Saturday 4 September 2010

More goose barnacles

Some years ago, a tree stump covered in goose barnacles washed up below Islay Farmers outside Bowmore. Lots of them had opened up showing their filtering tentacles, and which, from their slightly feather-like structure, presumably helped convince the monk that they had some connection with birds. Hundreds of years ago, the Barnacle Geese used to arrive on the west coast of Ireland (where the monk lived) and Scotland in the autumn and depart in the spring and no-one knew where they went. So he was really being quite inventive in suggesting that they came from the goose barnacles. As an unintended consequence, the devout Catholics of western Ireland chose to regard the Barnacle Geese as fish rather than fowl, which thus allowed them to eat the geese on Fridays and during Lent!


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