Glenmoy Bog & the Céide Fields

Céide Fields, Mayo
Courtesy of Dúchás

Close to Ballycastle, hidden beneath the extensive Glenmoy Blanket Bog, lies an extraordinary pattern of walled fields and corrals known as the Céide Fields. The presence of such an organised system signifies the existence of an ancient people that farmed this area before the bog was formed. Over five and a half millennia old, this is the oldest known field system in the world.

The Glenmoy Bog landscape above the Céide Fields has a unique ecology of blanket bog, wet heath, juniper scrub, dystrophic lakes, rhynchosporion depressions and dramatic cliffs. Many of these are listed on EU Habitats Directive and so the area is protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Typical bogland vegetation of lichens, colourful heathers, purple moor-grass, mosses, sedges and insect-trapping sundews occur. Of particular note, however, is the presence of three rare plant species that are listed on the Flora Protection Order: the Marsh Saxifrage, the liverwort Petalwort, and the moss drepanocladus vernicosus. The rare Brown Beak-sedge also occurs around the wet rhynchosporion depressions.

Thrift, Sea Campion and Red Fescue are among the plant life along the adjacent cliffs. These cliffs extend for roughly 20 km and provide an ideal habitat for breeding seabirds. A large puffin colony and populations of Storm Petrel, Manx Shearwater and fulmar are dominant. Razorbill, Peregrin Falcon, Golden Plover and many other bird species also occur. Important mammal species include the Red Data Book badger and Irish Hare.

The Glenamoy, the Muingnabo, the Belderg and the Glenglassra Rivers all drain into the Glenmoy Blanket Bog.

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