Rathangan seminar: The healing power of sphagnum moss

Creative Ireland event at Rathangan Library

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Rathangan seminar: The healing power of sphagnum moss

File photo: Rathangan library

The healing power of sphagnum moss will be explored at a special seminar in Rathangan library this weekend.

Healing The Wound takes place on Saturday, October 19, in Rathangan Community Library.

This free seminar juxtaposes the remarkable healing properties of sphagnum moss with its function as eco-engineer and bog builder.

The first session focuses on the work of the Irish Sphagnum Department and of the Kildare women — from Celbridge, Naas, Newbridge, the Curragh, Balitore, Kilcullen and Donadea — who gathered sphagnum moss and made wound dressings during WW1.

These dressings were used in hospitals in France, Belgium, Italy, India, Egypt, Iraq and Greece as well as England and Ireland. This is part of a largely forgotten story from the early months of WW1 when army doctors were faced with a shortage of cotton.

After some experimentation they turned to sphagnum moss because of its remarkable antiseptic and absorbent qualities. Groups of volunteers sprang up across Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Canada, gathering moss and making wound dressings. When America entered the war in 1917, the American Red Cross took on the task of overseeing the manufacture of wound dressings.

The second session focuses on Sphagnum Moss, a remarkable eco-engineer and bog builder.

Sphagnum Moss can hold up to 26 times its own body weight in water, while absorbing carbon dioxide and turning living bogs into carbon sinks.

There will be time for questions and discussion throughout the seminar. Registration from 9.30am, it starts at 10am finishing at 1 pm. This is a free event which is funded under Kildare County Council's Creative Ireland's Bursary Awards for 2019. Teas/coffee and a light lunch included on the day. Booking is essential via rathanganlib@kildarecoco.ie or phone 045 528078. See Creative Rathangan/Meitheal Facebook Page for further details