Finds in bogs

Animal skin (which was used to make shoes), vellum pages of manuscripts and even human bodies can last for hundreds or thousands of years in a peat bog. The spagnum mosses that cover Irish bogs limit the amount of oxygen getting through to whatever lies beneath and help to make the wet ground more acidic. In these conditions, organic matter decays very slowly.

Pupils should work in small groups to create a real-world or virtual Project Board on one of the following: the Faddan More Psalter, Cashel Man, Old Croghan Man, Clonycavan Man. There are links in Linked Resources to help with this. At least one group should work on each of the topics. Below are some elements which might be included:

  • Briefly describe the find
  • Locate on a map the place where it was discovered
  • To what approximate period does the find belong?
  • What other items have been found in the same areas?
  • How do the Fadden More Psalter and Old Croghan Man indicate contact between Ireland and the wider world?
  • What can we learn about society in Ireland from this find?
  • How are these finds now being preserved?

Irish words in English

The Irish word bróg was borrowed into English as brogue. Copy and draw an arrow between the following pairs of words, indicating whether the word in question came into Irish from English or into English from Irish:

English Irish
boreen bóithrín ‘a country lane’
kettle citeal ‘kettle’
keen caoin ‘keen, lament’
crack/craic craic ‘fun, chat’
whiskey uisce beatha ‘whiskey’ (literally ‘water of life’)
breakfast bricfeasta ‘breakfast’
banshee bean sí ‘Otherworld woman’

NB: craic was originally a Scots or Northern English word ‘crack’ which was borrowed in Irish as craic in the twentieth century and then taken back into English in the Irish spelling. So, the arrow should point in both directions!


Creative-writing task

Imagine you have to go to school in a pair of shoes like those found in Collatoor bog. Describe the shoes and how you found them. Why do you have to wear them? What happened to your own shoes? How do you feel about wearing the Collatoor (Images) shoes? How do you think your class and teachers will react?