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Our Visit to the Bog 
Last Friday the Newcastle school Principal Martin T. Kelly, invited the pupils of Carnaun School to the Bog near their school, with the for a research day. 
Our team was very well prepared thanks to our teacher Finbarr O’Regan. 
Dr Catharine O’Connell from IPCC was our guide for the day. In the school to watch a video about bogs and it was extremely interesting. On the video it showed how the bogs were formed. It showed us things that were found on bogs all around Ireland such as musical instruments, shoes, a butter churn, which actually had fresh butter in it, and a dead body (which was very interesting). After the video we were asked five questions: 
1. Name three plants that you saw on the video?
2. Name three animals seen on the video?
3. Name three things found on the bog?
4. How many years did it take to form?
5. And what were the stages of the bog?
We knew all the answers because we were very attentive and interested in our work. 
Monivea bog is like a huge drop of water sitting on a huge lump of wet peat with a skin of moss and heather. Walking across it was exciting. There were large dangerous pools and when you jumped it shook like an earthquake. Catherine gave us some sticky paper to gather, as many colours as we could and I could not believe there were so many colours in the bog. We saw strange plants: Sundew, Butterwort and Bladderwort. These nutrients and minerals need to bloom and grow by catching small insects and eating them. I knew about Spagnum Moss, which is interesting as it holds up to 20 times its weight in water. We saw heathers, which are small bushes that grow in the bog and change colour from brown to purple in the autumn. Because we learned a lot about the bog in school we recognised Bog Cotton and Bog Asphodel and the Royal Fern. 
We also knew all about the Parmelia Parlata, the lichen that shows that the air is pure and clear. We learned about match stitch lichen and bearded lichen. We learnt about the bog birds such as curlew, skylark, meadow pipit, golden plover, red grouse and snipe who camouflage themselves to protect themselves from the fox. They are ground nesting birds and sometimes the fox takes their eggs. We saw hare droppings and know that foxes, badgers, rabbits and many other animals live on or around the bog. We came to a big pool, which had yellow irises, bull rushes, pondweed and lilies. We knew these because we have them in our school pond. In school we learn about the different types of plants, which are floating plants, submerging plants and emergent plants. I saw dragon flies, newts, raft spiders, whirling beetle, water boatmen, pond skaters, frogs which we knew from our pond and some we did not know. The most interesting thing we learned about was how to find out the age of the bog. This bog was 12 thousand years old. There was some lovely big lumps of bogwood to be seen where the turf was cut away. This year’s turf was piled in “grógíní” and was very dry because of the fine weather. When we got to the top of the bog we all sat down and had a very welcome lunch. 
On our way back some of the children were careless when they were going across the drains and nearly lost their wellies. We had a great day. 
A Special Thanks to Mr. Martin T. Kelly for inviting us to the bog and for Dr. Catherine O’Connell for her guided tour and thanks to Finbarr for bringing us and I hope he brings us again! :-)

Tara O'R. reporting from Newcastle Bog, Ireland.


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