Cutting turf 1903 in Kiltoom, Co Roscommon. Hard enough work but great camaraderie in the bog. A meitheal or group of neighbours usually got together. Here one man is at the foot of the bog or the ‘cois’ in Irish levelling the ground with a shovel. Turf would also be spread here to dry as well as on the bank. The other man has the turf spade called a slean or also a ‘slane’ in parts. The donkey with creels is used as is the wooden barrow to move the turf to dry ground. Small bits of soda are called ‘caoráins’ (keerains). Now thanks to EU regulations turf cutting like this is banned. Down at the bottom of the bog when cutting, the turf would be black and when dry be as good to burn as any coal. It would be like cutting butter and I often saw my father doing it barefoot in Kerry. Using the slean was a very skilled job. In the right pair of hands it was a joy to watch the rhythm of the movements, pure poetry. Memories!!!

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One comment

  1. Hi Fred – Thanks for sharing our photograph. We are glad you found it interesting. The Old Ireland in Colour team.


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