Connemara Peat Bogs

Leenane Travel Blog

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The landscape around us was now either covered with rocks or black bogs.  Peat from the bogs was useful in heating the modest homes in the area and was much in demand.   One of the local resident men was busy with his "peat digging tool" and Des proceeded to give us "uneducated" Americans a history/geography lesson.  Little did I realize that most, if not all, of the fireplaces in Ireland depended upon the peat from these black bogs.  The farmer would dig and turn chunks of the stuff out of the ground, leaving it to dry in the on-again, off-again sunshine.  After a time, usually four to five days, he would go back to his field and flip the peat chunks over onto their other side to finish the drying process.  This peat is actually a close cousin to coal and creates a very warm heat when it burns.  If it were allowed to stay in the ground another million years or so, it would actually be coal.  As it is, the Irish need it NOW and are not willing to wait another million years to have coal-burning heaters.  The peat of today will work just fine.

After the peat has sufficiently dried on both sides, it is time to harvest the "crop" with help of the family burro.  The little creature will follow his master through the bog fields with his double basket slug over his back.  Piece by piece, the dried peat will be put into the baskets.  When full to the brim, burro and master will deliver their treasure, empty the baskets, and return to the field for another load.  Hour after hour will pass by until all the peat is picked up and taken home.  Patience and hard work will pay off on the cold, wet, and windy days that are so commonplace in this corner of the world.  

Sorry, but no pictures for this blog.  Leigh's earache was forcing her to stay inside the vehicle most of the day.
sylviandavid says:
neat blog... thanks for sharing it.... love the part about the burro.... sylvia
Posted on: Dec 19, 2007
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Leenane
photo by: jason182