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Slow Travel with Diarmaid Griffin




Tóg go bog é

Diarmaid Griffin

The premise of slow travel is one that is gaining popularity across the world and it can be summarised by that old Irish phrase ‘tóg go bog é’ which translates to ‘take it easy’ or ‘take it softly’.

‘Bog’ is also a place and a Scots Gaelic/Irish Gaelic word that started to be used in the English language circa 1500. It means soft; which for those that have spent any time in the bog, makes perfect sense!

The majority of boglands in the Killarney area are Atlantic blanket bogs as like a blanket, they stretch over vast areas but are not particularly deep (2-7metres). These Atlantic boglands were formed in part by the regular, high rainfall that we get here on the west coast of Ireland. Mountain blanket bogs are found in our uplands (+200 metres above sea level) and are very similar in formation.

Boglands started to form here around 7,000 years ago and most formed around 4,000 years ago when our climate became wetter. This heavy rain, which we are all too familiar with, leached minerals from the soil over time. Amongst these minerals was iron, that washed down through the soil to form an iron pan. This pan became impermeable, so no water could escape from the surface. Waterlogging resulted and this prevented decomposition. Layers of organic material builds up, year on year, slowly accumulating over hundreds and thousands of years. This is partial decomposed vegetation that is now a carbon store and can give us an insight into the plants that grew here, thousands of years ago. Only a small amount of blanket bog exists in the world, with Ireland being the most important country in Europe for this habitat.

Boglands or peatlands are not only wet and soft but are low in nutrients, which poses a challenge to the plants that make this habitat their home. This environment has led to dramatic adaptations that are demonstrated by bog myrtle, sundew, and butterwort. Sundew and butterwort are two native plants of our boglands that survive by attracting and capturing insects. Consuming these protein rich insects provides these deadly plants with the nitrogen they need to live healthy and happy lives!

Bog myrtle, or sweet gale as it is otherwise known as, has a different strategy, one of cooperation and collaboration. It has nodules in its root system, that accommodate special bacteria that can take nitrogen from the air and ‘fix it’ to become nitrogen useful to the plant. The bacteria get a home and food, while the bog myrtle gets the nitrates that it so badly needs.

The most prolific grass of the uplands is called purple moor grass and it is this that causes the marked change of colour on our mountains and hills, from the green of summer to the brown of winter. Despite it being so successful, it too has its limits and decides to shut up shop for the winter. It dies back in winter, retreats into the ground and casts off its leaves just like our deciduous trees.

No article on boglands would be complete without mentioning sphagnum. This species of moss, like all mosses is a primitive plant, without a root system that relies on heavy rainfall in waterlogged habitats. It is so absorbent of liquid that it was used during World War 1 for absorbing blood. This important plant also has an antibacterial quality that make it a valuable resource for wounds. It is very important in the absorption of rain after heavy rainfall events, by acting like a sponge, thus preventing flooding further downstream. In fact, dried sphagnum can absorb 20 times its weight in liquid.

As spring slowly unfurls, why not take a walk in a bogland near you. If you don’t feel like an uphill trek, there are other options. The well signed Bog Walk that was established by Kilcummin Rural Development is open to the public and more details can be found on their Facebook page. Boglands are truly great places to ‘tóg go bog é’.

For more insights, or to join me on one of my tours, follow me on Instagram @slowtravelkerry or email me

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Killarney to feature on TG4’s Country Music show

By Sean Moriarty A song about Killarney – once made famous by local Country Music hero Dermot Moriarty – will feature on TG4 tomorrow night (Tuesday). The second series of […]




By Sean Moriarty

A song about Killarney – once made famous by local Country Music hero Dermot Moriarty – will feature on TG4 tomorrow night (Tuesday).

The second series of the Irish channel’s County Music show ‘Viva Ceol Tire’, which highlights emerging Country Music talent in Ireland, airs every Tuesday night at 9.30pm.

The next programme will feature Donegal singer David James’ version of ‘Oh Killarney’.

The programme was filmed entirely on location in Killarney including Torc Waterfall, Ladies View Moll’s Gap and Kate Kearney’s Cottage.

“The song was written by Dennis Allen. However, it was a hit for Dermot Moriarty in the 1980s. The first time I heard it I loved it and I was thrilled with the reaction my version has got,” James, who is from the small village of Killean in Donegal, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It’s pretty rural but I love it. I’ll be in Country Music 10 years this May. My first gig was in the local GAA hall for my aunt’s 50th birthday. I was 14 and I’ve been at it ever since.”



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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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