There are three clans of Irishmen on the home island.
There are mountainy men with their springy gaits. There are fishermen who sway from side to side on land as if they were still aboard their vessels. And there are bogmen with their careful slow way of walking, even in towns and cities, because on home ground one careless step can land you up to your Adam's Apple in a swallow hole.
Most of us, I think are bogmen. There are a lot of bogs out there.
I am a bogman from Fermanagh – the county named after us – and so is my friend Eugene Hogan who, in all fairness, is not only the person who brought the following bog story to my attention but who, out of the goodness of his heart, actually wrote it for me in what he said was in my style.
There is a compliment for you indeed.
Eugene is a journalist and well-known PR man in his daily life, but in this case he is a pure excited bogman. He does not act as PRO for the Offaly man who stands to make a fortune from unique bog masks and become known worldwide as the man who turned back ladies' biological clocks forever.
Here he is just telling us a great yarn from the bogs so long associated with poverty and hardship. For what it is worth, before I hand the rest of the space over to him, Eugene can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
And here is the yarn exactly as he sent it to me:
Little did we think all those years as we stooped, back-broken into our bogs, saving turf to warm up those winter nights that our snouts were, in fact, inches from black gold.
That’s, at least, the story I am happy to bring you this week. I will elaborate in greater detail later in the year, perhaps when the annual harvest itself is lifted, please God, from our peatlands.
But for the moment, suffice to say that I have come across a story in the heart of Co. Offaly that is as warm as the nuggets of deep brown turf that will burn in my stove this winter.
A wonderful, nature loving man called Bill Kenny from the Faithful County appears to have developed the best thing to emerge from the Emerald Isle since the pint of plain. And the funny thing is, it was under our noses all those years – literally.
For Bill is capitalizing on the natural laboratory that are our bogs by extracting and blending our nutrient filled peat with pristine spring water from deep below the Bog of Allen itself. He’s turning this natural blend into a revolutionary range of skincare products aptly named Ógra (which is, of course, Gaelic for youth).
And by all accounts it is raising more excited eyebrows than the good plastic surgeons of California and elsewhere.
Reports suggest – and I admit I can’t say I have first-hand experience as I’m far beyond repair – that a liberal application sets the skin a–tingling, as if firing up decommissioned fibers, and as fresh as the proverbial daisies.
Bill’s 15 acre plot near Rhode would appear to be special. Offaly bogs are certified as having the highest organic content in the world, but Bill’s has never seen sight of a slane let alone one of those gigantic harvesters. Apparently, it’s as natural as the day God created it.
For 9,000 years it has been compacting with flowers, cottons, heathers, moss and many more of nature’s gifts. The totality of these herbal properties and nutrients, with nothing added but nature and time, is a natural facemask that, my sources tell me, suggests that our new friend Bill is on to a winner.
But should we be surprised? Mothers across the midlands applied peat mosses to treat burns of their young ones back in the day. The old Celtic warriors used to return to the same bogs to heal their wounds after battles.
Sure hadn’t we the discovery of 2,000 year old body, with flesh intact, not far from Bill’s bog, in 2003. Apparently he was in great nick!
We also have evidence from World War I when Sphagnum Moss, which is plentiful in the bogs of Ireland, was used to dress wounds on the frontline.
To think that we used to scrub hard to get that peat moss off after a day on the bog when, had we left it on, it could have staved off one of the great vicissitudes of old age.
It begs the question – are we smart or thick? Has Bill cottoned on to something quite brilliant, or should we really not have seen it coming?
I will have more to tell on this one, but only after a visit to this Irish jungle later in the summer. I hear the summer sights and sounds of nature there assail the senses.
In the meantime ladies, and indeed, modern gentlemen, if you try Bill’s black-stuff, let me know if it is, indeed, the best kept secret of the cosmetic world. More power to you Bill if it is!