Inspiring Abbeyleix bog boardwalk
Wild i column guest written by Brian Gaynor

Abbeyleix Bog Walk
Walking along the new boardwalk (pictured) in Abbeyleix Bog, with Chris Uys of Abbeyleix Bog Project, one can’t help but be inspired by what they have achieved here.

Walking along the new boardwalk (pictured) in Abbeyleix Bog, with Chris Uys of Abbeyleix Bog Project, one can’t help but be inspired by what they have achieved here.

Standing out at the end of the boardwalk one really does get to disconnect from all the trappings of modern life. Indeed the only reminder of human’s hand is the boardwalk itself. And to think that this could have all turned out so differently if plans to commercially exploit it had gone through. Thanks to this dedictated group of volunteers, the people of Abbeyleix and Laois now have a wonderful facility that the whole community can enjoy indefinately.

Inspired by this and other similar projects the Irish Wildlife Trust Laois-Offaly Branch is starting a new Conservation Volunteer Work Group to assist such projects. Our aim is to give people the opportunity to help protect and enhance the natural heritage of the region through practical conservation work that is safe and fun. It is geared towards people of all levels of fitness and skills. So don’t worry about not being able for it! And of course, we always make time for tea and biscuits!

Our work will be carried out on different Saturdays throughout the year. So far, we have three meetings planned for the remainder of this year, one each in September, October and November. We hope to roll it out on a more regular basis thereafter. Again there is no pressure on anybody who signs up to attend each session. It will be completely up to each person to decide when and where they would like to attend.

The type of work and location will vary depending on the time of the year and available projects. For example, we could be planting trees one week and then removing invasive plants or improving facilities at nature reserves the next.

It is also a great way to visit some of the hidden wild gems we have in the region. This could be an area of native woodland or bog in your immediate locality that you didn’t know was there or a part of the mighty Shannon or Slieve Bloom Mountains that you have yet to visit. Another bonus is that by spending just a few hours out in these sites gives you a great opportunity to see some of our marquee wildlife such as the red deer or peregrine falcon. And by volunteering you get the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to its long-term protection.

Our first outing will take place on the Saturday, September 27 from 11am-4pm in Abbeyleix Bog. We will meet at the car park in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel at 10.50am and go to the new boardwalk. As mentioned earlier if for some reason you can’t make it on time or have to leave early then please don’t let this put you off. We will working with the Abbeyleix Bog Project team to clear stunted trees from the bog beside the boardwalk to help restore the natural ecosystem.

To register to attend and to receive updates please contact Brian at

As always we appreciate any feedback and wildlife sightings, so if you wish to get in touch please do email your regular Wild I correspondant Ricky at:

Wildlife Events :

There is a great variety of nature based events taken place in the Midlands during this year’s National Heritage Week (23-31st Aug). Please check out their website to find an event that suites you at:

About the author

Brian Gaynor is from Portlaoise, he is an experienced Landscape Architect with further qualifications in the Environment and Heritage sectors. He is the current Secretary and Development Officer for the Irish Wildlife Trust Laois Offaly Branch.

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