Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ireland, 2010 - The Bog

On our fourth day in Ireland we went to one of the local bogs to help our hosts load up some dried turf. Turf in Ireland is kind of like firewood is here in New England, although turf is probably not a renewable resource. Practically speaking, firewood is barely renewable in most of New England. Anyway, it's basically dead plant material that when extracted from the ground dries out nicely and burns much like charcoal briquettes.

Here's a view of the bog with the peat turf hilled up:
Freshly extruded peat:

Stacked for drying:

After initial extruding, the peat breaks up into nice stove-sized chunks:

Part of the bog where the peat is being cut. It can go down six feet or more. After the peat has been removed from a bog, the land will eventually be converted to pasture, although some local farmers told us it's still too soggy for cows:

If I have any facts wrong, I would appreciate thoughtful comments/corrections. The bog is an interesting place.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Knappogue Castle

Knappogue Castle is a popular attraction in County Clare and host to regular "Medieval Night" dinners. Built in 1467, it has a long and varied history. After having been owned by a local farmer in the 1920's, it was acquired in 1966 by Mark Edwin Andrews of Houston Texas, and restored to it's present state. There are a few in-depth histories of the castle on-line, and they are well worth reading.

Here is a view of the tower from the court-yard:

A doorway leading to the banquet hall:

Nice lighting through-out. Maybe next time, we'll visit at night, when everything is lit up as it would have been 500+ years ago...

Window in the great room.

The great room.

View from the gardens, which probably would have looked a lot better if not for the severe Irish winter of 2009-10, which killed off a lot of hedges and plantings.

Next up: Some Irish beaches.