A Large Proportion of Interior Ireland Consists of Bogs from Which Peat Is Dug


This photograph of a peat cutter and a woman at a bog in Ireland is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. In his Carpenter’s New Geographical Reader: Europe (1924) Carpenter observed: “Ireland has but little coal, and its chief fuel is peat. It makes a hot fire although it does not blaze like soft coal or wood. It smolders away, giving out a pale blue smoke and brightening to a glow under a draft. We see women carrying great baskets of this fuel home on their backs, and now and then stop and talk with the men getting out the peat. They tell us there is rich soil below and that when the peat is removed and the bogs drained it makes excellent farms.”

Last updated: September 29, 2014