Days are noticeably shorter, temperatures are dropping, and hibernation feels imminent for many of us in the Irish countryside… but the chilly storm season also marks the time to light up a nice turf fire. This one shows the turf glowing in my office fireplace this morning, while the wind and rain blast outside.
Turf is the local name for peat, which forms in the boglands from all manner of organic matter such as leaves, herbs and roots, left to rot over thousands of years.
Turf fires have long provided both heat and light for Irish cottages, and harvesting turf from the bogs still is a summer tradition for many. The first records suggesting the use of peat for fuel in Ireland date back to the 7th Century, however, it’s likely turf fires date back to the Stone Age.