Preparing the ground

William P. Warren

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Pristine Mire Landscapes

Tullamore, Ireland

deglaciation, glaciolacustrine, irish-midlands, isostacy, postglacial

Warren 2008: Preparing the ground


The concentration of raised peat bogs across the centre of Ireland is often attributed simply to the poorly drained nature of the Shannon basin and the former occurrence of a broad interconnecting network of lakes across the postglacial landscape. This describes the conditions that obtained, but not the cause. The nature of deglaciation, the disposition of the retreating ice sheets relative to one another and the isostatic lowering of the land surface were critical factors in determining the conditions that lead to the rapid growth of basin peat in the central midlands. Fundamental to this was the way in which the ice sheet, which had been composed of a number of coalescing ice domes broke up into its constituent parts while the domes retreated back to their centres of dispersion.