Bord na Móna’s goal is to raise the profile of Lough Boora Discovery Park and make it a well-known and loved national treasure. The park hosts many local, regional and nationally focused events. Bord na Móna has a calendar of events that it runs each year. These events are open to the public and the park is also available to local, regional and national groups and clubs to run their own events. 2015 saw the park host a number of events including our Fairy Door Tea Party, the Lough Boora Running Club’s annual 10km race, Dawn and Dusk Chorus, and the All-Ireland Trout Angling Competition to name just a few.
Lough Boora Discovery Park is a haven of flora and fauna for nature lovers, the Sculpture Park provides a platform for international artists to use the park as inspiration for their works of art while off-road cycling and walking tracks provide families with a safe recreational area to enjoy the tranquillity and vastness of the open space. The lakes provide local angling clubs with the perfect location for fishing and open spaces are ideal for the Model Aeroplane Club.
As an eco-tourist destination, Lough Boora Discovery Park provides free and open access to local, national and international visitors and provides something special for all the family, as well as being appealing to special interest groups.
The opening of a new visitor centre in 2014 gave a fresh sense of arrival to the park – an entry point for exploration, wonder and discovery of this vast eco-amenity. At the heart of the design approach for the new visitor centre was innovation and empathy to the surrounding environment.
Inside the visitor centre sits the reception area, toilets, and a café with both indoor and outdoor seating. Outside there is a timber deck area with seating and shelter, overlooking one of the lakes, Loch an Dochas. The building, car park, picnic and recreation areas incorporate wheelchair accessibility at the centre of their design.
The Sculpture Park is scattered with beautiful, innovative pieces of art that dramatically change the landscape with varying contrast depending on the weather, throughout the seasons and over time. Industrial materials of the bog, such as locomotives, rail line, timber and stone have been developed into magnificent sculptures. Over time, the effects of nature have altered the sculptures in colour and developed wonderful colonies of plant growth, enabling them to become part of the landscape once again.
Through the regenerating power of nature, and the innovative management
expertise of Bord na Móna, Lough Boora Discovery Park has transformed from a peat harvesting site to a spectacular haven for wildlife
flora and fauna. These include a wide variety of natural habitats ranging from naturally vegetated grasslands and native woodlands to wetlands of permanent water bodies and semi inundated wetlands.
Bord na Móna mechanised peat harvesting in the middle of the twentieth century and at its peak Boora bog supplied over 1 million tonnes of peat every year, helping power Ireland’s industries and homes.
In 1994, a project was initiated when Bord na Móna local management and a group of local workers and people active in the local community produced a plan to make use of the post-industrial landscape in Boora. Their vision was to create a vast, open and unencumbered landscape that would enhance the quality of life for the local communities through its new amenities in the area and its ability to attract visitors from Ireland and overseas in the area.