Thursday, December 8, 2016

15. Longford - Corlea Bog Road

Corlea Bog Road, often referred to as the Corlea Trackway, is an Iron Age road built with oak planks around 147–148 BC. Stretching for about a kilometre, the road was discovered, buried two metres under the surface, in 1984 during peat harvesting. Made up of 100 toghers, or causeways, that during this period would have allowed traffic to traverse an area of land predominantly made up of bog, quicksand and the type of swampy stuff you hope you never get stuck in, it is the widest Iron Age trackway built by the Celts ever discovered in Europe, putting paid to that popular Iron Age theory ‘all Roads lead to Rome’, unless Rome was located in a bog in south Longford.
While we might never know why these causeways were built, we can guess a number of associated pros and cons.
Corlea Bog Road pros and cons
Pro: The trackway must have more than halved the local commute time into the bog.
Con: Who wants to hurry into a bog?
Pro: There were probably no speed cameras on it.
Con: It must have been hard on the suspension and a hoor to overtake on.
Pro: Made of freshly cut renewable wood, the road when first built must have looked and smelt great.
Con: Made of freshly cut renewable wood, it was never going to last and under its own body-weight and rising surroundings was on the way to the bottom of the bog within ten years.
Pro: Because it sank into a watery anaerobic environment, much of it was preserved and an 18-metre oak stretch of it is now on display in the welcoming Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre where there is never a queue to see this rare antiquity (in your face, Book of Kells!)
Con: That’s because the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre is also in a bog.

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