Original Article


, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 51-61

First online:

Analysis of the peat slide at Pollatomish, County Mayo, Ireland

  • Michael LongAffiliated withCollege Lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, University College Dublin Email author 
  • , Paul JenningsAffiliated withDirector, AGEC Ltd. Consulting Engineers

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


A major landslide event occurred at Pollatomish, County Mayo, Ireland in September 2003, during a period of intense rainfall. It comprised about 30 significant individual longitudinal planar type slides of peat and weathered rock. Relatively simple limit state stability analyses, using the method of slices and an infinite slope analysis, were used to model the slide and it was found that the features observed on site could easily be reproduced. These included confirmation that thin layers of peat could be stable on steep slopes but the margin of safety reduces rapidly under elevated pore pressure conditions. As was observed in the field, the analyses suggested the most vulnerable zone was the upper layer of weathered rock but that slides could occur in the peat if its thickness was appreciable. Careful site characterization is vital in such studies. Here efforts have been made to understand the effect of fibers on the peat strength and some sensitivity analyes have been performed to assess the critical engineering parameters of the peat.


Peat Weathered rock Translational (planar) County Mayo Northwest Ireland