Bogs are wetlands made of peat, plants and water combined together. Peat is the result of the accumulation of partially decayed plants over thousands of years. The dead plants don’t rot because they grow in
waterlogged conditions where there is little oxygen. Bacteria and fungi – the agents of decay are prevented from working in these
conditions. The main source of water to a peatland is from rainfall which means the peatland is acidic pH 4. Boglands are 90% water and 10% dead plant material. Boglands once covered 1.3 million hectares of the landscape of Ireland. Due to the harvesting of turf as a domestic fuel, the burning of milled peat to make electricity and the use of moss peat in gardening and horticulture, less than 18% of the original area of boglands in Ireland remain.
There are two types of bogland in Ireland: raised bogs and blanket bogs.
Raised bogs are found in the midlands and are formed in lakes left behind after the Ice Age which slowly filled with dead plants. Sphagnum moss is abundant on raised bogs and can hold up to 20 times its weight in water ensuring that the bog is waterlogged year round. Watch John Feehans’ three part series: Story of the Bogs to learn how raised bogs were formed, the history of their exploitation and degradation, and now, how small fragments are a priority for conservation and restoration.
Blanket bogs are located in the mountains and along the western seaboard of Ireland. They develop on poorly drained
soils where the weather is very wet. All of the country’s high mountains are covered in this type of bog as are the western lowlands, where it rains two out of every three days.
(Text courtesy of Irish Peatland Conservation Council)
Flora and Fauna
Boglands are special habitats and are often protected to ensure the land mammals, birds, insects and plant species who thrive here may continue to flourish. You can find out more about what a protected area means and discover if you live near one of these special places by visiting The National Parks and Wildlife Services Protected Sites page.
Discover more about these special landscapes by downloading IPCC’s excellent resources: A Guide to Irish Bog Habitats and Bogland Wildlife: Quirky Facts.
Design by Landmarks. Text © Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Bog of Allen Nature Centre, Lullymore,
Rathangan, Co. Kildare R51 V293