Lack School - 1863 to 1975

A History of the School and its Pupils
by James Hehir


15. Industry

The territory served by Lack school could best be described as low grade farmland and bog. It possessed, however, a couple of unusual and interesting industries. This history records their existence.

(b) Crahera Bog

In the Lack area turf was the main source of fuel for cooking and heating. By the 1930s most of the local bogs were cut away leaving most households with no access to bog within a reasonable distance. The matter was taken up with the Land Commission who sourced a bog at Crahera owned by the O'Dea family. The bog acquired by the Land Commission was in two separate areas. The first consisted of 8 acres and 3 roods and was located north of the main road from Lack to Cranny. The remainder of the acquired bog was located south of the Lack to Cranny road. It was divided into 42 banks each averaging 2 roods 17 square perches. The annual rent in respect of taking turf from the bog was 15 shillings.

The following copy of the map shows the bog as divided.

Crahera Bog 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 Crahera Spa

Crahera Bog - click for full-size image

The following is a list of the households who received divisions of the bog:

NameTown LandPost OfficeNumber on Map
John McGuaneBurrenfadaCranny1
John McNamaraBurrenfadaCranny2
John O'DonoghueBurrenfadaCranny3
Thomas SheedyLisnafahaKildysart4
James ClancyLisnafahaKildysart5
Martin O'NeillLisnafahaKildysart6
Thomas McCarthyLisnafahaKildysart7
Nora HehirLackBallynacally8
John MurphyLackBallynacally9
Michael KellyLackBallynacally10
John McMahonLackBallynacally11
Patrick HehirLackBallynacally12
Josephine BarryLackBallynacally13
Patrick EnrightArdnaglaBallynacally14
Patrick Clancy & Vincent HehirTonlegeeKildysart15
Patrick ClancyGlenconawn BegKildysart16
Mary McNamaraArdnaglaBallynacally17
Patrick ClohessyArdnaglaBallynacally18
John GavinArdnaglaBallynacally19
Patrick Gavin Jnr.LavalaBallynacally20
John Gavin (Michael)MountBallynacally21
Martin GavinMountBallynacally22
Peter MurphyCoolsippeenBallynacally23
Bridget KellyTonlegeeKildysart24
Conor SheehanTonlegeeKildysart25
Michael KellyTonlegeeKildysart26
Michael SheehanTonlegeeKildysart27
ThomasKelly (Phil)TonlegeeKildysart28
Bridget MurphyTonlegeeKildysart29
Michael KingTonlegeeKildysart30
Thomas C. SheehanTonlegeeKildysart31
Patrick GavinCarrow KillaBallynacally32
Patrick McMahonCarrow KillaBallynacally33
Ellen O'DeaCarrow KillaBallynacally34
James GarryCloonfurrishBallynacally35
John McInerneyCloonfurrishBallynacally36
Jeremiah HonanCoolsippeenBallynacally37
Patrick J. CoughlanCoolsippeenBallynacally38
Michael O'TooleInnisdeaBallynacally39
Henry ChambersInnisdeaBallynacally40
Joseph O'SheaInnisdeaBallynacally41
Eugene O'SheaKnock na SaggartBallynacally42
Stephen MooreBallynacallyBallynacally43
Joseph GinnaneInnisdeaBallynacally44

The bog was now drained and a new road built through it giving it access to the road. The tenants commenced cutting turf in their new bog about 1950. From that year through to the 1980s the bog was a hive of activity each year from April to early October. People were cutting turf, saving it and drawing it home.

There was an important social aspect to working in the bog. People took regular breaks from the back breaking work to chat with those working near by or with passers - by. The conversation usually commenced with a review of the weather conditions and moved on a discussion on the condition of the bog and the prospects for the season. Stories from the past were regularly recalled and repeated.

We had the ritual of cooking in the bog. Some specialized on preparing a good meal. It involved the lighting of the fire on arrival, a trip to Meade's well for a tin can of water and the inserting the containers tarrying the milk and butter into the peat to keep them at a nice cool temperature. An appropriate location was selected to set the table. Some liked to rest the tired legs by letting them hang over the bank, others preferred to settle in the heather. The flavor of the bog cooking will remain with everyone who was fortunate enough to experience it.

At Crahera bog we first became acquainted with bog cotton and the various dragonflies that patrolled the various trenches and drains. We also learned the language of the bog. It was the remains of the Irish language which lived on long after it had disappeared from every day use. It included terms such as the 'barr peake' turf spread by the fork in a particular formation close to the bank, the 'kishoch' a bridge connecting the road to the turf bank constructed from local materials, 'grogawns' a small number of sods leaning against each other to accelerate the drying process and of course the 'keerawns' small sods of turf and the 'drea' which was a sleigh drawn by a donkey to move turf about.
As the millennium approached turfcutting went into recline due mainly to the ageing and decline of the local population. Affluence resulted in labor saving methods of cooking such as electricity and gas being installed. The introduction of the turf cutting machine has helped to maintain a presence in the bog throughout the Summer at the beginning of the 21st century.