The Bog of Allen Nature Centre is an international centre for peatland education, conservation and research run by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council.
Explore the typical interior of a traditional Irish cottage, where the turf fire was the main source of heating and cooking in 19th century Ireland. See ancient treasures like bog butter, coins, the Great Irish Elk and an ancient dugout canoe, all recovered in an excellent state of preservation from the Bog of Allen.
Visit an exhibition celebrating the beauty of Irish boglands and their unique wildlife. Irish bogs have a valuable role in storing greenhouse gases and carbon, storing water, helping to control flooding, providing a refuge for plants and animals and providing spectacular places for recreation.
In the gardens at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre is a special feature called Flytraps, a greenhouse of insect eating plants which are found in bogs all over the world; it is the largest such collection in Ireland and Britain. You can see active insect trappers such as Sundews, Venus Fly Trap, Butterwort and Bladderwort. All these plants move to catch insect prey. You will also see passive fly trappers such as the Cobra Lily and Pitcher Plants (these plants use a range of tactics to lure insects to them, such as drugging them with “narcotic-enhanced” nectar).
The stages in the formation of a raised bog are shown in the gardens. See the reconstructed habitats of lake, fen and bog representing ten thousand years of history. Dip for mini-beasts in the wetland habitats and see sphagnum moss – the bog building plant that holds up to 20 times its own weight in water.
The wildlife conservation gardens at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre are situated on a one acre site to the rear of the centre. Work began on the gardens in 2004 with the aim of providing a refuge for biodiversity. The gardens are entirely peat free. Home-made compost is used to enrich the soil. The wild flower beds have been created to benefit insects. The gardens are managed without using pesticides, chemicals, peat based soil improvers or tap water. Pests such as snails are controlled by encouraging a healthy population of frogs and beetles.
Finish your day in the bog by visiting Lodge Bog, a living bog nature reserve in the Bog of Allen. Here you can find live sundews, feel the watery bog move and listen for the curlew calling. There is a boardwalk on the site and a seating area for you to take in all the sights and sounds.
Open all year, Mon to Fri: 9am – 5pm, last visit 4pm.
Special weekend openings from May to September, check events for details.
Not open Christmas or public holidays.