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Leinster Leader 26th July 1947

Formal Opening of Factory
A new Athy industry, Bord na Mona Peat Moss factory, at Kilberry, was formally opened on Monday by Mr. Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce. There are about 200 men employed in the industry, and the annual output of 150,000 bales of peat moss is intended for the American market to bring in 500,0000 dollars a year. The first 1,000 bales will be ready shortly for dispatch to the States. A sales ground has already been prepared in America for the mull and litter. An almost unlimited demand for it is believed to exist in the States. In pre-war years Germany, Holland and the Scandinavia countries supplied the American needs, and manufactured millions of tons for their own use. Now Eire’s only competitor in the United States will be Canada, and the chances of building up a steady Irish trade are regarded as more than promising.
Three grades will be made in the Kilberry factory from the peat moss obtained from the upper layers of some 3,000 acres of bog prepared for the purpose around Kilberry. Excavation of the moss has been going on for the past year. When in full production the industry will employ about 500 men in the summer and 250 in the winter in the bogs and between 50 and 60 men in the factory. Work will be continued over the whole 24 hours.
The screened coarse litter is primarily used for stables; it has three times the absorptive power of stray. Medium mull can be used as a horticultural fertilizer; and the fine mull for packing purpose, a use for which it is in much demand in the U.S.
Manager of the factory is Mr. Karl Peterson, a Latavian who was first employed by Bord na Mona experts visiting Sweden to examine peat moss manufacture there. He took his B.E. degree at U.C.D. in 1913. On returning to his native country he became peat controller, a position which he held during the two great wars. After the last Russian invasion he escaped from Latavia in a fishing boat with his family, was bombed and machine gunned at sea, but eventually reached Sweden, where he was working as a refugee on peat research when the Irish turf experts met him. He supervised the erection of the Kilberry factory, the plant of which was obtained from Sweden this year.
The capital investment in the factory is ₤58,000.
Mr. Lemass, speaking after the opening of the factory, said that the enterprise exceeded in size anything attempted before. The peat moss industry was not affected by seasonal changes of weather, and would afford all-year-round employment. A steady and growing internal market was anticipated for the product.

The Leinster Leader of 26th July 1947 reports on the formal opening of a a new Athy industry, Bord na Mona Peat Moss factory at Kilberry...Our thanks to Carl Dodd

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