PEAT FORMATIONS IN IRELAND - THEORY AND REALITY

T.A. Barry
The main kinds of mire, that is to say peatland, in Ireland are, first and most important, the mire-complexes or assemblages of peat types which we call in Ireland, in the vernacular, "bogs". These are peatlands with a history so complex that their former growing surfaces have supported, from one century or millenium to the next, vegetation-types as diverse as those of base-rich fen, mixed coniferous/deciduous forest, and - the ultimate in poverty-toleration - sphagnum moss regeneration complex.

In Ireland these mire-complexes are of two main types, the raised -type bog of the central Plain and the blanket bog of all our wetter regions. The blanket bog again is divided. It's sub-types in Ireland are the Western blanket bog of the Atlantic maritime counties and the high -level blanket bog of all regions, even on 20° gradients (12) over 1000' (=300m) altitude. In short, in Ireland mire type and rainfall may be correlated as follows: where our rainfall is 50 ins (=1250 mm) or more per annum the mire type is certainly blanket bog and may cover vast espanses of terrain of even or uneven configuration: where our rainfall is 40" (= 1000 mm) or less per annum the raised-type bog occurs. At around 30" (=750 mm) of rain per annum this type reaches it's best development, on low-altitude watershed situations, with maximum convexity of surface and one or two metres of almost pure unhumified sphagnum moss peat on top (3).

The raised-type bog in Ireland is, like the blanket bog, terrain-covering in the sense that up to 10, 000 acres (=4, 000 ha) may be covered, with only minor interruptions that are not (figure 1).

Barry, T.A. (1972). PEAT FORMATIONS IN IRELAND - THEORY AND REALITY. Acta Hortic. 26, 9-16
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1972.26.1
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1972.26.1

Acta Horticulturae