How many Irish childhood's involved raking up ashes of the previous night’s turf fire?
How many of us have inhaled the special earthy herbal aroma of burning sods of turf?
And how often did we warm ourselves by the hearth, the very heart of Irish homes in days gone by?
Irish thatched cottages had a fireplace in every room and when autumn or fall days began to get a little nippy, a turf fire was set in each hearth.
This week's Irish American Mom giveaway is one that should stir memories of the hearths and homes of our Irish childhoods, or rekindle fond thoughts of heartwarming travels in Ireland.
Now that summer is over, I thought it would be the perfect time to host a giveaway for some Irish turf so you can be stocked up before the days turn cold.
One lucky reader will win an Irish Turf Gift Basket containing about 30 pounds of naturally dried Irish turf or Irish fire logs. There are about 14 to 16 sods in this gift basket. Irish American Mom will purchase the turf from the Food Ireland website for the winner.
Please note this post contains affiliate links.
These sods of peat were harvested from County Clare, in the Cappabane Mountain Bog and were seasoned for one year after being cut. Burning this turf in an open fire will fill your room with a distinctive scent that is truly Irish.
New regulations limit the amount of turf being cut in Ireland each year, and vast stretches of bogs have now been declared as Special Areas of Conservation.
And so, before Irish turf is as scarce as hen's teeth or feathers on a fish, let's experience burning a few of these old sods and enjoying the amazing aromatics associated with a real Irish turf fire.
Before I share the giveaway details, let's first enjoy a few more photos of Irish turf and a few sayings and proverbs to go along with them.
Turf was a vital commodity in Ireland in years gone by. Without turf harvested by the autumn, a family in centuries past would have a long, cold winter ahead of them.
Here's a saying that highlights how much the Irish valued turf.
"He who has water and peat on his own farm
has the world his own way."
This is sometimes expressed slightly differently and goes like this...
"He who has water and turf on his own land
has the world sitting square."
The photo above shows how turf was loaded on to boats to be brought to the Aran Islands for winter fuel. There is no fuel on these isolated islands in the Atlantic ocean, so inhabitants had to bring the turf home from the mainland. They were keenly aware of this old saying ....
"Talking never brought the turf home."
This next saying highlights how the rich are often considered wiser than the poor...
"Two thing that go to loss:
turf on a mountain
and the wisdom of a poor man."
Here's an expression from Ulster and Ireland's northern counties. A waen is a child in the north, and is pronounced wane. It comes from a combination of the two words wee and one.
and not a waen in the house washed,
nor a turf turned."
Here's one of my favorites and it exemplifies the Irish way of looking on the bright side of life.
"It could be worse now if the ass died
and the turf still in the bog."
You could be abandoned by your wife or husband, but life would be worse if you had no turf in for the winter.
Turf or peat must have been scarce in Kilmallock, County Limerick or else they were a stingy bunch, because there's an old saying used when a small fire is built and it goes like this...
‘A Kilmallock fire—two sods and a ciarán.’
( Pronounced kee-rawn, a ciarán is a small broken piece of turf).
There's an old Irish superstition that if a sod of turf falls out of the fire it's a sign that someone is coming to the house.
And if that stranger appears at your door, there's another saying that instructs us to always show them a welcome ...
"May the blessing of Light be on you
Light without and light within,
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
And warm your heart till it glows like
A great peat fire, so that the stranger
May come and warm himself at it."
Keeping Emigrant Fires Burning:
In parts of Ireland there was an old custom that when a family was forced to emigrate, usually to America, they would bring a few burning sods of turf from their fire, to the nearest neighbor's house.
Their request would be that their neighbor would keep their fire safe and alive until they returned.
Many a fire was kept alive for decades, but alas the original fire stokers never returned. Emigration was cruel in centuries past, with little hope of ever returning home. This poignant practice brings a tear to my eye.
And so with this little giveaway, we'll send Irish turf to America and light our fires on the other side of the Atlantic, all the while remembering those who left Ireland, never to make it home.
Buying Irish Turf In America:
Notice: The affiliate links below mean I will earn a small commission should you buy something. This helps me keep the lights on in this little corner of the world wide web. Many thanks if you choose to use one of my Food Ireland links.
Irish turf is available from Food Ireland, a company I have no hesitation in recommending for purchases of Irish foods and gifts. They're based in Mount Vernon, New York and ship all over the United States.
They have compressed Irish peat briquettes:
They also have gift packs of just 4 sods of Irish turf, which I think is a great, inexpensive, novelty gift for anyone who loves Ireland.
And then they have gift boxes of turf.
I especially like this Irish turf gift basket, which is our giveaway prize this week.
How To Enter The Giveaway:
One lucky reader will win a gift basket of Irish turf with about 30 pounds of naturally dried turf sods, perfect for open fires. Now be very careful and no burnt fingers if you win.
To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Sunday, September 23rd, 2018.
Any comment will do. What you write does not affect your chance of winning, but if you need inspiration why not tell us if you have ever experienced an Irish turf fire and its amazing aroma.
A winning comment will be chosen randomly. Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win. Your e-mail won’t be published, just used to contact our lucky contestant for mailing of the prize.
The winner will be announced Sunday, September 23rd, 2018, at the bottom of this blog post.
You may check out Irish American Mom’s complete terms and conditions for sweepstakes’ entries by clicking here.
Many thanks to everyone who supports this little Irish giveaway and to those who share it with loved ones and friends, who might enjoy a nice, warm, Irish fire this fall.
I'm looking forward to reading all your comments and memories of Irish turf fires.
09/23/18 Update: Winner Chosen
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and enter our little giveaway for a gift basket of real Irish turf. I so enjoyed reading all your comments and learning how many of us love the aroma of a turf fire.
Our winner was chosen randomly using the WordPress Pick Giveaway Winner plug-in tool.
And the lucky reader who will be warming their toes by a turf fire this fall is ...
I'll send Ginger an email to let her know the good news and to arrange mailing of her prize.
Hi Ginger - Please contact me by email at [email protected] so that I can organize mailing of your prize. I tried to contact you by email, but I did not get a response. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks again to everyone who supported this Irish American Mom giveaway and for all your kind words about this little blog of ours.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
If you enjoyed this collection of blessings and sayings from Ireland, here are some more you may enjoy....
- 7 Amazing Castles in Ireland
- Where to Start With Irish Art: A Guide to Irish Art and Culture
- Traditional Irish Soups To Savor
- Where to Start with Celtic and Irish Mythology
- How America Transformed Saint Patrick's Day
- Dunluce Castle: History and Cultural Relevance
- What is a Connemara Pony?
- Spicy Red Lentil and Carrot Soup