Origins of Bog-wood:
The bog-lands of Ireland are places of raw beauty and ancient mysticism.Used by the Celts over 2,000 years ago as places of worship including ritual human sacrifice.Considered neither fully land or water, the Celts believed the bogs to be portals to the next world. Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe which still possess a substantial range of peat lands, more commonly known as bog-lands with over 6% of the landscape being covered in bog. Peat consists of the dead remains of plant life which has not fully decomposed and has accumulated over thousands of years. It is from deep within the layers of peat that the Bog Oak, Pine and Yew are found.
As Ireland’s last ice age came to an end around 10,000 years ago bogs began to form in the glacial lakes left behind by the retreating ice. These de oxygenated lakes eventually filled with semi decomposed plant matter to become Fen bogs. With its acidic and wet soil providing the ideal conditions for a new plant to take over called Sphagnum moss and so begins the formation of Raised bogs. Blanket. bogs, which are the second type of bog found in Ireland, started to form around 5,000 years ago triggered by a change in the climate and in some cases by the impact of deforestation by the early settlers to the land.
By 6,000 years ago Ireland had become heavily forested, mainly in Oak, Pine and Yew, with vast tracks of woodlands surrounding the forming Raised bogs.By 5,000 years ago the climate became a lot wetter speeding up the growth rate of the Raised bogs that were by now not only growing in a mound over the Fen bogs but also spreading onto the surrounding landscape.As the acidic peat of the bog covers the waterlogged roots of the the trees, they die and eventually get covered and preserved by the unique conditions of the peat.
The ancient Oak lies deep within the bog having been ebonised and carbonized over the previous 4,000 to 6,000 years.A chemical reaction between tannin in the oak and iron in the bog turns this magical medium black.Today the wood is exposed as peat is harvested for fuel or when dykes are cut through the bog-lands to release water.When gathered the wood has a very high moisture content and needs to be left drying naturally for up to 4 years before being worked and brought back to life in a new form.