“The People’s Fuel”: Turf in Ireland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries


The focus of this paper is on turf as a source of heat and energy for households. Ireland was a largely agrarian society in the nineteenth century, and, with the notable exception of the northeast of the island, modern industrialization did not take root until the later twentieth century. Domestic fuel supply was the critical energy issue. The subsistence crops of potatoes and turf constituted the mainstay of living over much of Ireland before the Famine, and were important for long afterwards. This article examines in detail the trends in turf production and consumption in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, noting its striking resilience.

DOI: doi.org/10.5282/rcc/6218