Peatlands in the world amount to only 3% of the land coverage which is about 3 million square miles. It is concentrated in the northern hemisphere where Canada and Russia between them have almost 70% of the world’s peat. A small country like Ireland may not significantly add to the world’s coverage but in terms of concentration, peatlands cover 16.2% of this island, which is exceeded only by Canada, Indonesia and Finland. We refer to this land as bogs but in other countries they may be called mires, moors or muskegs. They are unique in the world and can be compared to the rainforests in a number of remote regions.
There are two types of bog in Ireland 1) Raised bogs which are found in the midlands and 2) Blanket bogs which are found mainly along the counties on the Wild Atlantic Way, most developed in Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. These blanket bogs are globally the rarest of all and Ireland possesses 8% of the world’s total. They are generally found in wet or upland areas and their depth is usually 2 to 3 metres. The bog grows, but only at a millimetre per year, so 2 metres can take around 2000 years. Peat used in Balneotherapy should be mined from the deepest level in these bogs.
To be continued…….