Bog Oak

I was telling a few guys last night in Rosatos, in front of a warm fire, about my CraicOn article about the Swedish guy who has a website that sells luxury goods to the Chinese whose market is booming at the moment.  The Chinese middle class numbers in the hundreds of millions and there are more and more rich people there.

My old boss, who knows him well, says that the well-to-do Chinese like to buy things that they can’t make there. He was asking if there were any good arts and crafts in this area that were unique to Ireland or even this area.

I mentioned one or two to him but they were not quite right, without coming up with something extra  that makes them unique and can be made in decent quantities, or, failing that, be able to be sold at a high price.

Leading Thinker

One of the guys that I spoke to last night is an ideas guy and one of the leading thinkers in the area.

He suggested sculptures made of Bog Oak. We decided that they may be not completely unique as we were sure that there are other places in the world that have bog oak too. However, if we called it sculptures made of Irish Bog Oak that might qualify.

It seems that the bog oak is found when they are cutting the turf and the wood can be a thousand years old. It is extremely hard and difficult to sculpt but there are people who make things from it in the area.

That sounds like something that is a bit different and the sculptors are creating added value.


As I said, last night we mused that there must be plenty of places in the world that might have bog oak, i.e. anywhere that has peat bogs. However, according to Wikipedia:-

Bog-wood, also known as abonos and morta, especially in the world of the pipesmokers,[1] is a material from trees that have been buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the acidic and anaerobic bog conditions, sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of years.

“The wood is usually stained brown by tannins dissolved in the acidic water. Bog-wood represents the early stages in the fossilisation of wood, with further stages ultimately forming lignite and coal over a period of many millions of years.

Bog-wood may come from any tree species naturally growing near or in bogs, including oak (Quercus – “bog oak”), pine (Pinus), yew (Taxus), swamp cypress (Taxodium) and kauri (Agathis).

Bog-wood is often removed from fields etc. and placed in clearance cairns. It is a rare form of timber that is “comparable to some of the world’s most expensive tropical hardwoods”.

Very Rare

It continues: “Sites of bog-wood in the world are very rare. In the sites expected to accommodate it (in Croatia mainly in the valley of the river Sava and its branches) morta is hard to find, the access to the river bank and its bed is usually difficult, and morta recovery usually results in failure”.

Well, well now. That sounds like something that the Chinese can’t get their hands on easily – especially once the added value of its being sculpted is factored in. Its age would make it attractive.


Also, Wikipedia is talking about the more generic Bog-wood whereas we are talking here about Bog Oak which is one of the harder and more expensive woods and would add further value.

Bog Oak must be even rarer – and yet there is a decent quantity of it around here. Some people even chuck it in the fire as it burns for a long time. That’s a bit of a waste and a loss of a chance of adding value to it by having it sculpted.

Hmm! I’ll see what they think.

If you want to see some sculptures made from Bog Oak you should click here

If you want to read the full Wikipedia article on Bog Wood then you should click here