independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Remembering the turf cutters

The Kildare turf cutters. (back, from left) John Gaffney O’Sullivan, Michael ‘The Roddy’ Murphy. (middle) Mick Cahill, Maurice O’Connell, John Dennehy, John O'Driscoll , Mikey Joe Burton. (front) Joe O’Shea, Danny McCarthy, Georgie O’Shea. Those in the white coats are unknown.

During the course of the early 1940s, a group of Valentia Islanders worked in Kildare as turf cutters with bord Na Mona.

They were: Johnny Dennehy (Tennis), Maurice O'Connell (Paris), Mick Cahill (Coromore), Michael Murphy ('The Roddy', Corobeg), Martin and Timmy Falvey (Corobeg), Mikey Joe Burton (Tennis), Georgie O'Shea (Feighmane), John O'Sullivan Gaffney (Gortgower), Joe O'Shea (Dohilla), Danny McCarthy (Craw), Bill O'Driscoll (The Mill), John Curran (Caol), Tommy Dennehy (Tennis) and John O'Driscol l(Farranreigh Cross).

The late Joe O'Shea of Dohilla had a local recitation commemorating that era: 'Jim Shea he asked the questions and John Ring he wrote it down, and handed us a voucher saying ye are bound for Robertstown. We placed our foot on an east bound train on a bright mid summer's day, and every station we passed by, we could hear the people say; there go some of our turf cutters, for nine long months they are bound down, cutting turf and digging drains in a bog in Allenstown

The Valentia turf cutters of that era have all passed away, the last survivor being Danny McCarthy of Craw, who passed away at the age of 92 on February 6 last.

Ar dheis Dé go rabhadar.

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