In Ireland, we often take our bogs and wetlands for granted. They cover over 5% of our island, they form some of Europe’s oldest near-natural eco-systems dating over 10,000 years. Over 50% of Europe’s bogs are in Ireland and we possess 8% of the world’s blanket bogs. Irish rural cultural heritage is intertwined with these distinctive places with many of our childhoods spent cutting and drying turf up in the mountains or down in the fields. Although the age of mass turf cutting is long gone, bogs have played an important role in our cultural identity and as such, the ones that remain should be protected. As today is World Earth Day it is important that we remember these areas are not just sources of fuel but are home to some of the most diverse plant and wildlife in Western Europe. A haven for unique specimens of sphagnum and carnivorous plants such as sundews.
Award winning photographer Tina Claffey has been exploring these wondrous bogs through the seasons with a macro lens, which captures this enchanted wilderness in its minuteness, seeing beyond what the human eye is capable of. Carnivorous plants with their sticky tentacles, sphagnum mosses frozen in time in the deep bog pools, ancient water creatures exploring their depths, kaleidoscopes of colour through dewdrops on the backs of wondrous insects. A wilderness on our doorstep that looks otherwordly.
Portal by Tina Claffey
In a recent interview with Youtube channel The Ethnographer, Tina Claffey throws light on how she found herself capturing the singular beauty of the creatures that make our peatlands their home. In her upcoming book Portal, she highlights the sui generis beauty of these landscapes and what makes them such important areas for conservation. Portal is an immersive visual exploration through the realms of unique flora and fauna within Ireland’s bogs, wetlands and eskers, revealing the hidden gems that have lived and evolved for millennia.
These environments should be preserved for not only because they are important ecological homes for thousands of rare plant and insect species, but for their singular beauty.
Watch Tina’s interview with The Enthnographer below:
Tina Claffey’s upcoming book, Portal: Otherworldy Wonders of Ireland’s Bogs, Wetlands and Eskers is available to pre-order here.