Peatlands: The Livers and Kidneys of Ireland

Manchán Magan at Lough Boora (Photo: Amanda Ralph)

Our first blog post is by writer, broadcaster and invited Peatlands Conference speaker Manchán Magan

Ireland’s peatlands may not be regarded as the heart and soul of the nation – they are more aptly considered its liver and kidneys – a crucial part of our anatomy and psyche that we give far too little attention to. These richly pigmented ecosystems represent a complex bio-diverse realm hiding beneath a tweed-textured cloak as dark as crème brûlée and as complex as the most fraught fractal. They ought to be our greatest treasure and yet for decades we’ve either ignored, exploited or actively destroyed them. They are an endangered species that needs our protection – a collective effort by all sections of society, from citizen scientists to tourism providers, to begin to learn more about them.

The most exciting element of this event at UCC focusing on Transdisciplinary Conversation on Peatlands is the fact that it brings together academics with artists, writers, nature-lovers and bogophiles (if such a term exists) to share ideas and insights and imagine new futures.

For Irish artists and creatives who were bewitched for so long with the Atlantic coastline as their inspiration, it took the arrival in Ireland of one of the world’s most influential post-war avant-garde artists, Joseph Beuys, in 1974 to refocu