There are some great bog walks all around the Irish midlands. For those of you who are unfamiliar with bog let me give you a few words of introduction.
Bog is derived from the Irish word ‘bogach’ which means soft ground. First of all, there are two types of bog in Ireland: The “raised bog” that we see in the midland region and the “blanket bog” that occur in mountainous and coastal areas.
The raised bogs began to form after the last ice age 10,000 years ago. When the ice melted many small depressions were left in the ground and as a result thousands of small lakes with poor drainage were formed. Over time these became filled with vegetation and over thousands of years became what are now the beautiful and precious landscape of the Irish raised bogs.
Athlone is a wonderful place to explore the bogs. The majestic River Shannon flows through the town and at the west side there is a well preserved callow. Not far from here the bog begins.
If one begins ones journey on the west side of town and heads for the old bog road toward the townland of Clonown one will be heading to an area rich in bogland. The narrow road brings you straight to the villiage of Clonown.
One of my favourite walks is easy to find, I will tell you how to get there. Its called Carrickynaghtan Bog. About 1.5 miles from town is a bridge. Just after the bridge there is a right turn, take it. Drive down that road for one mile and you come to a small road on the left side that takes you on to the bog. There is a place to park a little bit further down the road.
When you walk up onto the bog you have some choices to either walk straight on or to take a left turn. Both are nice and offer different aspects of the terrain. You will see locals cutting and saving turf in the summer. There is lots of birds and wild flowers everywhere. You might be lucky and see a fox!
You can walk out on to the bog and feel the springy sensation underfoot. Be careful of your footing as it can be quite swampy in places and children should always be carefully supervised. The light in the evening is often stunning and there is a panoramic view all around. One great thing about the bogs is that due to the very nature of the ground there are never any buildings around!
A great place to stay in Athlone is The Bastion B&B situated the lovely Left Bank area of town, its an ideal location for doing some bog tours!
Visit us at www.BogBuddies.com.