Because this is a very special week for Ireland (we are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 Rising), I thought that I might share some photos of the boglands at the heart of the country. Normally this is an area that is not shown in the pretty tourist board photos probably because it is not always the easiest place to take nice pictures, unless it is dawn during the winter and the fog sits low over the bog. Then it is gorgeous, but mostly it is just like a colour card for paint in various shades of brown! Seriously though I think that the bog is the backbone of the country and a good representation of life in the countryisde both past and present.
Behind our house is a bog that was once stripped commercially for garden compost, briquettes for the fire or even for fuel for the nearby power station. It has been about 20 years since this land was worked and it is only now that it is beginning to be reclaimed once more by nature.
It may look like quite a barren place but wildlife has once more taken over and when I bring my two mad animals out for a walk on the bog they enjoy nothing more than seeing what they can find and of course chase. It was very funny last week when Fred tried to race a hare the length of the bog. Needless to say that the hare left him eating dust and disappeared form view after a mere 15 seconds. On our daily walks other than hares we have seen many pheasants, snipes, woodcocks, rabbits , long eared owls and foxes.
This is a beautiful piece of bog oak that has been uncovered by the big milling machines. The bog oak that is found in the area is hundreds and thousands of years old, perfectly preserved in the bog. This particular one has been bleached by the sun as it lies still half buried in the ground. It makes me smile every time I walk past it. I just love its bare beauty.
Most Irish people from the countryside will have memories and stories of bringing turf home from the bog during the summer months. I myself grew up in a town and would tease my friends that had to spend their summer hols on the bog. They would head off in the morning with flasks of tea and sandwiches and return home with sore backs and ripened red by the sun. Now my friends laugh at me because I'm the one living in the bog and complaining about having to foot turf.
Even though it is March I still wear my handmade tweed coat whenever I go for a walk. This poor coat has been with me for years ever since I bought it for 1 Euro in a charity shop. Since it makes me look quite chubby, I tend to keep it for gardening and walks. Honestly it is the coat that makes me look plump and not my obsession with biscuits!
Here you can see the different levels of the ground as the machines cut away more at one part of the bog. The land is highest in the background of this picture stepping down into the foreground. In between there are deep drains. Patrick's favourite pass time has to be jumping the drains. Tempting fate a he tries to make it across wider and wider drains followed closely by the two dogs. Needless to say most of the time he comes home covered from head to toe in turf mould. Well I say turf mould because that is what its called by the locals but to the rest of us it would be bog dirt.
Molly on the other hand loves nothing more than swimming her way down the bog in the drains.
There are still some sign of the industry left on this part of the bog but even this is slowly being hidden by nature. Can you see the digger close to the trees in this picture?
Here it may be nothing but a variations of the colour brown but every now and again there is the most beautiful splash of sunshine like this coarse and prickly gorse bush.
That brings us to the end of my local bogland. I hope that you enjoyed it.
P.S. Well Bernie do you miss it at all?