Killyconny Bog SAC (also known locally as Cloghbally Bog and Mullagh Bog) is a 191 hectare raised bog just outside the historic Cavan town of Mullagh. It is an important bog which has played a big role in the local community for generations, and its location is unique as not only is it the most northern project site, but it is the only LIFE project site to share two counties: Cavan and Meath. It is said that the Apostle of Franconia, St Kilian, had connections to this impressive bog.
The bog has been at the centre of the local community for many decades, and it received widespread attention in the 1990’s when the local community came together to host three ‘Day on the Bog‘ festivals.
As the crow flies, the bog is approximately half-way between Virginia and Kells on the Cavan/Meath border. The bog was historically divided into five different townlands: Cloughbally; Fartagh; Leitrim; Killyconny; and Fegat.
The hollows between the hills of this beautiful part of the country fostered many a raised bog, but today there are very few raised bogs left in the north-east region and Killyconny Bog is the best developed of what remains. It is unusual as it developed with two lobes formed on adjacent ancient lakes. As the bogs rose side by side over thousands of years, they spilled over towards each other. Today they are joined by a narrow strip of bog, with the bog an odd ‘figure of 8’ shape.
Though some marginal drainage and cutting has taken place and there is subsidence on the margins, the central parts of the bog are relatively intact as little drainage was ever done on the ‘high bog’. Some restoration works took part on this bog in the past (including LIFE project LIFE04 NAT/IE/000121) with favourable results. Overall, there are good restoration prospects on Killyconny and the project aims to almost treble the existing areas of Active Raised Bog (ARB) on the high bog through a restoration programme aimed at raising the water table.
This bog is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) selected for Active Raised Bogs 7110 and Degraded Raised Bog 7120 – 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. Depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion (EU code 7150) are also found here.
There is a tremendous community spirit in the environs of the bog. Killyconny has had a high amenity value for many years, from the ‘Mullagh Bog Day’ festivals of the 1990’s to present day walking routes around the bog. There are many fond memories locally of working on the bog in the hey-day of peat extraction by hand (see HISTORY page).
Mullagh town is one of Ireland’s hidden gems with enviable heritage and tourism assets. Every year thousands of tourists visit the area to celebrate the town’s links to St Kilian, the 7th and 8th Century Apostle of Franconia and Irish Missionary Bishop, who was born close to Killyconny Bog. The St Kilian’s Heritage Centre in the town is at the heart of everything that happens in the area, and is an ideal starting point to learn more about Killyconny Bog and this the surrounding area.