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Our annual Bog Heritage event, 'Tapestry of the Bog', was held on Sunday, August 15th 2010. The day was a great success!


Check out You Tube for videos of the 2008 tour with Peter Madden

Tapestry of the Bog 2008

On 17th August, 2008, Redwood Castle hosted a day of events and activities based around Redwood Bog and its history, heritage, ecology, and impact on local settlement. Visitors were led on a tour of the bog, in what was an educational and enjoyable experience for families, students, nature lovers, and experienced hikers alike. The morning was spent in Redwood Castle, a lovingly restored Norman tower house, in which a personal guided tour gave visitors a sample of the local history through the ages.

Tours of Redwood Bog were led by heritage expert Mr Peter Madden. Tours of Redwood Castle were led by Mr Daniel Flynn (School of History, TCD)


'You can take the person out of the bog

But you can't take the bog out of the person'

Bogs, those wet and wonderfully wild places synonymous with the midlands of Ireland are basically living sponges whose lifeblood is water. They live on rain and are undoubtedly relishing this damp summer.

Redwood bog is a beautiful stretch of natural wilderness and home to many wild creatures. The bog is now a nature reserve and is recognised as one of the finest bogs in Europe. Our forthcoming 'bog day' will feature a guided walk to Redwood Bog Nature Reserve with heritage specialist Peter Madden. Exploring the landscape we will seek to discover what the bog is, and how, and why it got here.

Once the great prehistoric lake of Lough Boora, stretched between the current Lough Derg and Lough Ree, and this extensive lake system gradually evolved into the vast raised bog system of the midlands. Here, bounded on the north by the Little Brosna callows (flood plains), and on the west by the callows of the mighty Shannon, Redwood Bog developed. The rivers, callows, bog and surrounding woods and countryside make up a fascinating complex of habitats for the wildlife of this hidden backwater.

We will examine the unique plants that make the bog what it is, and the animals that live here. Lovely plants like the bog cotton, heathers, cranberry, bog asphodel grow on the bog. They all have different strategies to help them to survive and prosper. This year we will have a particular focus on flowers and seeds produced by the plants and the strategies that they use to propagate themselves.

The bogs can also tell us the story of what happened long ago. Its not just bog butter and bog bodies that gets preserved in bogs. Buried in the bog, along with the bog oak and bog pine stumps, is a vast record of the changes in the natural landscape over thousands of years. This record is in the form of fossilised pollen grains deposited on the bog surface over the millennia and preserved there enabling us to construct a picture of what plants grew here in the midlands over time.

Now as the bog-man and bog-woman are themselves a threatened species we recall the lore of the bog and the old ways; saving turf by hand during good summers of yesteryear. As we reflect on the demise of traditional turf cutting and the way of life that went with it, we will examine a sleán and pitch and foot turf and reminisce of the 'good old days' with those who lived it.

The national parks and wildlife service describe the bog as follows - 'Redwood is the most northerly townland in Tipperary and in Munster. The bog was acquired from Bord na Móna for conservation purposes. It is raised bog developed on the southern margin of the Little Brosna flood plain at its confluence with the Shannon. It forms part of the Little Brosna Callows area of scientific interest, which is of international importance as a wildfowl habitat and as a classical example of a flood plain ecosystem. The reserve includes the last relatively intact bog dome on the flood plain margin plus a dried out portion of another dome and an area of fen. The intact dome has a typical raised bog flora and in the centre it retains quaking areas and numerous bog pools.

Redwood Castle, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Phone : +353(0)87 7479566 E-mail:

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