Girley Bog


Drewstown Woods, near Kells, Co. Meath

Site Description

Throughout most of history Irish bogs were impassable.  To cross the wet, boggy terrain people built bog roads or 'toghers'.  In the 20th century, as the bogs were exploited for fuel, thousands of important archaeological finds were made - including swords, jewellery, trumpets and human bodies (preserved by the acid nature of the bog).
Another interesting use of the bog was to keep butter cool during Summer - and there have been many finds of butter kept in wooden containers called 'methers'.
Girley Bog is a site of considerable conservation significance as it comprises raised bog - a rare habitat in Europe and one that is becoming increasingly scarce and under threat in Ireland.  The loop covers a variety of landscape of forest and bogland - and has been developed as an eco-walk with interpretive panels throughout.  The early section traverses coniferous forestry planted on high bog - the trees are fast growing species (Sitka Spruce and Lodgepole Pine) that originate in North America.  The main element of the loop is within the bogland where there is a wonderful variety of birdlife, plants and animals.

Girley Bog  NHA No. 001580

A section of Girley Bog (Natural Heritage Area) which was planted with conifers in the 1960's is being restored back to raised bog under a new nature conservation project. 

The project (LIFE09/222 "Demonstrating Best Practice in Raised Bog Restoration in Ireland") jointly funded by the EU DG-Environment (under its LIFE-Nature Programme), National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) part of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Coillte.  The project commenced in 2011 and runs until the end of 2015.

For more information about this project visit :       

Or download the project brochure at    

Conifers on 32.2 hectares of Girley Bog have recently been clearfelled, forestry drains will be blocked in the near future, which will raise the water levels on the site.  This will create favourable conditions for the growth of sphagnum mosses (peat forming mosses) on this bog.  We plan to place interpretative signage and a short boardwalk /bog bridge / eco-grid walk out onto the bog in the next year or two so that visitors to the site can learn more about this important restoration project and see the project actions and the recovering bog vegetation.  The edges of the bog will most likely return to birch woodland as can be seen on the edge of most Irish raised bogs.

To organise a group bog walk / talk on Girley Bog LIFE project, please contact        

Girley Bog Features

Walking Trails, EU Life Site, Nature Conservation, Raised Bogs,

How do I get there?

Starting from the centre of Kells Town take the N52 following the signs for Mullingar. On the outskirts of the town turn right - following the N52 for Mullingar. Continue to follow the N52 for approximately 7km to reach a sandy / garvelled forestry road located on the left near forestry.  Turn onto this roadway and follow for approximately 100m to reach the trailhead.  (Note: The trailhead is signposted from Kells.)

Get directions to this site


No of car spaces:10
map legend

Contact Info

Contact name:Tony Quinn