The Céide Fields
On October 6th, we visited The Céide Fields - Achaidh Chéide, meaning 'flat topped hill fields' on the north Mayo coast, 6.9 north west of Ballycastle. The site is the most extensive Neolithic ( Stone Age) site in Ireland and is said to contain the oldest known field systems globally.
The discovery of the Céide Fields originally began in the 1930s when a local schoolteacher, Patrick Caulfield, noticed linear piles of rocks which were uncovered as he was cutting turf (peat ) for fuel.
It seemed to him that the rocks must have been placed there by people, because of the uniform way they were placed and they were also beneath the bog which suggested they were there before the bog developed, which meant they were very old.
It was another forty years when Patrick's son, Seamus, having studied archaelogy, began to investigate further. Investigations revealed a complex system of fields, houses and megalithic tombs concealed by the growth of blanket bogs for many centuries. This remarkable neolithic site at Céide Fields in County Mayo, Ireland, contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world – dating back nearly 6,000 years.
The Céide Fields visitors centre has been updated and now includes state-of-the-art technology. This provides a new and immersive , 360 degrees virtual journey spanning thousands of years, from the hunter-gatherers who first appeared in the area to the present day.
We had a wonderful day in the updated exhibition and interpretation centre which includes artist reconstructions, video, microscopes and many different techniques to enhance the experience.
The 4,000-year-old pine tree that was unearthed from nearby bogland is retained and still has pride of place.
We had a wonderful day exploring, experimenting and learning.
Míle buíochas to our very knowledgeable guides.