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July 25, 2007

corey says…Today, Tony and I decided to take a little roadtrip. We headed for Shannonbridge and stopped at the West Offally Railroad Bog Train. This is put together by Bord na Mona (Irish Turf Board). You board a train and are taken out into the Blackwater bog. There they tell you all kinds of details about how the bog was formed, what type of life can be found on the bog, how they harvest the turf in the bog and what alternatives they are considering so the bogs are completely depleted.

The turf or peat is burned as a fuel, as well as, used as fertilizer.

This is one stop where visitors walk away learning all kinds of interesting tidbits. Turf has played such a significant role in Ireland, that I really enjoy learning more about the fuel. Plus, it’s one of the few chances a visitor will get to cut their own sod of turf using a traditional slane.

After the bog train we headed to the ecclesiastic site, Clonmacnoise. With seven churches, several high crosses and two round towers, this is a major monastery ruin, but its real magic is its location overlooking the River Shannon.

We then headed to Portumna Castle. The OPW (Office of Public Works) continues to do a great job there, and the walk up to the castle is still one of the best. We were sure to pop in to the Kitchen Gardens there. The plants there were loaded with flowers, fruit, veg and herbs.

Then it was back to Nenagh via Lough Derg Drive.

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