Peatland is a physical habitat, once of great abundance in Ireland, which has deep-rooted cultural associations with Ireland and the native Irish. Gaelic Irish, colonial, and Anglo-Irish literary engagements with bogland in Ireland appear to be well documented. Yet few critical studies have examined attitudes to Irish peatland in Ulster-Scots writing. This essay examines representations of peatland in the farthermost north-east region of Ulster, in a seminal poem, Rathlin (1820), by one of the foremost, labouring-class Ulster-Scots writers of the Romantic era, Thomas Beggs. This essay unearths evidence of underlying associations between Ulster-Scottish culture in north-east Ireland and depictions of the area’s peatland habitats, in Beggs’s poem Rathlin.


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