I was reading old newspapers when I came across this:

Pg.2,Cl.1, 10 January 1833 Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier

The bit I am wondering about is the part that says "was at a turf rick for some turf". Googling "turf rick", brings up a bunch of landscapers named Rick. Also, I don't think this is traditional turf, because I think that would be an unaffordable, not to mention useless (you need every acre for food, not grass), luxury.

  • 3
    Well now I need to know what happened Saturday night
    – BurnsBA
    Aug 4 at 19:24
  • 1
    @BurnsBA Initially, I was going to edit the answer, but now I think I am going to do a Q&A on the incident. I will update you when I post it, but for now, just know that it was 3 men who were killed by police on 05 January 1833 in Kanturk, County Cork, Ireland. This article was the coroner's inquest. Look up "Tithe War" on Wikipedia for some background information.
    – Jimmy G.
    Aug 4 at 20:22
  • This is the answer I did on what happened at this incident, later dubbed the Kanturk Massacre.: history.stackexchange.com/questions/69572/…
    – Jimmy G.
    Aug 8 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


I found the answer to this while trying some other Google searches before posting my question. The answer is that "turf" is actually peat, which was the primary source of fuel in Ireland at the time, used in cooking and heating. There were even peat-powered locomotives. Today, there is at least one company that still uses peat in powering their boilers. In Ireland, the term "turf" still refers to the peat so prevalent in the country. The word, "rick" is used in the definition Google gives as "a stack of hay, corn, straw, or similar material, especially one formerly built into a regular shape and thatched." So, the answer is that a "turf rick" is a large pile of peat used for heating purposes.

  • 5
    Firewood (at least around here) still is usually purchased in units of ricks.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 3 at 17:46
  • 1
    @T.E.D. here it's sold in cubic metres or in cords - which amount to 128 cu feet or 4'x4'x8'
    – bob1
    Aug 3 at 22:04
  • 3
    @JimmyG. - Usually 4x1x8. 4 ricks to a cord. A cord is a LOT of wood though. If you're mostly just using your fireplace for social/asthetic reasons, you won't go through even a single rick in a winter. Most people I know just order a half or quarter rick.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 3 at 23:35
  • 8
    The point of putting turf (peat) and hay in ricks is that is needs to dry before you can do anything with it. Turf ricks may stand for a few months before they get brought home.
    – RedSonja
    Aug 4 at 12:18
  • 3
    Seeing this question on a History site confused and amused me, because turf ricks are an everyday feature of this part of the world.
    – TRiG
    Aug 4 at 17:41

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