The spade is a particularly localised object within Ireland. The predominantly northern distribution of two sided spades (spades with a foot plate on either side of the shaft) was, at one time, attributed to the development of mass manufacturing of spades in Ulster from the 18th century onward. It seems likely that the two sided iron-shod wooden spade has a much longer history in Ireland. The spades shown below, chance finds from Ulster's bogs, are stylistically comparable with examples from Romano British excavations, and from medieval English, German, and French illuminated manuscripts, paintings, and drawings.
While the exact find location of this spade from the collection of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is unknown, it is believed to have been found in the Ballinderry River.
This spade from the collection of the National Museum of Ireland, was found in 1968 on a layer of gravel, 'beneath the fourth sod'(about one metre deep), in a bog in the townland of Ballynakillew Mountain, Co. Donegal.
These large wooden trays, known as lossets, were recovered from bogs in western Ulster. Relatively little has been written about objects of this type, but use wear indicates that they were likely used for the preparation of food. Lossets may have been used as portable work surfaces by mobile populations in Gaelic Ireland, in the absence of otherwise large and cumbersome items of furniture.
This losset from the collection of the Armagh County Museum, was found at 'a depth of 12 turf in the bog', near Belaghy, County Derry.
This losset from the collection of the National Museum of Ireland, was found in a bog near Knockninny, about 10 miles from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.
The types of leather shoes shown below are relatively well researched within Ireland, with a typology developed by A.T. Lucas in the 1960s. While some of the styles included in this research are comparable with examples from the medieval period, a type of shoe known as a pampootie, which closely resembles the style of shoe 1904.3, was in use on island communities on the west coast of Ireland until the middle of the 20th century.
This leather 'pampootie' style shoe was found in a bog near Garvagh, County Derry.
This small leather shoe, from the collection of the Ulster Museum, was found in a bog in the townland of Coolderry South, County Derry.
Wooden scoops or ladles like those shown below do not typically feature in Irish folk collections, but objects of similar appearance have been found in early medieval contexts in Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. While scoop 1981.274 appears to function as a large spoon or ladle, the short handles on scoops 1.1945 and 217.1940 are puzzling, and the purpose of these objects is not clearly understood. Were they used for measuring, cooking, or something else entirely?
This leaf shaped wooden scoop was found at about five feet below the surface level, in White Bog, Copney townland, near Carrickmore, County Tyrone. the object is from the collection of the Armagh County Museum.
This object, considered to be a 'rough-out' for a scoop or ladle of similar appearance to scoop 1.1945 is from the collection of the Ulster Museum. It was found at a depth of ten feet in a bog in Clonmacfelimy townland, Co. Fermanagh.
This scoop or ladle is part fo the archaeological collection at the National Museum of Ireland, and was found about three and a half feet deep in a bog near Glasagh, Tullaghobegly townland, Co. Donegal.
The wooden vessels below, variously described as troughs or bowls, may have been used for cooking. Scorch marks on the interiors of the vessels suggest a type of cooking known as stone boiling, in which hot stones are added to raise the temperature of a liquid within. Research indicates that ceramic and cast iron cookware did not become widely available in western Ulster until well into the 18th century. Was hot stone boiling in use until this time?
This large wooden trough, from the Armagh County Museum, was found near Killeeshil, County Tyrone.
The wooden vessel is from the collection of the Ulster Museum, and was found near Killygordon, County Tyrone.
These small wooden drinking vessels were recovered from bogs in western Ulster, and are much smaller than the types of vessels associated with 'bog butter' finds. Objects of this type are know to have been in use in the late medieval period, but their cultural significance is not fully understood. Were they ceremonial or everyday objects? At what period were wooden vessels like these replaced with ceramic, metal, and glass in western Ulster?
This wooden drinking vessel from the archaeological collection of the National Museum of Ireland was discovered in the Parish of Ballynascreen, County Derry.
This wooden drinking vessel is from the collection of the Ulster Museum, and was found near Tullyniskan, County Tyrone.