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2017 IQUA Field meeting, South – West Donegal, 15th – 17th of September.

Below are details of our exciting IQUA field trip to South-west Donegal over the weekend of the 15th – 17th of September so save the dates and hopefully we will see you all in Donegal.
About 8:00 pm on Friday the 15th there will be a welcome address in the meeting room of the Nesbitt Arms Hotel by Lochlann McGill. Lochlann is President of Donegal Historical Society and author of In Conall’s Footsteps, which describes local Neolithic, Bronze Age and early Christian archaeology; then a talk by Helene Burningham Coastal Research specialist at UCL who has studied the dunes and estuaries of west Donegal for many years.
On Saturday morning (9:00 start) the main focus will be around the Ardara - Narin area. We will visit and discuss archaeology and complementary neotectonics evidence that bears on the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition. BYO lunch (tea/coffee supplied) will be at the Sheskinmore Nature Reserve Hostel. This reserve comprises large areas of sand dunes, lake and marsh that lies between Kiltoorish and Loughros More, north west of Ardara. This area is designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Wildfowl Sanctuary. There will be talks by Bettina Stefanini on the Palaeonvironmental evidence of the area and John Shaw (Canadian Geological Survey) at the hostel and a walk across part of the reserve. A visit to Kilclooney Dolmen will conclude the afternoon.
On Sunday we will visit Malinmore, Malinbeg & Glencolmcille led by Dr. Brian Lacy, who has been researching the archaeology and early medieval history of Cos Donegal and Derry for 40 years. A former university lecturer and museum director in Derry, he directed the archaeological survey of Donegal (1979-83). His particular interest is the lore and archaeology of Glencolmcille and early Christian remains in the area. We aim to return to Ardara carpark by 2:30 pm to let drivers make good headway homewards before dark.

Map fArdara area.


We will be based in Ardara, 20 Km from Donegal town.
Due to narrow roads our day trips will be by minibuses from the car park close to Ardara bridge,

Places to stay
The Nesbitt Arms in Ardara will be the venue for Friday night and rooms have been kept for IQUA members for Friday and Saturday night so you can book for weekend 15-17 September.
They currently have 10 single rooms available for €75 per night B&B
Also plenty of double rooms for €100 per night B&B.
Please call the Nesbitt Arms on 074951103 and reserve your room.

There is also the Drumbaran Hostel in Ardara (0749541200). It will be available in September. It has 5 double rooms B&B and in a separate house with 4 double rooms to rent separately.


To enable estimates of the level of attendance it would be most helpful if intending participants would indicate their likely interest by email to Ellen on as soon as possible. This will help us estimate minibus hire and attendance numbers.





The 2016 IQUA Annual Field Meeting

2016 field trip group

Photo: Christy Lawless

Irish Quaternary Association Autumn meeting 2016

Dates:30 September to 2 October 2016

Venue: Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort, Co. Galway


Reconstructing the Burren Landscape

Over the course of the first weekend in October, thirty-seven intrepid landscape enthusiasts traversed the Burren as part of the annual Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) fieldtrip.  The group consisted of amateurs, professionals, academics and students, all interested in delving into ancient landscape histories.  The weekend fieldtrip was organized by members of the Galway Geological Association (GGA).
On Friday evening Pete Coxon (Trinity College) described interglacial deposits found along the Boleyneendorish River, north west of Gort and examined first by Kinahan and Melville in the late 1800s and subsequently by Farrington, Mitchell, Jessen and Watts.  The work conducted near Gort was a seminal piece of interglacial research. On Saturday morning the group climbed Turlough Hill with its spectacular views across Galway Bay to look at  the large straight-sided summit cairn and hear about the enigmatic labyrinthine enclosure and c. 160 structural foundations with Ros Ó Maold
úin (NUI Galway).  The climb consists of short but tough hands-on climbs which all participants adroitly mastered.  Maria Long (Ecologist) described the unique plant biodiversity, how the botanical landscape is altering as a result of changes in farming, land abandonment and climate change, and the challenge of keeping the Burren a living landscape – one vibrant with human, plant and wild animal life. In the afternoon David Drew (Trinity College) and Colin Bunce (Burren Outdoor Education Centre) led the group around the Carran and Kilcorney-Meggagh depression, an area some 16 km2 enclosed by the 140 m contour, posing many interesting questions about its formation, drainage and the very shallow sediment deposits. We finished up in the Carran Field Study Centre looking at artefacts from Fanore with Michael Lynch. On the way back to Gort, Jenni Roche (Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership) described the dynamics and longevity of a relict Scots Pine population at Rockforest Lough.  Her talk was fittingly framed by a spectacular sun-set.

On Sunday the group visited a very evocative, mist shrouded Poulnabrone Portal Tomb with talks from Joanna Nolan (Archaeologist), David Drew and Maria Long.  This iconic megalithic monument was excavated in 1986 and 1988 by Anne Lynch and reanalyzed in her 2014 book.  Excavated bone fragments suggest burials of at least 19 adults and 17 children, while a further 42 artefacts and 126 pottery shards were recovered.  A Mesolithic shell midden site in Fanore More was the next stop with archaeologist Michael Lynch.  Shell and burnt stone found directly above the limestone and beneath a storm beach confirm its early origin.  Excavations revealed a stone axe, and large quantities of shale, chert and sandstone flakes suggesting axe manufacturing functions as well as shellfish harvesting.  The final stop was Polsallagh Bay where Mike Simms (National Museums, Northern Ireland) and Eamon Doyle (Burren Geopark) outlined the geological and Quaternary history of the Burren.  Polsallagh bay appears to represent the seaward end of a shallow valley extending inland for a kilometre, much of which is overlain by glacial debris. Various glacial features (stepped profile, plucked limestone blocks, poorly sorted clay-boulder matrix, glacial striations) suggest that the valley predates at least the last glacial advance.

A really fascinating and enjoyable weekend generated many questions and fond memories that will keep participants occupied over the course of the coming winter months.The guest speakers contributed articles for a fieldguide, totaling 80 pages (Nolan J. & Randolph C. (2016) The Burren Co. Clare. Irish Quaternary Association Fieldguide No. 33). Print and pdf copies of this and guides from previous excursions may be purchased on the IQUA website at  Membership of IQUA is open to everyone and details can be found at  The next IQUA event is the 2016 Annual Symposium which will take place on Friday November 25th in the Geological Society of Ireland, Beggar's Bush, Dublin 4. This year's symposium theme is entitled, "Early Human occupation of Ireland”and will feature a range of speakers from Ireland and the UK. Additionally IQUA will host the 20th INQUA Congress in Ireland in 2019 at the Convention Centre, Dublin.  The congress and associated field excursionswill showcase the Irish landscape, promote Ireland’s research reputation and attract world-class scientists to the country.

Catherine Dalton (President)

sunset at Rockforest

Photo: Catherine Dalton




INQUA 2019 Dublin

IQUA is pleased to announce that our bid to host the INQUA 2019 Congress in Dublin has been successful. Check out our dedicated INQUA 2019 page outlining aspects of our bid, which we'll update frequently. We thank everyone for their support during the bidding process.


Please also feel free to stop by our INQUA 2019 Facebook page for news and updates and other information on the Irish Quaternary, as well as our INQUA 2019 Twitter page. Alternatively, here's our INQUA 2019 bid flier, or just click on the image above.


Update: INQUA 2019 Field Excursions, 2nd Phase Call. Thank you in advance to all those considering organising an excursion associated with the INQUA 2019 Congress. We are pleased to announce the "Phase 2" Call to take forward the planning for Congress-related excursions, which will be a vital part of the Congress. For those interested, please download this form, complete it as fully as possible, and email to the Chair of the INQUA2019 LOCFC, Dr. Bettina Stefanini, at, on or before 4th November 2016.



The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) Quaternary Geology Viewer

is now available online at :-


The viewer displays a National Quaternary geological map at 1 to 50,000 scalincluding quaternary sediments, maingeomorphological features anderratic carraiges. the data presented in the viewer can be downloaded inshapefile format. The data download is accompanied by an explanatoryreport describing all the data sets and methods for data collection andcompilation. The data sets are updated on a yearly basis using data collectedduring the previous field campaign.

Enjoy It.



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