The changing landscape of Clara Bog: the history of an Irish raised bog

P.H. Crushell, A. Connolly, M.G.C. Schouten, F.J.G. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Clara Bog is one of the few raised bogs that has not been fully exploited in the Irish midlands and is a reminder of how the landscape of this region once appeared. This paper describes how the Clara Bog landscape has been changing since the commencement of the Holocene 11,500 years ago. Initially change was relatively slow as the bog naturally developed from its origins in an early Holocene lake, which became in-filled to form a fen circa 8000 years ago, before it continued to develop into an acid raised bog reaching its maximum extent by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Clara Bog has changed dramatically in the last 200 years due to human activity. Today less than 50% of its original bog surface remains. The changes in the bog during the historic past have been driven by population change, poverty, economic growth, construction of the Grand Canal, the building of roads, the need for fuel and farmland, nature conservation and tourism. The prehistoric development of the bog and land use in its hinterland was reconstructed from a detailed analysis of published archaeological records, palaeoecological studies and stratigraphical studies. Published maps and historical records have been vital in establishing a chronology for the changes that have occurred on Clara Bog since the beginning of the nineteenth century
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-111
JournalIrish Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Archaeology
  • Human impact
  • Landscape history
  • Palaeoecology
  • Peatland
  • Raised bog


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