Photo: Bridget O’Connor


Shlawns or Sleáin

This poor man when he was breaking his back cutting turf in some midland bog sometime in the last century never dreamed that one day he would be famous on the internet.

The sight of him working his slean and Kate Ahern from California with a totally different method of turf cutting prompted Vincent Carmody to share a few thoughts with us about his experience of this implement.

“….I was going to to explain to you about the different type of Sleans, however I desisted, as people would say, Carmody thinks he knows everything !!. However,as  I have been involved in helping, cutting, and saving my families and my own turf since the 1950s up to the present day, you might say I have a little experience.  


The type that is used up the country is called a breast slean, is is amenable for a one or two man exercise, with this slean the cutter has more control and can deposit the cut sod up on the bank in one movement. If needed, he could have a second man spreading the cut turf on the bank, With the one used in North Kerry, you had the cutter, who cut the sod which fell forward off the slean, the breancher ?  He was positioned in front of the sleanman, he would pike the sod up on the bank as soon as it fell from the slean, Then, in North Kerry fashion, a third man, overhead on the bank, he was known as the spreader, would spread the turf as far out on the bank as was required by however deep down in the bog hole they were cutting. 

A lot of people would cut the turf down to the mud. The depth of bogs varied, Shallow bogs might be only 2 sods deep, whereas, in the likes of Lyre or up the midlands, the bank could be, 8, 10 or even more sods deep. “



Listowel Primary Care Centre Update

I took this photo  last week. It looks like the building of this huge facility is nearing completion.

This picture gives you a better idea of where the Primary Care Centre is located.


Away with The Fairies in Rathea

Years ago a man and his wife and daughter who were living in Rathea were coming home from town in a horse and car. Himself and his daughter was sitting in front and his wife was sitting behind. They came on to Pike glasha where the horse took a drink. 

When they were coming up the hill he missed his wife from behind him and he says “God help me my heart is broke from her”. She was in the habit of getting the falling sickness. He knew there was no use in looking for her for he always said that the good people had something to do with her. 

He came home cráite and he told a few of the neighbours that his wife was missing and they came to the house to spend the night with him. About midnight the door opened and in walked his wife with a riding switch in her hand and they all knew that the riding switch didn’t belong to the house nor any of them never see it before. She faced the ladder that was near the dresser and went up a few steps and put the switch on the top of the dresser saying as she did so “Gearoid’s pony won the race tonight”. With that she fell into one of her fits and when she got out of it she said “My cure is over in the holy water stone in the Teampaillin if anyone has courage enough to bring me a drink of water it will cure me. 

The only one that consented to go was her daughter and a neighbouring boy. Away they wint and they couldn’t make out the stone. The daughter wouldn’t come home without the water and she called a neighbour living near the Teampaillin and he came and his dog followed him. The dog happened to run on before them. When they were nearing the stone he was struck and ran away

yelling and they found the stone and got the water. She brought it home and gave it to her mother and she got alright. Some of the water fell on the daughter’s hand she rubbed her hand to her eye and she was blind for the remainder of her life in that eye and the two men that were with her one of them got a sudden death and the other one was crippled for life.

Seán Treannt
Rathea, Co. Kerry
Rathea, Co. Kerry