.
Share a special moment with someone you love
Two hearts come together as one in this delightful sterling silver necklace
Did you know?An Irish schoolteacher has created a brilliant YouTube video explaining the history of Ireland in just six minutes. It’s brilliantly done and makes learning both fun and engaging for children and also adults. Find out more.
Have you heard about…Are you a Celt? Or a Gael? Viking or British? Well it might depend on where you come from in Ireland according to a new study. A genetic map has been created by researchers that reveals the impact of immigration, invasion and plantation throughout Irish history. Find out more.
What about this…The Incredible life of Irish American Molly Brown saw her labelled ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’ by the media after surviving several disasters including the sinking of the Titanic. Find out more.