Discover the Ceide Fields

ceide fields mayo

What are the Ceide Fields?

High in the Northernmost part of Western Ireland just Northwest of Ballycastle are the Ceide Fields.

Here you will find some of the oldest Neolithic fields on earth.

For those interested in archaeological sites, you will be equally delighted with the Ceide Fields as they are situated right along on the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

With the mighty Atlantic wind in your face and the sound of the relentless surf crashing below your imagination can’t help but concur images of an ancient time gone by.

Lying under the peat moss, below several acres of ancient lands lies the prehistoric remains of a stone-age civilisation the likes of which does not exist anywhere else on the planet.

ceide fields mayo
The Vast Céide Fields located in County Mayo

Older than the Pyramids

The extensive visitor’s centre contains hundreds of artefacts dating back approximately 5000 years or more.

Inside you can learn of the community of farmers, craftsman, and families that worked this land as well as a glimpse of the spirituality they found in this harsh, weather-beaten environment.

The visitor’s centre offers an interesting opportunity to study the unique ecology of the bogland and how the elements cause dramatic changes in all things ecological, such as various lichens, flowers, hedges and of course the ever-changing colours of the many Irish mosses.

Archaeological probes have rendered scientists a picture of farm life and what we would call “ranchers”. They raised livestock and were fairly adept in building and working with wood and stone.

Early on there is also thought to have been heavy forest life nonexistent today.

Interestingly the disappearance of these peoples (after many prosperous generations) was probably the result of the encroachment of the moss making the soil barren and essentially untillable.

This phenomenon is thought to have been the result of total tree removal which allowed the heavy rains to inundate the soil thus creating total moss cover, while under a forest canopy significant amounts of rain never reach the forest floor.

Visiting the Ceide Fields is a calm outing and one to be appreciated archaeologically. Stroll its history with a coffee, while being serenaded by lark’s indigenous to the area.

Paul Feeney
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