William R. Wilde's Loch Coirib - Its Shores and Islands

Chapter 2: Description of Loch Coirib

Bogs and Turf

Chapter 2: Description of Loch Coirib

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Bogs are scarce, and consequently fuel dear, on the south-east shore of the lower moiety of the lake, but plentiful on the west and south, and near Oughterard supply good turf in púcáns, or large lug-sail boats, to the surrounding districts, and even to the town of Galway from whence they bring back cargoes of seaweed for manure. Turf is procured in three ways, accoring to the nature of the boggy material: by the down-cutting or foot slane, a sharp narrow spade, with a wing on one side; by the broad flat "breast slane," which cuts it out in front of the worker; and by raising, mixing, kneading, and forming into loaf-like lumps and then drying, the black mud of old cut-away bogs, and this is called "hand turf." There are several varieties of peat, either owing to the nature or age of the bog: as spadach, a whitish towy stuff, composed of the latest layer of uncompressed sphagnum; brown turf; and black or stone turf, the latter being often used, when charred, for forge purposes.

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