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Turf Cutting

The Gelvin Excursion

Its as if the Lord devised it or great excusion to Altdubh.
A mass exodus from Gelvin, The proceeding I now review.
The planning it was plentiful many thanks to Sean and Eugene.
But when it came to fruition, it was such a majestic scene.
Cart filled with turf spades and barrows, which had for many years been stored
Sean Farrell led the cavalcade, on the wee Dextra made by Ford.

So far had been sheer enjoyment, but now the work it had to start
We carried in necessities and unloaded the wee grey cart
We wondered who should pare the bank, there shouldn't have been any fear.
Sean Canning struck that shinning spade, like he'd done for many a year.
We cut, lifted them and loaded, and all took turns at wheeling out.
And the young one loved the spreading of that there simply is no doubt.
To master these intricate skills, put many young men to the test.
Its right now to mention Bissy, she can still fill them with the best.

And them as so many children, were learning of the turf mens' toil
Some experienced campaigners had brought the kettle to the boil.
Oh never did the tea taste sweeter, as in Altdubh's mountain air.
With most stretched upon the heather while the seniors each got a chair.
And with time to look around us, saw the work of God's wonderous hand.
The still absolute serenity sheer bliss as he had always planned.
The foliage looked so beautiful, there were greens of every hue.
The sky too it held such colour from brghtest white to deepest blue.

And if ever proof was needed, that lifes hard work will cause no harm.
Some things come through in interviews you see such happiness and charm.
A fine strapping man is Patsy as his years now approach four score.
See the Paddys two and Charlie and they are just a few years more.
We think too of our forefathers, a way of life for them, tis true
Smiling down today upon us, as old customs we did renew
Thank you for our rich heritage, its someting we treasure so dear
That the young wish to preserve it, now more than abundantly clear.

When we look back in years to come, I think its about only fair
That we have the names recorded of the families who where there
Mullan, Irwins and McNicholls, Lagans, Boyles and Begleys too
Forsythes, Farrells and McGregors, many friendships they did renew.
The Doughertys and Raffertys, in great numbers they all turned out
With McLuaghlins and McCloskeys, who know what turf is all about.
While Robinsons and McCartneys, we would also most warmly thank.
Last but not least there are Cannings, who for many years cut that bank.

Now two special folk I mention who helped to make our day complete
Throughout the day they kept us right and that was one almighty feat
I speak of Myroes Helen Mark, and Magheras John Donnelly
As fine a pair of professionals as you could ever hope to see
They really catered for our needs, without the slightests hint of fuss
It soon became quite obvious they loved the day as much as us.
For your support and expertise, we extend hearfelt thanks to you
May you know nothing but success in everything you do.

By Liam Begley


Turf Cutting Radio Ulster from NWLLA on Vimeo.

Special thanks to:

Eugene McCloskey
Liam Begley
Helen Mark
BBC Radio Ulster



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