About Moyclare Bog
Moyclare Bog is situated close to Ferbane town in North County Offaly, and is effectively a neighbour of another of our project sites, sitting just 3km southwest to Ferbane Bog SAC.
Whilst small, with a surface area of just under 130 hectares, Moyclare Bog is a site of high conservation value as it is a relatively intact midland raised bog. Is was estimated b efore we got to work here that Active Raised Bog (ARB) covered approx. 29% of the high bog area, and Moyclare is notable for the relatively high proportion of ARB on its uncut dome.
ARB occurs in the southern part of the bog and includes both central and sub-central ecotope. Degraded raised bog capable of regeneration covers just over 70% of the high bog area. Other habitats include cutover bog, wet, broad-leaved, semi-natural woodland and wet grassland.
The bog has a simple long, narrow rectangular-oval shape. It occurs in close proximity to a number of important raised bogs close to the floodplain of the River Shannon. However, most of the raised bogs in the vicinity have been cut away by Bord Na Móna over the past 50 years.
There are three LIFE sites in this pocket: Moyclare, Ferbane and Mongan.
Peat cutting was carried out extensively all around Moyclare Bog in the past, although most intensively in the north and southwest. In more recent years it was last largely confined to the northern edge. However, peat cutting has now stopped on the bog. It is estimated that 58.4% of Moyclare bog mapped in the 1840’s remains uncut.
There is still plenty of life left in Moyclare, and the ‘The Living Bog’ project aims to almost double the amount of ARB on the site.
We undertook a massive amount of work on this site. Between December 2018 – March 2019 and in August 2019 our contractors restored the hydro-ecological balance of the bog with the installation of almost 1,000 peat dams.
The bog is home to hundreds of rare species, with plants and animals totally unique to raised bogs found here. This bog is a candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) selected for *Active Raised Bogs 7110, Degraded Raised Bog 7120 and Depressions on peat substrates (Rhynchosporion) 7150 – habitats that are listed on Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive (992/43/EEC), where *Active Raised Bogs 7110 is further ranked as a “priority” habitat.
The extent of peat harvesting in the midlands is evident in this image from Bing Maps. The four ringed sites are LIFE Raised Bog sites, the light brown sites elsewhere have all been harvested for peat, many irreversibly damaged.