A NORTH-American woman cycled through Clare recently raising awareness about peatland conservation in Ireland. Her cycling challenge began on September 19 and she arrived in the Boghill Centre in Kilfenora last week.
Annie Capell from San Francisco is spending a month pedalling her way around the bogs of Ireland in a bid to raise awareness about peatland conservation and raise funds for the Irish Peatland Conservation Council’s (IPCC) Save the Bogs Campaign.
“I’ve worked for Patagonia since 2007 and am now the enviro/event coordinator for their San Francisco store. This role has inspired the environmental side of me and brought out the desire to put back into this world all the wonderful things I have taken out of it.
“Patagonia offers internships to employees who want to go out into the world and make a difference. Our job is to find a charity that works on something close to our hearts and make a proposal. Being of Irish descent, an environmentalist and a lover of biking, I wanted to find a way to travel the country of Ireland, while raising awareness for land conservation, which led me straight to the IPCC”, says Annie.
The IPCC is the charity that aims to conserve a representative sample of Irish peatlands for future generations to enjoy. Annie says it was just the type of group to inspire her. “And the icing on the cake – they use bikes to take their volunteers to different bogs across the country. This is just what I was looking for; a way to travel with purpose, follow my heart and help protect some beautiful land,” she added.
Annie’s goal is to travel Ireland by bike for four weeks, visiting as many of the bogs as her legs can pedal to. She bought a bike in Dublin and plans to donate the bike and any funds donated by the public towards the save the bogs campaign.
Annie is writing a blog, Pedal for Peat’s Sake, to raise awareness of all that she sees and does. The blog also includes a donation facility for members of the public who are inspired by her challenge.
Pedal for Peat’s Sake began at the Patagonia store in Dublin and Annie’s first bog visit was the Bog of Allen. From there, she cycled down to Fenor in Waterford and to Gristan in Limerick, visiting Kerry before crossing over to Clare and the Boghill Centre between Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna.
“I got talked into biking the 55km to the Boghill Centre along the west coast and let me say, this was the best day of my trip. [It was] so nice, I did an extra 10km to go to the Cliffs of Moher.
“The ocean breeze was in my favor, the sun was shining through the clouds, the smells of the sea and the rolling hills made me wonder if I ever wanted to be anywhere else. It was great. The Boghill Centre was just as wonderful. A generous staff, wonderful room and the space they created is peaceful, thoughtful and like being at home.”
After a rest at Boghill, Annie headed for Galway to take in the Oyster Festival and visit Galway’s Roundstone Bog.