This is a story of a bog, a story that reflects our commitment to people and to nature.
It illustrates our ongoing journey from sustaining local communities and the rural economy, to environmental sustainability, and the creation of a home within the Irish landscape for biodiversity and wild places
The decision to develop and drain Ballaghurt bog was made around 40 years ago in the early 1970s at a time of economic difficulties, high unemployment and high energy costs.
The drainage of the bog to bring it into full production took 5 years and was completed 32 years ago in 1979.
Ballaghurt bog quickly became an important contributor to the local Midlands economy and to security of Ireland’s energy supply, producing milled peat for the ESB power generation station at Shannonbridge, Co. Offaly.
The remaining woody fen peat is now under the influence of minerotrophic waters and restoration of the bog to its original pristine condition is no longer possible.
Harvesting the remaining peat layers will make the creation of a landscape of acidic wetlands and native woodlands possible in the future, in the same way that the removal of all of the peat from Boora’s production bogs made it possible to create Lough Boora Parklands.
The immediate future
Ballaghurt bog has the capacity to continue supplying peat for electricity generation for a further 20 years, generating local employment, economic wealth, and contributing to Ireland’s security of energy supply.
At the same time, co-firing with biomass offers the opportunity to bring carbon emissions below those of an equivalent gas-fired power plant.
So that’s the story of a bog, from its past, through its production present. We recognise that we have a responsibility in managing our bogs into the future and that potentially large areas of former peat production bogs will revert to biodiversity-rich systems. Learn more about our biodiversity activities.