Firemen Fight Night-Long Battle on Annagh Bog

The whole of Annagh Bog was on fire at various times in the course of yesterday evening, last night and it was still a threat at lunchtime today.

Exhausted fire crews from Castleisland and neighbouring towns battled to save forestry in the area last night and managed to do so.

This was in spite of encountering the deepest, thickest gorse and ground covering furze bushes – some of which exceeded six feet in height with ground cover to match.

The Roughest Terrain

The crews had to navigate over the roughest terrain conditions they had ever come across in their vast experiences over many years of such incidences on the hills surrounding the valley.

People in neighbouring houses kept a vigil with the firemen all through the night and prepared food for them which they ate while on the go.

“We were called out at about 5:30pm yesterday evening and our first priority was to stop the flames from getting into the forestry there,” said an exhausted member of the Castleisland crew this morning.

Furze of Over Six Foot

“I’ve never encountered gorse as deep as this – it was up to two to three feet deep in places and bone dry. There were furze bushes here which were well over the tallest one of us – some of them were well over six foot high.

“The ground was very soft under it all and that made the going hard and heavy for us. There’s a bit of an outbreak here again now this morning and we were here at 9am and that should see it out,” said the fireman – in hope.

Locals who gathered at various vantage points along the winding by-road this morning believed that the bog wasn’t burned for over 25 years. They also believe that a vast area of it had gone to a complete wilderness. They also believed the the fire was started deliberately.

Praying for Rain

One of them also said that he never though he’d hear himself praying for rain.

Pheasants and other forms of wildlife could be seen scampering across the bohereen to safety as cattle and horses huddled in fields, bothered by smoke and keenly aware of advancing danger.

Annagh Bog, often known locally as ‘The Wild Goose’ was estimated at just over 660 Irish acres in a survey of the ‘Seigniory of Castle Island’ in the ‘Fourth Report of the Commissioners Appointed to enquire into the Nature and Extent of the several Bogs in Ireland and The Practicality of Draining and Cultivating them.’

House of Commons

This report was ordered by The House of Commons, to be printed on April 28th 1814.

Even then, and especially then, it was noted for, what our firemen found out last night, its swamp like conditions and environment.

Plans were afoot at that time to drain it all the way from Dicksgrove Bridge in Currow itself to ‘the road near Bannaskeehy’- and the report is peppered with references to swamps and swampy conditions and streams.

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