Good morning Earth lovers and Poetry writers! To get your geoheritage themed poetry juices flowing Day 4’s poetry prompt has us visiting the Cavan Burren Park again.
New to this concept of a Geopark Poetry Map? Well, it is born out of the pandemic as a physically distanced way to connect us. The map will be digital and will include commissioned poems from Dara McAnulty, author of Diary of a Young Naturalist, Geopark born poets Maria McManus and Seamas Mac Annaidh, Cavan poet Noel Monaghan, and A. J. Quinn, better known for his crime writing.
The daily poetry prompts are part of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark’s open call for poems inspired by specific Geopark sites written by new and emerging poets. I will also be doing outreach with schools along the Cavan and Fermanagh borders to involve primary and national school age children in the project, although we are still trying to figure out the safest way of interacting with classes in two jurisdictions.
While yesterday looked at how the land’s geology launched an internationally famous china brand, today’s prompt looks at a cottage industry. You see dotted across the limestone landscape around the Cavan Burren remnants of Lime Kilns. There is the remains of one in Cavan Burren Park known as McCaffrey’s Lime Kiln. My friend Morag took some snaps when we visited the Cavan Burren last week. (And it was a celebratory cross border visit since it was the first time since Christmas she could cross over from Fermanagh into Cavan given the Covid travel restrictions. It was a happy reunion in the open air.)
Here is what Martina O’Neill, MACGeopark Development Officer for Partnership and Engagement writes about this site.
This lime kiln located in the Burren would have been for use by the adjacent farmhouse.Martina O’Neill, Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark Development Officer, Partnerships & Engagement
The farmhouse would have been abandoned 50 years ago but the lime kiln may not have
been used in the last 100 years. The material produced from working these kilns, quicklime,
had many uses including as a fertiliser, pesticide, mortar and for bleaching linen. In this
particular limekiln, limestone rock was broken into small, fist sized lumps. It was set-up with layers of wood, turf and limestone. When lit, turf and limestone were added in equal
quantities and it would be kept burning overnight. The burnt lime, quicklime was recovered
though a small opening at the bottom, accessed through an inverted stairway structure.
Quicklime is chemically unstable so whenever water is added to it a chemical reaction
occurs and great temperatures are produced hence the inverted stairway structure and use
of a long poled shovel in this case to remove the quicklime.
Ireland is often associated with pretty white cottages with thatched roofs. Before there was commercial paint there was limewash. And, you guessed it, it was made from limestone and lime kilns were involved in the manufacture of the components.
Do you think you have a poem about a lime kiln to offer to the Geopark Poetry Map? The closing date is 15th June 2021. If you live in Ireland you can see the lime kiln in Cavan Burren Park. All the Geopark’s sites are open to the public. And it’s FREE to visit!
If you live beyond our island’s borders I hope that some research and imagination may help spark a poem. You are also eligible to submit a poem. For full details email GeoparkPoetryMap@gmail.com.
Still a bit unsure about what geoheritage is exactly? Maybe my previous article will help https://sojourningsmith.blog/2021/05/11/what-is-geoheritage/