Ceide Fields historical site in north west Ireland

DSCF0220

Ceide Fields historical site in north west Ireland

Today our friends have kindly offered to take us on an excursion to see some of the Irish countryside, and to explore a historical site.

From where we are staying we can see the brown hills of heather plants, that grow along the top layer of unique vegetation and wildlife and beneath is a natural blanket bog.

DSCF0209

And we arrive at Ceide Fields.  Here in this area of wild bog lands of North Mayo lies the Céide Fields, and under the grasses and soggy soils is the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, consisting of field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs. The stone walled fields, extending over thousands of acres are almost 6,000 years old, the oldest known in the world.

DSCF0214

So we head to the Visitor Centre and at first we think it is closed – do not be fooled!  Head through the swing gates and up the path and it is hidden in a boggy hill.  It is located beside some of the most spectacular cliffs and rock formations in Ireland and a viewing platform is positioned on the edge of the 110m high cliff.

DSCF0197

We head inside and they have a great museum and exhibition area that explains the history of the area.  They have a 3000 year old tree trunk inside that was preserved in the bog – incredible!

DSCF0199

We then climb the stairs to the glass pyramid and get an amazing view.

Here you can see right across to the cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean.

DSCF0206

Explorason is running around and having a great time. And gets exhausted!

DSCF0213

So we follow him down the outside stairs around the building.

DSCF0207

Outside is really, really blowy!

DSCF0202

We head back in and grab a cappuccino as we are told a film starts in 15 minutes explaining it all in more detail.  I find films a great learning tool for Explorason.

After the film we head out to the soggy boggy hills.  We are advised to wear weather protective clothing and footwear suitable for walking on uneven terrain.  and it is windy and very cold so a warm coat, gloves and beanie wouldn’t have gone astray either.

DSCF0217

The stone walls look like fallen piles of rocks, but they are all in lined formation and serve as the old walls.

DSCF0221

We learn how this would have been a peaceful area, and the weather would not have been so wet and cold.

DSCF0225

We also learn about bog holes – these can be obscured by the heather and grasses, and so as Explorason runs through the bog, I warn him about these.

DSCF0223

We get a chance to stop and have a good look at the wind burnt dried heather – yet to come into spring bloom.

DSCF0208

Bog is cut and dried and used to burn.  As it is organic matter, but the density has not allowed decomposition as a compost normally would.

We enjoy our wander through the fields.

DSCF0227

It is wet and moisture drips from the ground and runs in river lets across the paths. It is very soggy underfoot.

DSCF0210

The grasses grow in clumps over the top, but mostly this is – just grass, not small bushes as it looks from a distance.

DSCF0228

Across the road is a look out area.

DSCF0231

It is worth the few steps to get there, as you can look right down on the cliffs and see the crevasses with nests of seagulls protecting themselves from the harsh winds.

 DSCF0233

Address: Ballycastle, Co. Mayo.

Telephone: +353 96 43325
Fax: +353 96 43261
Email: ceidefields@opw.ie

Opening hours 2014: 3rd April – End May:   Daily 10.00 – 17.00; June – End September:   Daily 10.00 – 18.00; 1st October – 29th October:   Daily 10.00 – 17.00  Last tour 1 hour before closing; winter months – available for group bookings.  Average length of visit: 2 hours

Admission: Adult: €4.00; Sen/Group: €3.00; Child/Student: €2.00; Family: €10.00

Facilities: Parking, access to A.V. and ground floor exhibits, toilets for people with disabilities. Exhibitions in English and Irish.  Restaurant/Tearooms: Yes – Seating: 75

Here is a list of sites around Ireland that might be of interest: http://www.museumsofmayo.com/ceide.htm

5 thoughts on “Ceide Fields historical site in north west Ireland

  1. From the price in pounds, I guess this is in Northern Ireland. In the National Museum in Dublin, they had some amazing things, including preserved bodies, that had been found in bogs.

    • It might be hard to see but the price is Euro and sorry – I should have added it is the Republic of Ireland. Yes I remember reading a good murder mystery about a body found in the bog by Minnette Walters. It does preserve well!

  2. *I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge