The McAndrew’s Store story began back in 2005. Then in 2015 we started cutting turf the traditional way with a spade. It was this experience of cutting turf with a spade that provided us with the inspiration for our Turf Bog Tours.
What started out as a madcap idea has since 2017 been very popular with our visitors. Our clients are visitors to Ireland who want to see something of the real Ireland. We deliver this in spades (sorry for the pun) when we take them far from the madding crowds to the wilderness of our turf bog.
Visitors from the USA, UK and France have sampled our tours and each one is unique. Every tour provides visitors with the chance to learn more about the tradition and cultural significance of turf cutting. Visitors learn that turf is much more than just a fuel but is the embodiment of Ireland much like Guinness or Tayto Crisps.
During the tour, visitors can experience for themselves cutting turf with a spade. Whilst learning a range of terms including pairing, spreading, footing, clamping, bagging and saving. This all takes place in a unique landscape full of flora, fauna and wildlife. On the bog and depending on the time of year you can hear the cuckoo, spot deer, see geese fly overhead and the hen harrier. At ground level you will encounter frogs and newts. We wont say too much about the midgies!
It is a family effort, Martin leads each and every tour. Callum demonstrates the art of turf cutting and helps visitors get to grips with a turf spade. Darragh is our resident wildlife expert and can produce frogs on demand. This year, Ava the youngest family member has joined the tour guiding scene. Plus Bailey our sprocker spaniel tags along, she will take any excuse to visit the turf bog.
Being located on the Fermanagh – Donegal border our visitors are always keen to discuss the issue of Brexit. Perhaps Theresa, Boris, Leo and Michel might join us for a tour and solve the Border issue once and for all? Likewise we enjoy hearing about the homelands of our visitors. It’s great to get a world view and become a bit wiser.
As part of the tour we divert to a lough hidden by a pine forest, at present the black peaty water is festooned with lillies. We also take in a WW2 plane crash site which was a huge event in these parts back in May 1944.
We can also adapt our itinerary to take in local crafts and arts such as Camlake Canvas. We have also included visits to Lough Navar viewpoint, which offers amazing views of this region. We have operated Turf Bog Tours in the depths of winter to the height of summer.
Each tour includes a mug of tea or coffee and home made bread out on the bog. If the weather is kind we even light a turf fire to let visitors sample the unique smoky aroma.
In this only our second year of operation enquiries and bookings are increasing. This is all helped by referrals, a Trip Advisor page, feature on Discover Ireland website plus our own website coupled with our social media efforts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
So if 2018 is your year to visit Ireland be sure to contact us to arrange your very own Turf Bog Tour.