Under a Grey Sky
As early as 1807 it was considered that peat could be used as a commercial fuel, before that any discussion about boglands were concerned with reclaimation for agricultural use. All through the 1800's unsuccessful attempts were made to win turf commercially, and in 1872, when a miners' strike in England increased the price of coal in Dublin by 100%, renewed efforts were made to exploit this natural resource. It was finally achieved by Sir John Purser Griffith at Turraun, Co. Offaly when in 1924 he built a power house, and with fully automatic machines he produced turf of a first class quality. His principles of bog drainage and operating of machines formed the basis on which the Turf Development Board and subsequently Bord na Mona worked, although both made many mechanical improvments. *
The culmination of these commercial efforts is now represented in the black landscapes of developed bogs, but this natural resource is finite and production is estimated to cease within 10 years. Once this happens these exposed landscapes will disappear as the land is put to agricultural and recreational use, along with wind powered energy production, and the visual evidence of such a significant national industry will be hidden. These vast areas reveal a contradiction between the desolation and emptiness of the spaces, and the latent energy they hold for the community. These are negative spaces providing a positive utility, albeit at their own destruction.
*ref C.S. Andrews