Turbary (Turf Cutting)

The cutting of turf for fuel is permitted under licence in degraded areas of Connemara National Park and Wicklow Mountains National Park. In both cases this activity was established as a traditional activity before the lands were acquired by the State and designated as National Parks. The National Parks & Wildlife Service has permitted the continued cutting of turf, for a yearly fee, in specific areas of both parks, which have been previously cut and which are of minimal ecological importance. No further or additional turbary activity is allowed in any other areas within the parks.


Wicklow Mountains National Park

Turf cutting is permitted for a group of individuals (approx. 30) who have traditionally had access to 2 specific areas for this purpose prior to its acquisition by the State. Cutting is allowed by hand only and turf cutting machinery is not permitted. Each cutter must pay an agreed fee per year which is collected by an agent. The agent is allocated a turf bank free of charge as payment for his/her services.


Connemara National Park

The following conditions apply to turbary licences issued for Connemara National Park:

  • Turf can be cut for domestic use only.
  • The licensee is required to indemnify the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government against all actions, proceedings, claims and demands by any person whatsoever arising out of the award of the licence.
  • A licence does not create a contract of tenancy.
  • The licensee is confined to a specified plot and cutting by hand only is permitted.
  • The turf is to be cut so that water may pass freely through the trenches from which the turf has been removed and must not obstruct the drainage from adjacent turbary plots or other lands.
  • At least 12 inches/30 cms of turf or bog mould over the sub-soil or bedrock is to be left so as to facilitate subsequent reclamation works.
  • The bog must not be cut below a level in relation to the water-course into which the bog waters drain so as to prevent the efficient drainage or reclamation of the cut-away bog.
  • All cut turf is to be removed from the plot at the expiration of the licence, weather conditions permitting and in the event of failure to do so the National Parks & Wildlife Service may remove the turf and retain it for its own use.


Withdrawal of Licence

The licence may be withdrawn in the event of:

  • A breach of the above licence conditions. 
  •  Failure to make prompt payment of the agreed fee. 
  •  A breach of any statutory provisions.