Owenirragh is an isolated area of conifer plantation which lies 6 kilometres
northeast of Glenamoy, Co. Mayo. It is one of the largest sites in the
project covering an area of 166 hectares, c. 100 hectares of which are
planted with conifers. A portion of the site lies within the Glenamoy
Bog Complex Special Area of Conservation. The blanket bog habitat within
this SAC is one of the largest areas of the habitat in the country and is
perhaps the best example of blanket bog occurring in an extreme oceanic
environment. The SAC area in general has an excellent representation of
typical blanket bog habitats. Of particular note is the occurrence of numerous
flushes and streams, some of which are extensive and support rare plant
species such as the moss Homalothecium nitens and the legally protected
marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus).
Much of the afforested portion of the site comprises relatively young conifer
trees under which there still exists a bog flora, albeit modified and species-poor.
A substantial area of high quality, uplanted blanket bog also occurs within
the site and this area contains many large pools. The bog vegetation is
generally dominated by purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) and
black bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans) while the blanket bog pools
are characterised by a sparse flora which includes bog bean (Menyanthes
trifoliata), many-stemmed spike-rush (Eleocharis multicaulis)
and pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum). The European distribution of
this latter species is confined to lakes and pools in lowland blanket bog
areas of Ireland and western Scotland. This area of bog has also a well-
developed Sphagnum cover including some large hummocks of Sphagnum
imbricatum and S. fuscum.
The conifers at this site will be felled, left on site and any significant
drains will be blocked.