I wrote recently about Irish bogs and how they have been the source of many amazing archaeology finds. Well this weekend in my adventures around Kerry I went to the bog!
Growing up in Kerry you're never too far from a bog and many Irish children will have memories of spending summer days in the bog footing and turning turf. Turf is used a fuel and burnt in open fires and stoves. If you've ever been to a pub with an open fire in Ireland you've probably gotten that lovely smell of a turf fire. Before this turf can be drawn home it needs to be cut and dried out in the bog.
Turning turf involves going along the line of cut turf and turning it over so that it can begin to dry out. Once you've left the turned turf in the sun for a few weeks/days (depending on the Irish weather!) it's time to begin footing the turf. This involves gathering the sods of turf and standing them on end balanced against each other so they can dry further in little mounds.
It might sound like pleasant enough work on a summers day but when you're looking down a 100 yard row of turf that needs to be turned your back aches at the thought of it! That's why it was so lovely to go back to the bog this weekend on a warm summers day with no risk of having to partake in any back breaking work!
You may have noticed from the photos that the landscape of the bog is made up of very different plants and flowers. Probably the most striking of these is the bog cotton. Perfectly white lumps of what looks like cotton which grow in abundance. The 'cotton' is actually fine strands of modified petals blows in the wind and allows the plant to disperse its seeds. On the day we visited the bog the cotton was in full flower and looks so lovely against the black peat soil. I took lots more photos of my trip to Kerry so I will be sharing those with you all next week...