Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Ceide Fields, County Mayo

On our second day in County Sligo we took to the road for what turned out to be a very long car ride to The Ceide Fields.The journey across Sligo and into Mayo was beautiful, as we entered Ballina the river Moy was on our right, the golden sands on the beaches of the Atlantic were glimmer like they never seem to in Sligo, and it was one of those 'wow' moments.

As we entered the Mayo countryside on the other side of Ballina we were surrounded by rural farms on either side, tiny villages with old stone houses, and finally breathtaking cliffs with the Atlantic ocean crashing dramatically below. It's almost ridiculous to think that this natural beauty exists in my very own country.

I'm talking something like this:

Image found here
Our first stop was the Ceide Fields Interprative Centre.

Here's a snippet I extracted completely from their website:

One of the dramatic exhibits that confronts visitors on entering the centre is this 4,000 year old pine tree that was unearthed from nearby bogland.
Todays centre and its interior constructed from natural materials – sandstone, oak and glass – was a combination of local work and resources spearheaded by a local man Dr Seamus Caulfield and the Office of Public Works which is based in Dublin.
The result – the Ceide Fields Interpretative Centre, which received the Gold Medal Award from the RIAI and now attracts visitors from all over the world.

The Centre’s day to day running is in the capable hands of archaeological specialist Gretta Byrne who was part of Dr Caulfields original team.
The architectural and design response to this beautiful and sensitive environment was the use of a simple strong form often seen in lighthouses and martello towers which are a common feature on many coastlines. The resulting pyramid shape reflects the surrounding landscape – and in particular the Stags of Broadhaven which can be seen on the horizon.

We wandered around the informative exhibition and had a quick nibble and cup of tea in the café (tea must be taken at every potential opportunity in Ireland) , and then Leo and I headed outside to look around the fields.

Two archeologists were in the fields checking the soil for signs of activity buried below the peat, and that was really interesting to see. There were all sorts of unique flowers growing in the area, too.

Across the road is an observation point where you have a great view of the goats grazing in the next field and the big sea pillar.

Well worth the visit, even if you are far away. It's one of those rare, truly unique places.

For more information on the history of the fields, here the Wikipedia article.

The fields are located at  

The Ceide Fields Centre
County Mayo

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