Carrownagappul Bog: fieldwork

I’ve just returned from a week bivouacking on one of the most significant raised bogs in Europe: Carrownagappul, East Galway, Ireland.

I was honoured to have permission from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to live quietly on this stunning bog. One of the largest bogs in Ireland’s ‘Living Bog‘ conservation project, Carrownagappul is of international significance. Having been heavily drained for peat cutting, the bog has now been re-wetted (by the laying of thousands of large-scale blocks in the drainage channels) and rejuvenated, with the support of the local community. Peat bog restoration in Ireland has instant repercussions for local people who have the right to cut and burn its peat for fuel. I was very happy to visit the local interpretative centre, and was treated to a warm welcome by Maura and the team.

I was also thrilled to meet the internationally recognised photographer, Tina Claffey, who specialises in the macro photography of Ireland’s wetlands. Her books, Tapestry of Light and Portal are a must-read for anyone interested in these delicate and ancient ecologies. Did you know that although only 3% of the world’s surface is bog, it represents twice the carbon efficacy of all the world’s trees and forests?!

This research is for a commission from the Harry Woolhouse Trust for a piece to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Imperial College Sinfonietta, London. Come and hear the piece, Carrownagappul, on Sunday 9 June in the Great Hall, Imperial College, London, 7pm, in an event that will feature the current orchestra and alumni players from the last 25 years.