Press Release: 20th August 2014
The legendary Fionn Mac Cool and his band of Fianna had the Hill of Allen as their base for special training operations which they carried out in the Bog of Allen around them. This and other legends are recounted in the collection of stories for children written by Patricia Lynch and published in a book called The Turf Cutter’s Donkey.
The poet William A. Byrne (1872-1933) from Rathangan was inspired by this area to write the beautiful lines of the poem Song of a Turf Sod
“Draw inyour stools, good folk, for heating,
And gaze into mine eyes,
And see what sets the kind hearts beating,
Where the lonesome cricket cries.”
Turf is still cut in the Bog of Allen using machinery and earlier this year a turf cutting and footing competition was held in the Kilmeage area. This follows a tradition going back to 1934. Indeed the fastest turf cutter in the country – Christy Daly – lived in Lullymore and was reputedly able to cut 100 sods of turf per minute!
A new project is underway supported by Kildare County Council to characterise the unique meaning, value, and character of this area and its community. The project led by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council will be published on line at www.ipcc.ie as an Atlas of the Culture, Heritage and Economic Resources of Lullymore. The study area is an 8km zone around the Lullymore Island in all directions.
The natural wildlife and habitats in the area are a major attraction for tourists and these include the Grand Canal and the Barrow walking routes, the preserved bogs of Lodge and Lullymore West and stunning Killinthomas Woods. Wildlife abounds with 92 birds, 22 butterflies, 4 mammals, 108 frog records and 49 wetlands already documented by the project researchers. While every town in the area is an opportunity to meet friendly people – Robertstown and Rathangan are very picturesque. The historical Carbury Hill and the Hill of Allen are worth visiting and the centres at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre and Lullymore Heritage Park have programmes to help visitors get a unique experience of the story of this area.
During Heritage Week, Dr Catherine O’Connell of the IPCC will give a slide show on the Heritage and Culture of Lullymore at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre, Sunday 24th August from 2-5pm. The talk will be followed by a walk in the area. There will be activities for children. Admission is free.
Further Information: Irish PEatland Conservation Council, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co. Kildare, tel: 045-860133, email: email@example.com