In all my years of reading, including many historical, and yes, romance novels, about Ireland, I never thought I would actually get there. But I did.
My cousin and I recently made a trip to Scotland and Ireland, tracing our family roots. Our fathers’ ancestors came from County Tipperary in Ireland.
Of course, being involved with The Burns Bog Conservation Society, it was suggested that I visit the Bog of Allen Nature Centre in Lullymore, home of the Irish Peatland Conservancy Council. I readily complied and made contact with Nuala Madigan, Education Officer, prior to my trip.
On the morning of October 5, my final day in Ireland, I was warmly greeted by Nuala and Catherine O’Connell, the EO. My cousin and I were given a tour of the centre and I was very envious. What would it be like if we could do something like it here? How much better would our Education programs be? Their building is quite large and includes an extensive indoor information and workshop centre, as well as an outdoor area which shows the development of a bog.
Me (Evelyn Wedley), Nuala Madigan and my cousin Bev in front of the developing bog.
We talked of the history of peatlands in Ireland, the history of the Conservancy Council, the movement to protect and restore bogs, fundraising, crafts, education programs etc. It was a very enjoyable and informative couple of hours.
A bonus on my trip was an unexpected visit to the Kerry Bog Village. On a bus tour on the Ring of Kerry, we passed through some boglands, some of which are still being used for extracting peat. We stopped at the Kerry Bog Village Museum, site of a Famine Village.
As the tour guide talked of some history and some of the “finds” in the bogs of Ireland, I was amazed that I already knew most of it. For instance, he talked about finding bodies in the bogs, still mainly intact, and why they didn’t decompose.
There are serious programs in place in Ireland to preserve, protect and restore peatlands. The Irish people recognize their importance to the environment and to the future.
These two visits were highlights of my trip to Ireland. If you get over there, don’t miss the opportunity to visit one or both. Contact information can be accessed through the Burns Bog website www.burnsbog.org or by calling 604-572-0373.