Irish Co-Operative Gathers Peat
In this 1920s newsreel, an Irish co-operative digs, stacks and gathers turf. It is an activity involving the whole community – even the local priest is involved in overseeing the sacks of turf loaded onto a barge before being transported by canal.
‘Rathangan’ is inscribed on the side of the barge and a man waves an ‘Up Kildare’ flag in shot. The turf is possibly extracted from the Bog of Allen – a large, raised bogland stretching over 5 counties in Ireland. In the 19th and early 20th century, non-agriculturally viable bogland was Ireland’s primary indigenous fuel resource. It is estimated that 6 million tonnes of sod turf was produced in 1921. In Ireland today a focus has shifted to a more environment-friendly energy production and there has been an attempt to restore Irish boglands.
This film is part of The Irish Independence Film Collection – The Early Irish Free State that explores facets of Irish society after the War of Independence and during the birth of the Irish Republic.