Lofty Bog

On the approach to Kilruane village, on the Nenagh to Cloughjordan road, there is a large
area of wetland and bog. Between the bog and the road stands the parish hall – locally
known as the floating ballroom. I am sure there are great stories told of dances and plays
held there over the years.
The wetlands behind the ballroom are known as Lofty bog. It was a wonderful wildlife
sanctuary, open to anyone who wanted to enjoy it. Some years ago, there were plans to do
different things with it, but some locals formed a committee “To save Lofty Bog” and they
succeeded in turning it into a wildlife sanctuary, with great success. They had a hide
erected with benches and long windows with an all-round view of the whole area. There
was seating for five or six people who could sit in comfort observing all that went on, while
taking photographs and talking.
During the winter, the Geese and Whooper Swans flew in from their feeding grounds from
miles around to spend their nights in safety. The swans came in just before dark, in small
groups of five or ten or more, up to eighty altogether, with their undercarriages down for
landing. You could hear them from a mile out.
Unfortunately, the water area in front of the hide has now closed in with the rushes over the
last few years, and only a small area of a few acres of water still remain. The flocks of
swans and geese have now moved to other places like Ashley Park and Ballyluskey for their
nightly rest.
I miss the wonderful feeling the wildlife of Lofty Bog gave me and my fellow
photographers and friends over the years. I have tried to put some of those feelings into the
enclosed poem. I hope you enjoy it. I did.
Lofty Bog in Killruane, where the floating ballroom stands
A sanctuary for birds and man was made by God’s own hands
A group of Teal came racing in as evening turns to night
Where mine and Andy’s photos catch the beauty of their flight
There are Widgeon Teal and Mallard, Brent Geese and Hooper Swan
Each has his place the waters grace with noise of evensong
Wild fowl in abundance swim about the flooded bog
They are safe to lay, and nest, and hatch without fear of man or dog
It’s great to see them taking off without a word of warning
To flash across the Bog at speed on a cold and frosty morning
Long may we have this Sanctuary of wildlife and its treasure
Spend an evening on that boggy marsh or the corners of the lake
A flight of duck on a gentle breeze led in by a Mallard drake
It’s almost night when you hear the flight – a swish of wings – a splash
A happy quack you see the pack of Widgeon near the Ash
You could not put a price on that in moonlight, frost or fog
The peace and the tranquillity you get in Lofty Bog.