Pollagh (Irish: Pollach, meaning ‘land full of holes or pits’), also spelled Pullough, is a village in County Offaly, Ireland, located in the midlands of Ireland. It is a rural village on the Grand Canal and lies between Ferbane and Tullamore. Much of the surrounding area is bogland, and is used to produce fossil fuels such as peat turf.
The River Brosna flows close to the village. The Grand Canal was used for transporting peat and bricks produced in the area. Pollagh benefited from the canal in earlier years when it brought investment and employment from Bord na Móna, and it is now a tourist attraction. Pollagh is also known for its church, including its bog oak altar and stained glass windows, designed by the Harry Clarke studios.
Pollagh in Co. Offaly is where my branch of the Buckleys come from.
I was born in nearby Tullamore where my mother was from.
But I spent many of my childhood summers in Pollagh.
I have memories of the turf being cut dried and stacked.
My granny’s well produced bog water which was already the colour of weak tea when it came out of the well and made dark smokey tea.
I can remember helping my granny to bring cans of this tea, already milked and suggared to the men cutting the turf along with sandwiches and home made currant bread.
My granny’s cottage had a tin roof and it was very comfortable lying in a warm bed listening to the heavy rain hitting the tin roof.
The bed sheets were not great as they were made of flour bags sewn together and it was very uncomfortable if you lay on a seam.
I used to help my granny churn the milk to make butter and buttermilk.
I remember hundreds of massive big frogs on the bog.
Incidentally, where have all the frogs gone? I never see one these days.
There was no running water and the bathroom was “up the bog” and the toilet tissue a dock leaf.
My granny’s house had no electricity on it for a long time and was lit by oil lamps.
The picture below is of my paternal great grandparents taken in 1959. They lived to be very old and I knew them well.
They both work at making bricks in their own brickyard. Here their daughter writes:
I was born and reared right beside where my grandfather, James Buckley, owned a brickyard. I live in the house next to the brickyard and all the chimneys and some of the walls were constructed with Pullough brick. I would have heard my mother, Bridget McLoughlin, talk about the making of the bricks, and the hard work it entailed. When she was just eight years old the woman in question and her nine other brothers and sisters all worked alongside their father in the making of the bricks.
THE ORATORY FOR EASTER