Landscapes for living!

Ben Bulben, County Sligo

Flat lying sequences of Carboniferous limestones and shales have been dissected into the upland plateaux of the northwest of Ireland, with Ben Bulben forming an iconic landform on the coast of County Sligo.

Photo: Dan Tietzsch-Tyler

The Burren plateau, County Clare

It is the finest example of a karstic terrain in Ireland, with a full assemblage of the curious landforms and subterranean drainage systems that characterise such limestone terrains. The Burren is famous internationally, not just because of its beautiful limestone landscapes but also because of the remarkable flora of the region and its rich archaeological heritage. The term ‘Burren’ is derived from the Gaelic for ‘stony place’.

Photo:David Drew

Valentia Island Tetrapod Trackway, County Kerry

A series of the footprints of a tetrapod - a large amphibian animal that walked on soft sediment 385 million years ago. A unique record of the transition of life from the sea to land.

Photo: Matthew Parkes

Carlow, County Carlow

Carlow in southeast Ireland has extensive lowland areas of farmland. The wispy mist picks out some low hills in a region underlain by the Leinster Granite. Castlecomer Plateau, the low feature in the background, is underlain by flat-lying sediments which were deposited directly on granite after the latter had been exposed by prolonged weathering. These sediments include some thin seams of anthracite and this area once supported some thriving mining communities.

Photo: Peadar McArdle

Clew Bay, County Mayo

The drowning of a drumlin field by post glacial sea level rise is only the latest event in the long landscape history of Clew Bay. The view of the bay is from Croagh Patrick - Ireland's Holy Mountain, whose quartzite peak dominates the area.

Photo: Matthew Parkes

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

The famous vertical cliffs, 200m high, on Ireland's west coast, represent a Carboniferous delta system which filled a marine basin, ending the limestone deposition of the Burren, now just to the north.

Photo: Conor MacDermot

The Great Sugar Loaf, County Wicklow

The rocky, conical Cambrian quartzite peak dominates the skyline in North Wiclow, and contrasts with the rounded Devonian age granite mountains to the west. Popularly mistaken as a volcano, it is in fact an erosion resistant sedimentary deposit from the deep sea. It affords magnificent views of the Wicklow Mountains and the Coastline.

Photo: Brian McConnell

Mount Leinster, County Wicklow

Located in the Blackstairs Mountains of southeast Ireland, these misty mountains form the southern part of the Leinster Granite, the largest granite body in this part of Europe. It extends to the very suburbs of Dublin city. The granite originated as liquid magma with a temperature of 650 degrees Celsius which migrated upwards through the Earth's crust and solidified at a depth of less than 10km beneath the surface. It was one of the final events in the closing of an ancient ocean here 405 million years ago. This is an area with mixed farming, forestry and recreational uses - and is a hidden Irish jewel.

Photo: Peadar McArdle

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Cliffs of MoherClew BayGreat Sugar LoafBen BulbenValentia IslandThe BurrenMount LeinsterCarlow