Posts tagged with: 'bog'

World Wetlands Day 2012

Thursday, February 2nd is World Wetlands Day. Check out its origins here.

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day poster

World Wetlands Day is about appreciating the vital role wetlands play in our ecosystems and protecting them. Here in Mayo, we are blessed with many wetland areas, from our blanket bogs, dotted with small lakes and bogpools, to our ‘great western lakes’, like Conn, Cullin, Carra and Mask, to our coastal sites, like Mulranny saltmarshes and the brackish lake of Furnace. Indeed, we have 3 Ramsar wetlands sites of international importance, in the Sheskin Knockmoyle Bog Complex, the Owenduff Bog Complex and the Blacksod & Broadhaven Bays area.

All Ramsar sites can be viewed in the database here.


World Wetlands Day

Reversal of bog drainage through dams

For long periods, Ireland drained its bogs in order to lower the water table and therefore dry out the peat for harvesting. In some places, this peat production has now ceased and efforts are being made to allow the bogs to refill with water and return to something approaching their natural state. The picture, left, of a blocked drain in north Mayo illustrates how this is being achieved.

On February 2nd, I will be out walking on the bogs to celebrate World Wetlands Day and I will share pictures here afterwards. Come and join me, if you like.

Posted in Blog, Ecotourism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly

One place I had wanted to visit for quite some time was Lough Boora Parklands, a lovely restored wetlands and bog recreation area in the midlands. This is a post-production site in the flat Irish midlands, where the machines have stopped and nature is regaining control. The week before last, myself and the family went along. I highly recommend it.

Lough Boora is based on a project to restore cutaway boglands, previously exploited by Bord na Móna. The parklands have water channels throughout, supplemented by man-made lakes. On the day we were there, the site boasted Geese, Ducks, Lapwings, Mute Swans, Grey Heron and more. Lough Boora is home to Ireland’s impressive achievement in saving its almost vanished Grey Partridge, while Hen Harriers are often spotted there.

Lough Boora

Water channel at Lough Boora Parklands

But much more than that, it’s simply great fun for the kids. Get kids on a railway track (where there are no trains to worry about !) and watch them walk much further than might otherwise be the case. They love the large scale, wonderful and bizarre sculptures, which utilise the old Bord na Móna equipment (including a turf train) to great effect. The place boasts 50 km of walking and cycling trails – that’s impressive. Children love it (did I mention that already ?) and will happily spend hours running around.

Lough Boora Parkland, Offaly

Juvenile Mute Swan

It is fabulous to see how nature is taking over this place once again. Look at the blocked drainage channels becoming recolonised and the alder and willow trees popping up all over. Lough Boora may be a candidate to become Ireland’s first inland National Park.

Visit Lough Boora Parklands

The Park is located west of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on the R357 towards Shannonbridge. Go there, it’s truly wonderful. We’ll be back.

Visit the official website.

Posted in Blog, Ecotourism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Call of Wild West Mayo

The Nephin Beg mountains are perhaps Ireland’s most isolated. To hike around here is to walk in a land fashioned by north Atlantic weather systems. West Mayo, with its wonderful coastline, endless islands and inner bogs, is a result of the constant rain and wind blown in by the great and fierce ocean.

Stripped of her natural Scots Pines, were it not for the heavy plantations of non native conifers over the last fifty years and more, this would be a virtually tree-less landscape. Only around the larger lake shores will you find native trees of any note. Even then, they are often smaller than elsewhere, with that characteristic lopsided growth, as they bend over away from the strong prevailing winds. Indeed, the majority of lakes and bog pools can boast no such trees on their shorelines.

But with the conifers comes life too. The Pine Marten is here. The Otter has cover, as he darts between drainage ditches and small fast rivers, with the odd slower, deeper pool to hang around in. The Red Deer hides away in the huge plantations. You might spot them at dusk, or hear them during the rut in autumn. Kestrels can be spotted around the perimeters of the conifers, as they perch looking out across the bog for prey. The smaller Merlin is harder to see, flying at a much lower level than the Kestrel. Look around the crags, cliffs and mountain peaks and you may just come across the majestic Peregrine.

But the call of this wild west Mayo is ultimately one of silence. Get yourself out into the vast boglands of this place and sit down for a while, among the bog heather and grasses. Listen. You won’t hear much.

Posted in Blog, Ecotourism, Walking in the West of Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wild Mayo in May

Friday May 15 thru Sunday May 17 :

Join us on three wonderful days walking in Wild Mayo in Ireland’s West.

Forest track, Sheskin, Mayo

Forest track, Sheskin, Mayo

Friday – A five hour hike through the largest area of land in Ireland with no through road. Discover the vast bogs and enormous conifer plantations of Sheskin, Central Mayo. Try your hand at some red deer tracking, maybe spot some elusive otters or red grouse, stand in total silence and take in the sheer scale of the place.



Wild weather, Iniskea Islands, Mayo

Wild weather, Iniskea Islands, Mayo

Saturday – Take the boat out to the South Iniskea Island off the west coast of Mayo and Europe and stroll around for the day, taking in the wildlife and seascapes of this beautiful island. Observe the varied marine bird species of this uninhabited spot. Wander around the deserted houses long since abandoned.



The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo - a great place for walking

The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo - a great place for walking

Sunday – Some nice relaxing walks around the Mullet peninsula, west of Belmullet town, Coastal Mayo, including on the beaches looking west over the wild Atlantic.

Stay two nights in an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast out on the Mullet, heated by geothermal renewable energy and solar panels.


This long weekend will bring you back to a place of peace in these turbulent times.

You will need some stamina for the long walks, a genuine sense of adventure and deep love of the outdoors. Bring good hiking boots and layers of clothing for the ever changing weather of Ireland’s West coast. Enjoy. It’ll be great.

Price : Euro 285 per person. Accommodation is in twin bedrooms. Price includes all accommodation, breakfast and full dinner, packed lunches on each day, transport to and from Castlebar, boat to and from islands, full guiding throughout. You just get yourself to Castlebar by 10.00 on Friday, May 15th.

Places are strictly limited to first 11 only.

Call or contact me for further details.

Posted in Ecotourism, Walking in the West of Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment