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Saturday 17 November 2018

Legal Advice: Can I stop this man cutting turf on my bog?

Picture; Gerry Mooney
Picture; Gerry Mooney

Deirdre Flynn

I bought an old house recently and was told by my solicitor that I have rights to cut turf on a local bog with the house. However, when I went to investigate my plot I found another man is using that part of the bog.

He says he bought it off the previous owner and he’s entitled to use it. However I see no evidence of this and the bog is clearly on the deeds I have. What can I do to find out more and how can I stop him cutting turf from my bog?

Turbary Rights are a common issue in the rural community and one which can unfortunately cause some confusion. The rights were formerly granted and administered by an Estate landlord who would allocate a specific bank of turf to each of his tenant farmers. The management of the banks of turf was usually taken over by the Land Commission when it acquired the Landlord’s estate.

A right of turbary in relation to bogland, in its simplest form, means the right to cut and carry away turf from a specific plot of bogland and includes the right of preparing and storing on the bogland any turf that you cut from it.  

In your particular case, you say you bought an old house recently with the right to cut turf on a local bog. This could very well be the case, and is the case if the right of turbary appurtenant to that dwellinghouse is registered on your folio. The right to cut turf for fuel in a house does not attach to land but only attaches to a dwellinghouse situate on the lands.  It is also important to note that the extent of the right is limited to the fuel requirements of the dwellinghouse – it is not a right to cut and sell turf.

You go on to say that when you went to investigate the plot, you found another man using it. This would not be unusual as the right of turbary is generally in common with others so you will not be the only person to cut turf from the plot.

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This man alleges that he purchased it from the previous owner and he is entitled to use it. I wonder if you mean he purchased the bog or the right of turbary? Any person with a right of turbary only does not actually own the bog, they only have a right to cut turf from that plot. You say the bog is clearly on the Deeds that you have, but only the right to cut turf would be on your Deeds if your solicitor confirmed that you have rights to cut turf- you would not own the bog. Likewise, this other man could have purchased property with the rights to cut turf. You should go back to your solicitor and clarify that you only a right of turbary with the house and do not actually own the bog. You should also clarify again which plot of turf you have a right of turbary over and your solicitor can do this for you.

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The person who owns the bog is the person who has such title to the bog that entitles him or her to grant rights of turbary over it. It must be a greater interest than simply a turbary right. In order to ascertain who actually owns the bog, your solicitor can carry out a search on the Land Registry website. 

It is imperative that before you say any further to this other man cutting the turf that you clarify firstly what rights you yourself have over this plot, and secondly, do a search to see who actually owns the bog. Your solicitor can help with you this.

Rights of turbary can prove to be a contentious issue but it is always wise to firstly clarify your own position before doing anything further.

Deirdre Flynn is from a farming background and practices as a Solicitor at Deirdre Flynn Solicitors, Cathedral View, Ardfert, Co. Kerry Tel: 066 7115695   Email: info@deirdreflynnsolicitors.ie

The information in this article is intended as a general guide only. While every care is taken to ensure accuracy of information provided, Deirdre Flynn does not accept responsibility for errors or omissions howsoever arising. You should seek legal advice in relation to your particular circumstances at the earliest possible time.


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