The remains of the Lilliput Turf Machine is a very fine relic of the social, economic and cultural history of Kilteevan. This machine was purchased by Jonnie and Paddy Dolan in 1965 from H.G. Shnitzer,Edenderry. The machine cost IR£5,000 (the equivalent of over €100,000 today) and was transported to Kilteevan in pieces and put together by Johnnie, Paddy and Eamon Connor in Carrowmore Bog. The first turf was cut on a fine day in March 1965 but was halted the following day due to unseasonably heavy snowfall.
The machine was powered by a Ford diesel engine and had a main frame, supported on power-driven caterpillar tracks. A multi-bucket digger boom at one side of the machine was inclined at a 45-degree angle when in the working position, with the forward side of the bucket cutting as the turf machine advanced. The buckets discharged the turf through the macerator unit onto a plate chain, marking it into sod lengths and then onto the spreader arm. The turf was then discharged onto the turf bank.
The first operators of the machine were Johnnie Dolan and Eamon Connor and in subsequent years both Paddy and Tom Dolan spent many a long day working on the machine with, what Tom recalls as, “great days but plenty of hardship”. The machine was the only one of its kind in the area and cut turf for many people in the locality and beyond. It was finally retired on this spot in 1997 by Tom Dolan.
In December 2020 Tom Dolan and Eamon Conor officially reopened this road with their grandchildren
WHAT WE COULD SEE IN 2020
WHAT WE UNCOVERED
18th December 2020, Tommy Dolan and Eamon Connor former owners of the Lilliput officially opened Lilliput Way, Cloonlarge:Loop
Tommy and Eamon stand at the Tidy Towns new sign Our Evolving Relationship with Peatlands
OCTOBER 2022- following a generous donation by a community member, Kilteevan Tidy Towns Volunteers gave lthe Lilliput a major facelift.
On Friday, May 12th, 2023, a study visit to Cloonlarge Bog Loop took place, attracting participants from as far as California, USA, and highlighting the incredible natural and cultural significance of Cloonlarge Bog. The visit was organised by Kilteevan Tidy Towns and the Connecting Communities with Peatlands project.
The study visit offered participants guided walk of Cloonlarge Bog Loop with Eileen Fahey, Chairperson of Kilteevan Tidy Towns, and Chris Peppiat, Conservation Ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The group walked the entire bog loop, learning about the bog biodiversity, and local stories of people who lived along the bog roads, and about the dedicated and talented local volunteers who designed the signage, created sculptures, and build insect hotels and decking in various places along the trail.
"We have successfully revitalized the bog, turning it into a thriving community asset that showcases our heritage and promotes biodiversity." – Eileen Fahey.
Kilteevan Tidy Towns, comprised of 17 dedicated individuals with various connections to the local area, actively manages multiple aspects of the project. Their efforts have been supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Roscommon County Council.
The project's success lies in its community-led approach, which has not only put Kilteevan firmly on the map but also positively impacted the well-being of local residents. The revitalized Cloonlarge Bog Loop provides a safe space for the community to gather, offering tranquillity, and fostering a sense of pride. In addition, it has raised awareness about biodiversity and environmental protection while attracting an increasing number of visitors to the area.
Looking to the future, Kilteevan Tidy Towns envisions Cloonlarge Bog undergoing restoration works, securing its preservation for future generations to enjoy. The group also hopes for prominent recognition of Cloonlarge Bog Loop as a visitor attraction in the area.
Pictured at the event are left to right Aoife Kirk (Connecting Communities with Peatlands), Ned Gilligan, Mattie Murphy Gertie Murphy (all Kilteevan Tidy Towns Committee) Chris Peppiatt (Conservation Ranger NPWS) Nollaig Feeney (Heritage Officer Roscommon) Michael Butler, Michael Fahey, Eileen Fahey, David Gibbons (all Kilteevan Tidy Towns Committee) Laura Connolly(Divisional Ecologist, National Parks and Wildlife Service), Mary Smith (Roscommon Co. Council)
Thank you Roscommon People for the great cobverage of our Study Visit
And thank you to The Roscommon Herald also
It’s National Biodiversity Week.
Let’s celebrate some Cloonlarge Loop wonderful wildlife with some Citizen Science photos taken in May 2023.
We were lucky to spot the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk Moth (Hemaris tityus) pictured below. It is a day-flying moth that mimics a large bumblebee. A lively and fast flier. thats not too easy to photograph. It is very hairy with two distinctive reddish bands. And look at those long, clubbed antennae! We are reliably informed that this moth is now considered scare, so we are thrilled with this find.
The record was submitted to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
This beautiful butterfly is not very common in Ireland but we have it here in Kilteevan.
The leaf like, lemony/ lime butterfly is a joy to behold. Note the pointed wing shape. Brimstone hibernates during the winter.
The larvae feed on leaves of Alder Buckthorn which is found on moist acid soils and wetlands. After years of searching we eventually found the Alder Buckthorn on the Loop. Everything in nature is connected.
Kilteevan Tidy Towns(adult and junior) were delighted to be invited to this event on May 17th in Roscommon Arts Centre We were pleased to see all the good work being carried out in the county to address Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change. It was rewarding to see Kilteevan Tidy Towns work acknowledged also.
Today we celebrate our flora. The first Spotted Orchid of the year was noted on the Cloonlarge Loop yesterday. Many more will hopefully follow. Yes, we have NATIVE wild orchids here.
This beautiful flower has an amazing design. The colour can range from white and pale pink to purple. Notice the distinctive darker pink spots and stripes on their three-lobed lips. The flowers are densely packed in short, cone-shaped clusters. Perfumed flowers like this are particularly attractive to day-flying moths. Again we see everything in nature is connected.
Thanks to our grant from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, we continue to learn about our Moths. Our collage shows some of Kilteevan’s exquisite and intriguing moths. Look at the colours, the delicate patterns, the fluffy ermine.
Moths are a crucial part of the ecosystem and are an indicator of a healthy environment.
We are licenced to research our nocturnal moths and records are submitted to the National Biodiversity Centre/Moths Ireland.
This project received grant aid from Roscommon LEADER Partnership Rural Development Programme which is financed by the Irish Government under the Rural Development Programme Ireland 2007-2013 and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in Rural Areas.