Not long after arriving in the bog a man and his (very handsome!) nephew arrived. They were there to gather the dried turf, making use of the sunny day that it was. It was their family land, had been their grandparents’ bog, and they welcomed us, warning us not to drive off the track or we would get stuck in the soft earth, and they got to work, lifting heavy bags of turf into their pick-up. They made light work of it, retuning a few times to gather more loads, and then upon their departure told us where the key for the gate at the end of the track was, inviting us to stay for as long as we liked.
Not long after another man arrived, and we got into a lovely conversation with him. Turns out that the first two men were his brother-in-law and nephew, and he was there to gather turf for his mother-in-law. We had a long chat in the sunshine, with plenty of good laughs, talking about the harbors of Connemara, and how the American ships took shelter in some of them during WW2, though noone is supposed to know, seeing how we were a neutral country, and had anyone told we well might have been heavily bombed. He spoke too of how the Celtic Tiger almost destroyed the soul of the Irish, as they became greedy and selfish and blinded by ambition, and though plenty have suffered since the Crash, it has restored us to our usual way of being, gentler and kinder and slower. More real. We shared stories of the effects of Hurricane Charlie, the one and only hurricane that came our way, hitting Ireland when I was about 18, and how so many bridges were destroyed by the rushing swells of water. The bridge at the bottom of our hill was swept away in a moment, and it was a heavy cut-stone bridge of at least 200 years, seemingly indestructible…We spoke of the beauty of the land, how there’s nothing to beat it on a sunny day, and how close to Paradise we all three were, standing there together in friendship. He was a truly lovely man, so warm and genuine and kind.