I had reached the mainland to find that there were several acres of beautiful plush fields that covered Ireland’s landscape. I had no clue that the country had such exceptional scenery and diverse terrains. However, from the moment we stepped on the coach our first driver Joe had mentioned that the fields were actually called bogs. I was extremely confused at first and could not pinpoint exactly what he was talking about as all I saw was grasslands nothing more. As we got deeper into the study abroad program we visited the Ceide Fields and that was when I would truly understand their purpose and how vital they were to the very first inhabitants of Ireland.
The bogs take up 17% of the land surface in Ireland making it the country with the most bogs proportionally only behind Canada and Finland. It’s a blanket of peat that grows over the dead prehistoric landscape and the cycle continues over and over again. Bogs are located in high rainfall areas where temperatures are low. We learned that the bogs were composed of 90% water and 10% dead plant matter which was extremely interesting to find out. This combination made the bogs extremely soft. When we visited the Killary Sheep Farm, the owner Tom Nee had a bog that he had been working on for 15 years. He managed to excavate through 5 different layers which was extremely impressive. Tom exclaimed “Each level of the bog takes 1000 years to grow which means that strip of land is at least 5000 years old.”. It was completely mind blowing in my opinion as I couldn’t fathom the time it took to create the vast landscapes that have taken millions of years to form.
While I was there Tom even gave me the opportunity to go down into the bog and shovel turf which he collected to use for heat and energy. It was a fun experience to get down and dirty in the bogs and experience what the Irish have been doing for thousands of years. Since then I’ve seen tons of bogs in the countryside but now I look at them in a different manner then when I first arrived two weeks ago. I realize the importance they have to the Irish people and how they’ve helped them to survive over the years. To be honest since I’ve been here I believe that they have been the most interesting part of my vacation. A topic that I have perhaps learned the most about as well. If someone asked me about them and what they entailed I’d have no problem enlightening them.