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Kettle - Fire - Turf

enjoy music while reading:   Cup of Tea
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Mullet Peninsula

Mullet Peninsula

Paddy was trapped in a bog and seemed a goner when Big Mick O'Reilly wandered by. "Help!" Paddy shouted, "Oi'm sinkin'!"
"Don't worry," assured Mick. "Next to the Strong Muldoon, Oi'm the strongest man in Erin, and Oi'll pull ye right out o' there."
Mick leaned out and grabbed Paddy's hand and pulled and pulled to no avail. After two more unsuccessful attempts, Mick said to Paddy, "Shure, an' Oi can't do it. The Strong Muldoon could do it alone mebbe, but Oi'll have to get some help."
As Mick was leaving, Paddy called "Mick! Mick! D'ye think it will help if Oi pull me feet out of the stirrups?"

Mullet Peninsula

On a grey and rainy day the moorlands fill all expectations one may have of Ireland's boggy areas. A sad, melancholic feeling lies over the wet soil, but also silence, unknown and attractive for those who live in bigger towns. A clear day dives the bog in amazing colours. For people in rural Ireland turf is still a natural source to heat the houses either with the chimney or through turf powerstations (see last picture)

Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Mullet Peninsula
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Barnatal

Barnatal - Turf

Covering 1,200,000 hectares (1/6th) of the island, 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 now have an increased importance to the scientific community, as well as the tourist industry.

Read on and get basic information about the history of Irish bogland written by Patrick Abbot. For a deeper insight I recommend the Peat Society.

Barnatal - Turf

A typical scenery in the north-east of Ireland. The turf is piled up to dry, which needs about four weeks. After peeling the sod the bog is cut in two or three phases. Not many places appear as clean as this one in County Mayo. Many of the Irish bogs are dumping blackspots.

Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Barnatal
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Barnatal

Barnatal - Turf

This boy showed us the traditional way to cut the peatbog to handy pieces. In a family that still has own peatland everybody has to lend a hand for help. The tool is especially made for this task, but it's still hard work.

Barnatal - Turf

When we passed this place, no one was around, only the tools were left as witnesses of work. But as we walked closer a car stopped on the street and the boy jumped out, in fear, I guess, we would steel the tools as souvenirs. Painful experience?

Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Barnatal
Images of Ireland - Turf

Piece of turf

But to be honest, we couldn't leave without grabbing one piece of turf. Call me nuts, but every now and then I burn a little piece over a candle and enjoy the smell.


Digging the bog brings things up to daylight that were hidden in the underground for hundreds of years. This piece of bogwood is about 5000 years old and was found in Belmullet, County Mayo. I got it as gift with the task, to give it to a sculptor, but I love it as it is, rough and natural. Ronnie Graham from Kirvana is an excellent sculptor of bogwood that is hard as stone. Each piece seems to hide it's own personality. Locked in the bog without oxygen the wood keeps the shape for ages. It's fascinating to touch such a witness of ancient times, a very special feeling.

Images of Ireland - Bogwood
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Mullet Peninsula

Mullet Peninsula

What is romantic for tourists is tough reality for Irish farmers. Everything has to be prepared before the winter comes, even earlier, cause the rain would wet the turf too much. It has to be dry and in the shed before October.


When at last the work is done the big leather - chair invites to sit down and take a rest. And when the fire starts burning and the smell of turf arises it's such a cosy and comfortable feeling that every painful effort of work is forgotten in a second.

Images of Ireland - Kettle
Images of Ireland - Turf Fire

Turf Fire

What a drive that was, three hours on one side of Killary Harbour, Co. Mayo, three hours back on the other side, Co. Galway. The road seemed to have no end. Narrow, winding streets of course and a stop every mile to take a picture of the scenic landscape. How exhausted I was when at last reaching the most eastern corner of Connemara. But the fire was waiting for the tired visitor and I drowned in Irish hospitality.


May you always be blessed
with walls for the wind,
a roof for the rain,
a warm cup of tea by the fire,
laughter to cheer you,
those you love near you,
and all that your heart might desire.

Images of Ireland - Teatime
Images of Ireland - Co.Mayo - Mullet Peninsula

Mullet Peninsula

The private use of turf for fire isn't a big problem for natural resources, but the industrial production is indeed. Big roaring machines rip hundreds of hectare of peatland, deeper than handwork would do. They leave deep wounds in the ground and the compression causes many problems in the ecologial system.

Peat - Powerstation

Close down ALL Peat Fired Power Stations NOW
Producing energy using Peat from virgin boglands is like burning rainforests to make electricity. Ireland's Peat-fired power stations are EATING up some of the world's last remaining boglands. Most of the peat from Bord Na Mona's workings in North Mayo go to feed the Bellacorrick Power Station, the only Peat fired power station West of the River Shannon. This archaic monstrosity sits in the middle of an enormous bog and looks fantastically ugly and fantastically out of place. It was built in 1962 and is well past its life now. It is so inefficient that most of its combustible fuels spew out of its chimney. Due for closure before 2004, this monstrosity should be shut down immediately. Its emissions are well in excess of EU permitted levels and the damage it causes to the surrounding boglands is intolerable. Despite the idiotic comments of several local Mayo County Councillors about fighting to keep the power station open for the sake of a few score jobs, this "pollution machine" has to go now.No amount of jobs can replace the irreplaceable bogland ecology - fast disappearing under the weight of the Irish government's total ignorance of the country's environmental value.
Source: Environment watch Ireland
Images of Ireland - Powerstation

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