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485 million years of Dingle rocks

485 million years of Dingle rocks


The geological history of the Dingle Peninsula started 485 million years ago when Ireland was south of the equator. The rocks track our movement northwards through shallow seas, volcanic activity, deep ocean and tropical conditions. They also show evidence of mountain building events, faulting, folding, and fossil remains of life. The landscape we see today is due to the presence of glaciers in the last 2.5 million years. The Dingle Peninsula is special to geologists because its amazing and complex story is accessible along the coast over a relatively short distance. The geology of the area and the work of the Atlantic Ocean have given Kerry its special coastline, loved by local people and visitors alike.


Geology of the Dingle Peninsula – a field guide was written with love and enthusiasm by two internationally renowned geologists, Emeritus Professor Ken Higgs, University College Cork, and Emeritus Professor Brian Williams, University of Aberdeen, both of whom have worked for many years in the area, and have taught and inspired many of their students on the beaches, coves and headlands of the Dingle Peninsula. The book is dedicated to Ralph Horne, former Assistant Director of Geological Survey Ireland (GSI), who contributed enormously to promoting the modern geological understanding of the Dingle Peninsula. Speaking at the launch Koen Verbruggen, GSI Director said, "This book is amazing, it captures the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, the importance of the geology, and explains the origin and science of the rocks in a way that is accessible to both geologists and non-geologists." The guide book includes a new 1:50,000 scale geology map of the peninsula. They were edited by Dr Brian McConnell, GSI, produced by Cartography Unit GSI and published by GSI.


Geological Survey Ireland was founded in 1845 to map the geology of Ireland and to gain an understanding of the mineral resources. Early mapping was carried out by people walking the length and breadth of the island, marking every rock on the newly produced Ordnance Survey 6-inch maps, making drawings, sketches, and detailed descriptions of the rocks. That early work is the basis of our work today but we now use boats, planes, drones and drills to enhance that knowledge.  GSI is part of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The Dingle Peninsula was first mapped for the Geological Survey in the 1850s by George Victor Du Noyer. His maps are works of art as well as science and some of his Dingle original field sheets were recently on exhibition at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, and will soon be on show in Collins Barracks, Dublin.


The book was launched in the Dingle Skellig Hotel on Wednesday 23rd May and is available locally and at GSI for €20, both in our customer centre and online shop.