Throughout the places that we have traveled to during the past two weeks, we have talked a lot about energy and conserving energy. In Ireland the people are very concerned with conservation and using sustainable resources for their energy. However, the one source of fuel that is the most common among the areas that we have seen, is peat or turf. They burn the peat to create energy for things like heating a building, in which they would use a couple bricks of peat in their fireplaces. During the earlier times in Ireland when their only source of energy was from the peat, they would use the burning peat to heat the houses, heat the water and to cook their food over. Our tour guide from the Killary sheep farm, Tom, informed us that one brick of peat could burn for “approximately 15 minutes,” and to create a fire they would just add around 4 to 6 bricks and keep adding more throughout the day.
Until the year 2000, the island of Inis Oirr used diesel generators to power the island. This is because the island is mostly made out of limestone and there are no bog lands full of peat. Their way of creating energy by using diesel generators is extremely bad for the environment and lets off harsh fumes that pollute the air. Since then they have updated the systems that they use to create energy.
At all the hostels that we have stayed at on the northwest side of Ireland, they are very concerned with the conservation of water and this connects with the conservation of energy. In order for water to be heated, the water heater needs to be turned on and this requires energy usage. There are signs in the bathrooms asking the users to try to save water by not using a lot of running water, as well as specific times that the hot water will be turned on. They do this to preserve energy and there is no use in keeping the hot water on all day because it is wasting energy that people aren’t using. In the Valley House hostel, one of the owners explained to us that it is pointless to keep the water heater on in the middle of the day and the middle of the night because people tend to shower either in the morning or at night before bed. By conserving this energy, it is creating healthier environment because energy is not unlimited.