Bringing home the turf to Carrickfinn c1920

‘Twas me an’ Dennis rose this morn or ever it was day,

For we had to take the boat up wi’ the tide to Annagrey,

The way we’d bring the winter’s turf across to Carrickfin-

Oh! Early in the mornin’ as the flood was comin’ in,

The grey an’ early mornin’, as the flood was comin’ in.


An’ all the island boats were out, for the spring tides would be high,

An’ that’s the only time they’d get to where the turf was dry

An’ waitin’ by the lough, for sure ‘tis shallow water there-

Oh! Sweet the Autumn mornin’ wi’ the first chill in the air,

Aye! Fair an’ sweet the morning’, though a chill was in the air.


We tacked the narrow water all across from shore to shore,

Till round the bend, where the lough is wide, ye could hear the breakers roar,

Where the sea broke through o’er the ridge o’ sand that mostly does be dry,

Oh! The white-topped, tumblin’ water, ‘neath a misty mornin’ sky-

The silver, shinin’ water wi’ its white crests ‘neath the sky.


Along the edge o’ the land we tied the white boats in a row,

Where the bank was piled wi’ turf down from the bog a week ago,

An’ all day long the girls an’ men were workin’ wi’ a will,

For the turf is aisy handled, yet a boat takes long to fill-

Oh! The turf, the brown, sweet-scented turf, each boat must have its fill.


An’ all the day the little waves were dancing’ in the sun,

An’ some boats made two journeys, an’ some could do wi’ one,

Oh! The lough was gay wi’ brown sails as they would come an’ go-

Grey herons were about the rocks an’ the seagulls circled low-

Och! The owld grey herons on the rocks while the gulls were sweeping low.


An’ if the work was hard, sure there was fun and laughin’ too,

For the day’d be long to an island man if his work was all he’d do;

An’ the ones that got their loadin’ done would help them that were last,

Oh! Quickly up at Annagrey the golden hours passed-

‘Twas sweet an’ fair Annagrey as the golden hours passed


turfboat 2
A turf laden yawl leaving Annagry with McCloskeys Pub and Forker’s Shop in the background c1934


An’ now the day is wearin’ through, an’ the tide is past the turn,

An’ the boats put out from the bank, wi’ turf piled high from bow to stern,

Till there’s hardly room to work the sails, but the breeze has dropped away,

An’ it’s driftin’, driftin’ wi’ the tide we come from Annagrey-

Oh! Driftin’ down wi’ the fallin’ tide we come from Annagrey.

by Elizabeth Shane