History of Irish Bog Oak

Drying out the turf.jpgThe Irish bog oak is a favourite wood of Maureens.  Originally oak, it lay in the peat bog land of Ireland for more than 5,000 years emerging into the Irish sunlight again infused with the colour of the earth. It is a piece of history, not only does it look beautiful, it feels beautiful with a depth of colour like the peat earth that was a home to it for so long.

Irish bog wood also known as “morta” can be descride as wood that was buried through time in peat boglands which through the lack of oxygen in the environment managed to preserve the wood from the natural process of decay. Not only is the wood preserved but it is coloured by the tannins naturally present in the acidic environment of the bog.

Bog woods can be found throughout the world, in Ireland the three main types of bogwood that can be found are Yew, Oak and Pine. Bog woods are examples of early fossilasation, and therefore very rare. The Irish bog oaks can be up to five or six thousand years old, as old as the pyramids.The centuries-long process of timber change results in colour alteration from golden-brown to completely black. No two pieces of wood will ever be exactly the same colour.

Morta_color_based_on_age.jpg

It is an interesting fact that in Ireland land has been proven through history to be very important. Ireland harvests fuel from the very ancient peat boglands that preserved these bog woods.  The “Turf” is a form of fossil fuel and was originally cut by hand using a turf spade which was back braking work. Even today turf is cut from the earth by people for fuel.

Cutting turf the traditional way down though the layers of earth is like cutting through layers of time. The deeper through the earth, the blacker the turf, until it is almost black. The Black turf “Cloch Mhoin”, meaning “stone turf”Hence the name “ Cloch Mhoin”

Bog woods also become blacker the longer they were hidden in the acidic peat bogs, and also becoming much harder. In some cases almost impossible to cut.

Maureen's work using bog oak hopefully reflects the deepest respect held for this most precious material. Working with it is like taking a step back in time in an ancient Ireland we can only imagine today. It is an amazing material that performs in the same way as woods harvested this year.

Browse through the store to see Maureen's latest work and own a piece of time in history.