Poppies: Maynooth and China

In a belated effort to improve the horticultural scene in Maynooth we planted a bed of ‘Irish Wildflowers’ in early summer.  Among those that survived the process were some poppies, a surprise as I have not seem many of the once–common poppies in Irish fields.

Then one of my Chinese friends remarked that it is not allow to plant poppies in China – they were the source of the opium that brought so much misfortune on the Chinese people especially when Western powers forced them to open their markets to cheap foreign opium.

In the UK,  poppies are worn in remembrance of the senseless slaughter in World War l and have taken on a patriotic connotation. Maybe it is forgotten that England was one of the countries that forced poppy-derived opium on China less than a hundred years previous to that.

Back in Ireland, unaware of the sad histories, we may just lament the absence of poppies that once made our fields so colourful.

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