Sunday, October 19, 2014

More photos of Urker Lodge.

In my previous post on The Walls and Floors of Urker, I included a number of photos. This page includes more photos of the buildings and grounds of Urker Lodge, plus one more aspect of my ongoing learning curve. I rely on my readers to continue to tune me up, and this is merely one example of the kind of thing I need to know about, but can’t learn from books.

You might think, as I did, that Canadians and Irish speak the same English. Well, we do, and we don’t. For example, in Canada, a ditch would be defined as: a narrow channel dug in the ground, typically used for drainage alongside a road or the edge of a field. Not in Ireland.

In the spring of 2014, Peter Rogers explained to me that what I would call a ditch, he would call a shuck, or at least that is what I wrote down in my diary. When I got home and looked it up, I realized that the spelling is actually: sheugh, but it is pronounced (if you have Canadian ears) as shuck. BBC Northern Ireland Voices gives some examples of usage:

Mind ya dinnae drive inta the sheugh.
Or: Hi, he fell off the tractor into the shuck; there was a quare hum aff him let me tell ye!
A sheugh might even refer to the Irish Sea: He's gone across the sheugh:

They also use the word ditch in Ireland, but what you will see when you are shown a ditch is what we would call a wall:

Because many of these ditches were built across boggy land, they often sank over time, were topped up when needed, and could end up being 14’ deep. The part that we can see is not unlike the tip of an iceberg. Learning about this has changed how I now interpret some of the descriptions in the old leases.
 NOTE: Since I first posted this earlier today, a reader has informed me: 

Sharon, you can have ditches which are just ditches to drain land but a sceach (Pronounced sheugh) is where what looks like a drain exists but the ground dug out was formed into a bank for trees to be planted on so they weren't waterlogged.. the sceach/sheugh is actually the tree bank and drain combination. No tree line, no sceach/sheugh!
The rocks in the foreground are typical of what is seen in the fields in the Parish of Creggan. An etymology compiled by John Donaldson in the early 1800s says that the name Creggan came from the word for: rocky waterfall.

The iron gate at one of the entrances to Urker Lodge.
I note the design of the window, and wonder what I should be learning from it.

Note the slate at the base of the wall.
Slates used for roofing. I am told that before modern technologies were available, that blocks of slate were cut and hauled up to where they would be exposed to the worst of the frosts. When the blocks of slate froze, the water between the leafs of slate expanded, and the block broke into useable slabs of slate.

The countryside, framed as it would have been seen by the occupants of Urker Lodge.
Dry laid stone wall.
The stone as seen above in situ.

A view of the roof line indicating a rotten ridge-beam.

A view of the yard.
A chestnut arch.

The packed gravel access lane.
The clover at my feet. I recall as a child, pulling the petals and sucking at the tips for the sweetness. I believed then that it was what fairies lived on.


  1. That was some place, in its heyday!!! Thanks Sharon, very interesting!!
    (You mean, fairies DON'T eat it???)