Cloonshanville Bog, Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon

May 3, 2022 | Bogs in Transition

This month’s blog post comes from David j Pierce.On a visit to Minneapolis, USA David received an inspirational lesson from Brian Pobuda looking through the book ‘Photography as a Fine Art’, which showed the full scope of the photographic image. Returning to Ireland he worked as the darkroom technician at Inpho Photography before heading off in the early 90’s to study the subject intensively at Lette-Verein, Berlin. During the two year course he was introduced to the relatively new visual digital world, in particular Photoshop, and it was from here that he developed his skills over the years which now encompasses the moving image and other digital media in his work. 

David j. has exhibited his work, both photographic and film, in numerous international galleries including Ireland, Germany and the USA with many pieces  hanging in private collections.  

You can find David’s work on his website or contact him Mob: 086-3082645 [email protected] 

Cloonshanville Bog, Frenchpark

Bogs are a unique feature of the Irish landscape with some of the finest examples of their type in Europe, and probably the world. Cloonshanville Bog – a proposed Natural Heritage Area – is a raised bog site located 1.5km east of Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon, which ranks as one of the most important in Ireland and is also one of the most ecologically diverse in the country.

It wasn’t until Covid-19 hit in March 2020 and the beginning of the lockdown that I began to realise how lucky I was to have such a great resource close by. It was during this time that I
understood the services bogs provide which are worth billions of euro and may be easily jeopardised by inappropriate or shortsighted exploitation. I decided to capture the beauty of
this rare landscape.

My goal was to capture the beauty of the bog without giving much thought to their role in the ecosystem, in particular the dramatic atmosphere that black and white photography can create. I was not making images as a documentary of the flora, but more as an aesthetic, such as the light coloured grasses which stand out quite significantly against the dark ground – almost graphic in nature.

When you get down to look closely at the clumps of bog cotton they seem to have a
splendour and impressiveness in their appearance standing strong against the harsh weather. Yet another plant which can be seen are thin grasses with sparse leaves. When photographed against the sky the leaves look like silver jewels glistening in the sunshine – and in some ways they are as part of the biosphere.

Naturally, the Sphagnum Moss grows abundantly in the area and in certain places a fungus grows alongside it on top of pieces of wood that are raised above the water line, but remain damp.

This area has quite a lot of waterways with some creating deep ponds where reeds and other water plants flourish adding to the diversity of life. The more time I spend in this bog the more I discover and wish to capture in images.

I would be grateful if anyone who reads this and knows any of the names of the plants would
forward them on to me. You contact me via my website: