Conkers & Colour
5th Oct 2018
The fruits of the horse chestnut tree are known as conkers. Inside the prickly green casings, you will find these brown, shiny, and hard nuts and they’re still favourites to be collected by children all over Ireland. They used to be collected to play ‘conkers’ and I think it’s high time we resurrected this great game. The horse chestnut was introduced to this country towards the end of the 16th century. It was not until the 19th century that the horse chestnut fruits – the conkers – were recorded as being used for the game of conkers. From that time on, the game’s popularity grew.
The game has 2 players, each with his/her own carefully selected conker, with a hole bored through it, so that it can be put on a string. It is important to have the hardest conker! The basic idea of the game is to strike the opponent’s conker and try to break it. Initially the conker is a ‘none-er’, and its first success (breaking the opponents conker) makes it a ‘one-er’. If it wins again, it takes a score of one for itself as it won, and also takes its opponents score to add to its own. For example, if a ‘six-er’ beats a ‘three-er’, it scores one for the win, and takes the three from the beaten opponent – so the victorious conker is now a ‘ten-er’.
Even though the game is not as popular as it used to be, there are still World Conker Championships every year in England since 1965.
Aside from the conkers, which you will find in abundance in the carpark, the real reason you must visit us at this time of year is the see the Japanese gardens in all its autumnal splendour.
I may be biased, but to me the autumn colour of the Japanese Maples, deciduous Azaleas, Cercydiphyllum etc. in the garden, even supersedes the beauty of the Cherry blossoms in spring. St.Fiachras has its share of colour too with trees such as the Crataegus persimilis, Larch, and our own native species providing a super autumn display.
But don’t take it from me, treat yourself to a feast for the senses and come see for yourself.