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Offaly man features as RTE features history of commerical turf cutting

Friday, 23rd October, 2009 10:00am

Story by Tom Kelly
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Images of turf cutting can evoke fond memories of Ireland in the past.

The turf harvest was industrialised in the 1940s and 50s. Men came from all over Ireland to work on the Midland bogs and were housed in military style camps. In the 1950s mechanisation eased the hardest labour, but brought fresh dangers for the bog men.

Kie Coughlan from Belmont in West Offaly cycled to work every morning with his friend Joe Flanagan.

But a tragic accident on the bog changed his life forever.

Dick Brennan from Ticknevin, Co Kildare, worked on the bogs in the early days. He emigrated to England when the turf cutting was mechanised, but returned to Ireland in the 1970s. He started the Turf Cutting Festival to keep the memory and skill of the turf cutters alive.

Jimmy Kenny grew up in Ballinlough, Co Roscommon, but was orphaned at birth. He came to the Turf Development camp in Derrinturn, Co Kildare, in 1946 when he was 19-years-old. The life in the camps was harsh and based on strict military lines. But Jimmy fell in love with one of the local girls in Kildare.

The Way We Worked will be broadcast on RTE One on Friday, October 30 at 8.30pm.Images of turf cutting can evoke fond memories of Ireland in the past.

The turf harvest was industrialised in the 1940s and 50s. Men came from all over Ireland to work on the Midland bogs and were housed in military style camps. In the 1950s mechanisation eased the hardest labour, but brought fresh dangers for the bog men.

Kie Coughlan from Belmont in West Offaly cycled to work every morning with his friend Joe Flanagan.

But a tragic accident on the bog changed his life forever.

Dick Brennan from Ticknevin, Co Kildare, worked on the bogs in the early days. He emigrated to England when the turf cutting was mechanised, but returned to Ireland in the 1970s. He started the Turf Cutting Festival to keep the memory and skill of the turf cutters alive.

Jimmy Kenny grew up in Ballinlough, Co Roscommon, but was orphaned at birth. He came to the Turf Development camp in Derrinturn, Co Kildare, in 1946 when he was 19-years-old. The life in the camps was harsh and based on strict military lines. But Jimmy fell in love with one of the local girls in Kildare.

The Way We Worked will be broadcast on RTE One on Friday, October 30 at 8.30pm.

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