Clara Bog

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Clara Bog
Irish: Dúlra Phortach Chlóirthigh
Location County Offaly, Ireland
Governing body National Parks and Wildlife Service

Clara Bog is one of the largest relatively intact raised bogs remaining in Ireland. It lies southeast of the R436 regional road between the village of Ballycumber and the town of Clara, in County Offaly. Much of the bog is state-owned and managed as a nature reserve covering some 460 ha. A Special Area of Conservation covers 836 ha.


The bog formed in a depression, originally a shallow lake, left after the last Ice Age.

Clara Bog came to public attention in the 1980s when requests were being made to the Irish Government to preserve the area by a number of international naturalists, David Bellamy among them.

In 1987 both the Dutch and Irish Governments signed a technical agreement for co-operation in the area of peatland management and restoration. Raheenmore Bog and Clara Bog in County Offaly were the chosen study sites. Clara Bog has been a nature reserve since 1987 and its development since the last ice age, flora, hydrology, have all been extensively studied. In 1988 it was designated a Ramsar Site. Clara Bog and Raheenmore Bog (also in County Offaly) have been twinned with Bargerveen Nature Reserve, a Dutch Ramsar Site, under the European Natural Sites Twinning Programme (Eurosite).[1]

Peat extraction[edit]

For centuries the Irish have taken turf (peat) from bogs as fuel for their fires, and the tradition continues on the margins of Clara Bog.[2] In 1992 Ireland considered putting forward Clara Bog as a World Heritage Site, but after some years on UNESCO's "tentative list" it was decided that the bog's integrity had been damaged by peat extraction and its candidature was withdrawn in 2009.[3][4] There have been negotiations to relocate turf-cutters to alternative sites of less ecological value.[5]

Access and facilities for the public[edit]

In 2011 Brian Cowen completed his last official public engagement as Taoiseach in his hometown of Clara, when he opened the €2.1 million Clara bog visitor centre and library. He commented that the siting of the visitor centre avoided unnecessary intrusion on the tranquillity of the nature reserve.[5]

Public access to the bog is via a trackway from a car park on its eastern edge. Visitors are advised not to leave the boardwalk for safety reasons.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°19′11″N 7°38′23″W / 53.31972°N 7.63972°W / 53.31972; -7.63972