Wreck of Turf Cot at Blackweir.

Picture of wreck
Robert Brown

Wreck of the Turf Cot. Picture by Robert Brown

It is the last of the turf cots of Poulnasherry and the wreck can be seen from Blackweir Bridge as you look east.. This one was once about 25ft in length and 12ft in width. Flat bottomed they could go right to the shore load up and bring the turf to the turf boats anchored in deeper channels in Poulnasherry Bay. They were pushed by poles and used the turning tides to get either up or down the bay. They would have been able to get right up to where Lisdeen recycling Centre and take on loads of turf from the peat bogs all around.Blackweir bridge was designed so that at high tide it could pass under the central arch.

The  late Mickey Garvey of Dough stated that in 1943/1944 that the last owner of the cot  had it drift up on to the mud bank and there it has since lain. Its days of sailing in Poulnasherry were over, it was noted also by Mickey that an attempt to motorise  the cot was tried but wasn’t successful. Back in 2008 the Seol Sionna group did a dig on it to find out what type of vessel it was. It turned out that it was flat bottomed with no keel. So the sailing people in the group ruled out that it would never have made on the Shannon Estuary. It was not a sailing boat, later some from the group interviewed the late Jim Blackwell from Ennistymon who had been on it and he gave a good account of how it was operated. Jim lived with his brother Tom and sister Maisie at Tarmon House in the 1930’s.
Even though it never sailed the Shannon Estuary it was part of the turf boat story and the turf industry of Poulnasherry. It wasn’t the only turf cot in the area. The timbers of another one blocked a gap into a field in Tarmon West for many years.
That cot now lying up below Blackweir Bridge was last owned by Brody Lillis and he used it to bring seaweed to his farm in Tarmon East. Also he used to bring rock and gravel from near entrance of Poulnasherry where it was unloaded from the last of the turf boats still plying their trade on the Shannon.
It wasn’t  the Maggie Murray as a lot of people think it  was down further near Bermingham’s …

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