The beauty of bogs: a book focusing on the bogs of Kerry

Many Agriland readers may associate bogs with long days of hard work, hungry gnats and cups of tea, but a new booklet celebrates the beauty of our bogs.

‘The Beauty of the Bogs’ explores the biodiversity of the bogs of North, East and West Kerry.

There are eight protected areas and tracts of peatlands in this region of the Kingdom.

The booklet developed by North East West Kerry Development (NEWKD), with funding under the Community Peatland Improvement Programme, gives an overview of the importance of peatlands.

NEWKD Farm Families Committee Chairman John Dalton said they decided to develop the book as an educational tool for children and adults.

He noted that many people have started walking in peatlands during the Covid-19 pandemic but may not be sure about the biodiversity that may be found there.

“For me, bog meant – get in and get the grass cut and get it out as fast as you can. For me, it wasn’t a place I liked, it was hard work.

“But maybe for many of us, when we go to the bog again, reading this book might give us a different perspective and we might enjoy features that we didn’t have before,” explained Dalton.

Protecting peatlands

The guide was written by Lisa Fingleton, who owns an organic farm in the area, with input from Nuala Madigan, education manager at the Irish Peatland Conservation Council.

“I think this is a really important project because it showcases the unique and valuable ecosystems of our peatlands,” Fingleton said.

“Peatlands provide habitats for a wide range of plants and animals and have a crucial role to play in terms of climate change and biodiversity loss. By understanding our peatlands, we have a better chance of understanding how to protect them,” added the author.

The images for the book, designed by Elaine Foley, were produced by Ballybunion photographer Rena Blake.

Cross-leaved heather. Image source: Rena Blake

“The beauty of the bogs here in Kerry is incredible and it was great to have the opportunity to photograph the unique plants that grow there such as spaghnum moss, match lichen and bog cotton.

“I hope the photographs will encourage people to get out and visit the bogs throughout the year because they vary so much with each season,” Blake remarked.

The booklet will be uploaded next Tuesday, February 8at 11:30 a.m. and those interested in joining the Zoom meeting are requested to register in advance.

After the launch, it will be available online on the NEWKD website and hard copies will be distributed through the Kerry Library and some will also be donated to schools.