This open expanse of rehabilitated land is a place to potter and ponder. The old commercial, now exhausted, bog has been restored for a variety of leisure activities, from hiking and cycling to coarse angling and bird-watching (more than 150 species make their home here). When it was first established in 2001 there were just 11 breeding pairs of gray partridge in the parkland—now it's a sanctuary for more than 100 of these ground-nesting birds, the last remaining population of them in Ireland. You're unlikely to see them, however, as they spend only one minute of each day in the air. Best of all, Lough Boora is home to one of Ireland's most unique sculpture parks. Along the Sculpture Walk, where golden plovers, lapwings, and starlings may accompany you, 22 large-scale sculptures made from local materials (including glacial stone, water, and willow) have been created by artists influenced by the legacy of the bogs. The result is some of the most creative environmental outdoor
artwork anywhere in Ireland. To cite one instance, the installation artist Mike Bulfin has turned a rusty old bog train into a cartoonish curve whose image will remain imprinted in your mind long after your visit to this magical place. A new café opened in 2014 and serves snacks from 10 am to 6 pm. An off-road bike trail runs for 22 km (13 miles). Bikes can be hired for an hour (€3) or half day (€10). You can choose from six different looped color-coded walks while guided walking tours run April–September.
Boora, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland