Down to Earth
Exploring Ireland’s Geology
Visit the Down to Earth – Exploring Ireland’s Geology exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland (Collins Barracks, Dublin 7). Running until March 2023.
In 2012 the IGA Council identified a very good A1 poster, showing the Geological Periods and Epochs, juxtaposed with their life forms, the major index fossils of the time, and the then current continental positions. This poster was half in German and half in English and did not have the new nomenclature for the Periods and Epochs. The IGA Council decided to seek funding for the editing and printing of a revised version of this poster and for its distribution to all the secondary schools in Ireland, along with a booklet on basic Irish geology (see below), plus extra rock sets for schools that don’t yet have them.
What is Ireland’s Fossil Heritage?
Ireland’s Fossil Heritage is a science engagement project funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). We are based at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork (UCC). The project aims to increase awareness of, and interest in, Irish fossils by offering a diverse range of free resources to the public, including school workshops, a travelling exhibit, science and art collaborations and lots of interactive web content for all ages and backgrounds.
Why should we care about Irish fossils?
Ireland’s natural landscape is made up of diverse and unique rocks which contain clues about the ancient Earth. We can connect to this mysterious past by discovering and exploring the rocks beneath our feet. Hidden within some of these rocks are the remains of plants and animals that lived in Ireland millions of years ago. These fossils can teach us about exciting prehistoric worlds.
Dr Ian Sanders of TCD has published an excellent booklet to help geography teachers explain the basic principles of Geology to their students.
In conjunction with this booklet, Dr. Sanders has rock sets of six common Irish rocks on offer to geography teachers. He can be contacted at – ISANDERS@tcd.ie.
Dr Patrick Wyse Jackson, Curator of Trinity’s Geology Museum, along with Dr Matthew Parkes of the National Museum, and with assistance from the Ulster Museum, have together set up a website to assist teachers of geography / geology in Ireland: www.geoschol.com
Geoschol.com offers a number of very informative wall posters, such as:
“HOW TALL ARE YOU? Travel through Ireland’s geological past as you Grow”
“PLANET EARTH – The Rock Cycle”
“WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?”
“BUILDING STONES OF IRELAND”
An activity booklet Discovering Ireland’s Rocks and Fossils is also available, as are explanatory full colour leaflets on the geology of each Irish county.
There are also links to other booklets and resources and a comprehensive list of online geological links.
Visit their excellent website and see all that’s on offer. Patrick Wyse Jackson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, should you want to organise a visit to TCD’s excellent Geological Museum to view their lovely collection of fossils, rocks and minerals.
Further information about geology for schools in Ireland can be found at GEOSCHOL where a wealth of posters, maps, activities and other downloads can be found.
Making Victorian Dublin is an exciting and innovative collaborative project between geologists and architectural historians at Trinity College Dublin which has revealed the building industry responsible for Ireland’s Victorian architecture. Funded by the Irish Research Council, the project aims to open new interdisciplinary horizons for the research of Ireland’s past. For too long the craftsmen and quarrymen who cut, carved and constructed splendid buildings in Ireland’s towns, cities and countryside have been lost to history, overshadowed by the architects and patrons who designed and commissioned them. But without the marble masons, stone cutters, carvers and builders these richly coloured and impeccably detailed buildings simply could not have been achieved.Focused on Ireland’s most significant and influential building of the period, the Museum Building of Trinity College Dublin, researchers have uncovered the remarkable network of quarries, craft communities and transport routes which enabled its construction. A few strides within this building displays the full range of Ireland’s remarkable stone resources. The Museum Building pioneered the patriotic use of native coloured stone and established a taste for Connemara marble and Cork Red limestone which spread across Ireland to Britain and the United States. Connemara marble with its distinctive green and white colour banding would become emblematic of Irish identity. Further nationalistic emphasis is provided by elaborate stone carvings of the building that reveal a rich and diverse flora and fauna with a significant Irish-flavour.Visitors to the website will experience a three-dimensional laser-scan of the Museum Building, its spectacular stone types and naturalistic carvings and architectural sources that influenced the architects Deane and Woodward, and will learn of the history of Connemara Marble and its impact worldwide. The site is essential viewing for all who are interested in Ireland’s natural, built, and cultural heritage.Further details from PatrickWyse Jackson (Department of Geology, Trinity College, Dublin), email@example.com Christine Casey (Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College, Dublin), firstname.lastname@example.org .