Turf cutting in Imane Bog during the Emergency

Extract from Killererin - A Parish History, published in 2015

Road made through Imane Bog

During the Emergency in the war years, the County Councils took over the bogs for turf-cutting.  Galway Co. Council drained and made a road through Imane bog in 1939. The turf-cutting scheme provided employment for local people and those in surrounding areas.

Local Turf-Cutters

Some of the local turf-cutters were Jeremiah Kirwan, Jimmy and Paddy Lohan, Lissavalley; Tom Daly, Dangan and Paddy Synge Peak who cut all the turf by slane. At that time, there were 2 types of barrows used in the bog; 1 for spreading the wet turf and a creel type barrow for putting out the dry turf on thre roadside. Local men and women were employed in the footing of the turf, making turf into “growgeens” (heaps). Women that worked footing the turf included Del Dolan and her sisters from Dangan; Rita Courtney (Donnellan) Imanemore; Mary Mulhall, Derrybaun and Bridie Lohan, Lissavalley.

Tea Boys

Tea boys were employed to bring water from the wells to make tea and also to bring fresh water to the workers to drink as it was thirsty work. As well as the barrows, donkeys and carts, home-made converted cars from which the chassis was used, all brought the turf from the bank to the roadside.

Transporting the Turf

Ten to 12 lorries transported the turf from the bog to the train station in Tuam where it was emptied and loaded on to big wagons. The drivers from this area were Mick Comer and his brother Luke from Barnaderg and Vincent Hanrahan, Fortyacres. The train brought the turf to the Phoenix park in Dublin where it was distributed to households in the Dublin area. It was said at the time that turf stacks were a mile long in the Phoenix Park.  The turf was sold by cubic measure and the price was calculated to be approximately 3d a ton. John King, Patrick McHugh, John Sullivan and Michael Lyster from the village all worked in the bogs. Later on tom Dolan from Abbert who owned a Fortson Major tractor and trailer began bringing the turf from the bank to the roadside.

Locals not allowed to cut turf

Locals were not allowed to cut the turf without prior permission from Galway Co. Council  Cunnane’s were the first in the village to get permission to cut turf after The Emergency[1].

Turf-cutting today

Turf-cutting continues to this day in all corners of the parish and is the main source of domestic fuel in the majority of houses in the parish.  Currently, there is a heated debate being carried on between environmentalists who want to preserve the bogs for posterity and those who want to continue cutting turf for their own domestic use.  It is a debate that will not be settled before the publication of t his book.

[1] Information from John Cunnane, Imanemore.

This page was added on 16/07/2018.

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