Day in the Bog

Day in the Bog ~ Image Courtesy of Think you are from Adara

Turf Cutting Season

One of Ireland's most characteristic features is its bogs, which cover 1, 200, 00 hectares (1/6) of Ireland. Ireland contains more bog, relatively speaking, than any country in Europe except Finland. With many of the bogs in the rest of Europe already gone, Ireland’s bogs now have an increased importance among the scientific community, as well as within tourism industry.

Turf (dried out peat sods) is very commonly used in rural areas as a means of fuel. Its use as a fuel for domestic use began at least 1300 years ago when peat lands were more widespread.

Cutting of turf is done in the summer months, turning each sod of turf to ensure the sun and wind can help in the drying process. The turf is then placed upright or 'footed' for further drying.

Footing the turf is a back-breaking job and involves placing five or six sods of turf upright and leaning against each other with the ‘big side up and the wet side out’.

Finally, the turf was brought home and stored in sheds or ricks. The turf is mainly cut by machine nowadays, but saving the turf still involves lots of work and requires good weather.

There are two types of Bogland in Ireland;

Blanket Bogs are expansive, generally formed in wet or upland areas.
Raised Bogs are smaller, generally formed in lowland areas.

In the Republic of Ireland, a state-owned company called Bord na Móna is responsible for managing peat production. It produces milled peat which is used in power stations. It sells processed peat fuel in the form of peat briquettes which are used for domestic heating

Some Scotch whisky distilleries, such as those on Islay, including Lagavulin, use peat fires to dry malted barley. This gives some whiskies a distinctive smoky flavour, often called "peatiness".