Ireland's Bogs...Thousands of Years in the Making
So What is a Bog?
Bogs have been a part of the Irish landscape for thousands of years and the practice of cutting turf for fuel dates back centuries. A bog is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material. Bogs occur where the water at the ground surface is acidic and low in nutrients. A bog both grows and expands, burying whatever lies in its path. There are discoveries of stone field walls, houses, even tombs, long buried under the encroaching bog.
Peat Cutting and Turf Cutting, Narrated by Dr. John Kerr
"The Rattlin' Bog", some fun with The Corries
Visit their website at www.thecorries.com
Why and How is Turf Cut from the Bog?
Ireland and Finland are the only countries in the world that utilize peat for fuel. Cutting turf from the bogs for the family fire is a centuries-old tradition and has been done by hand, and now machine, by individual Irish farmers and families for centuries. Turbary, or the right of private individuals to cut turf for domestic use has been carried on in Ireland for hundreds of years. In the past, every farmer and family had their own turf bank to cut. The turf was dried and used as fuel for cooking and heating in homes. Today this tradition continues and turf is burned in fireplaces all over Ireland. For the 'how' of turf cutting (the names and pictures of the special, regional spades, etc) read this great article at
Interesting Turf Facts
Cutting turf used to be the only way to get fuel for many rural Irish families. Today, however, turf is sold in compressed briquettes in supermarkets throughout Ireland and is not the only source of fuel available. Turf burns cleaner than coal, with a slightly blue smoke and a pleasant smell that is distinctive to Ireland, as it is made up of indigenous plants and plant materials.. About one sixth of Ireland's electricity is generated from peat, including the generators at Shannon Airport. Peat moss is used for gardening and horticulture. For "A Brief History of the Peat Industry in Ireland" read Donal Clarke's article at http://www.heartland.ie/articles/brief-history-peat-industry-ireland