IQUA annual symposium 2022

We are delighted to be returning to an in-person event. This year’s Autumn Symposium will be held on Friday, 2 December at Maynooth University. The event is organised by Helen Shaw and Nick Scroxton of the Irish Climate Analysis and Research UnitS (ICARUS) and Department of Geography at Maynooth. The theme of the symposium is Research from the past – Impact for the future.

Although registration is at the meeting we would appreciate it for our planning if you could let us know if you intend to come in the form at
There won’t be facilities to handle card payments so would appreciate if you would bring cash.

Location: The symposium is being held at Maynooth University in the TSI building (Building 30 on the map), Room 1.25 (up the stairs to the end of the corridor). A map of Maynooth campus is here 

Getting here: Maynooth campus is easily accessible by train from Dublin and on the Sligo line to the west, as well as various bus services to nearby towns and the airport.

Parking: Parking on campus is limited, there are pay and display car parks listed on the map (Colour coded in blue), but they do tend to fill up quite early in the morning.

Lunch: We have reserved a table at Pugin Hall (number 16 on the map) and we hope that you will join us for lunch and discussions. Lunch is a self-service canteen style with hot and cold choices, vegetarian and (usually) vegan options. Please bring separate funds for lunch, as this is not provided as part of the registration. There are other options, from supermarket sandwiches to coffee shops and restaurants in the town, if you prefer.

Programme timings and sessions (Full programme to follow)

09:00-9:30 Registration
09:00-10:30 Session 1: Irish Quaternary
10:30-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-12:45 Session 2: Sea-Level
Keynote by Jason Kirby, Liverpool John Moores University
12:45-14:00 Lunch
14:00-15:45 Session 3: International Quaternary and Impacts
15:45-16:00 Close and IQUA awards and prizes

Spring 2022: IQUA emerges from lockdown

It’s been a busy Spring, but an energising one – just as Spring should be.

Susann Stolze organised an excellent field meeting in Sligo, with a focus on the Neolithic. The stunning landscape was shown at its best thanks to a spell of lovely weather, but the trip was made a success by a combination of great sites and good company. A big bualadh bos to Susann, all the contributors and all the participants for making this such a successful event.

IQUA field trip 2022

IQUA postgrad reps Ryan Smazal and Adrienne Foreman, aided by Treasurer Mark Coughlan, organised a well-attended Early Career Researcher workshop in Belfast on Friday the 29th of April 2022, supported by IQUA. The event was facilitated by Maarten Blaauw (QUB) and Niamh Cahill (U. Maynooth) and well-attended by 15 postgrads from Ireland and Britain (including at least seven nationalities by my reckoning). Many thanks to all the organisers and participants – it is wonderful to see the vibrant next generation of researchers coming through and having opportunities to meet each other.

The IQUA Spring Meeting and AGM were held in Belfast on Saturday the 30th of April 2022. The meeting included seven excellent talks (five of which by postgraduate students) and four poster presentations. The Best Postgraduate Presentation Prize was awarded to David O’Leary (NUIG) for his engaging and informative talk on “Digital soil mapping of peatlands using airborne radiometric data and supervised machine learning”. Well done all, but most especially the postgrads, for the stimulating presentations and interactions – again, it was a very pleasant change to mingle with real people! The meeting had a strong showing from IQUA early career members, and some remote engagement via MS Teams. A special thanks to Sarah Ferrandin, Helen Essell and Gosse Bootsma (all QUB) for invaluable behind-the-scenes assistance.

IQUA Spring Field Meeting 2022

It is with great pleasure that we can announce our first in-person event since November 2019 in the form of the highly anticipated field meeting to Sligo organised and led by Susann Stolze. Initial plans are to meet in the Riverside Hotel in Sligo on Friday (22nd) evening, which is offering discounted prices on rooms (€50 Bed and Breakfast per person per night sharing; €50 single occupancy surcharge; ring the hotel directly on 071 919 4480, citing IQUA fieldtrip).

Click on image below for further information

IQUA spring meeting 2022 at Queen’s Univeristy Belfast

The Irish Quaternary Association Spring Meeting 2022 will be held in person at the Elmwood Building at Queen’s University Belfast on Saturday the 30th April. Registration will commence at 9:30am.

The meeting is open to all and will consist of short (20 minute) presentations on any area of new or ongoing Quaternary research. Postgraduate and post-doctoral students are especially welcome and are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to present in an informal and friendly setting. Both oral and poster presentations are invited and there will be a prize for the best postgraduate talk.

Please send abstracts of c. 200 words to Graeme Swindles, indicating poster or talk.

The meeting will be followed by the IQUA AGM on the Saturday afternoon.

There will be a small fee to pay to cover at least some of the expenses related to the meeting and to support further IQUA’s activities. The fee will be €10/€5 for members and students/concessions respectively and €20 for non-members. Payments in £GBP will also be accepted.

IQUA annual symposium 2021

Due to the high incidence rate of COVID19 and difficulties in securing a suitable venue capable of supporting a hybrid event, this year’s Autumn Symposium will again be online. The event will be held via Zoom (details to be confirmed) on Friday, 26 November. We invite short talks (15 minutes) on the symposium theme of abrupt climate change. Please send abstracts (100-200 words) to no later than 18 November.

IQUA Bill Watts, Research and new Valerie Hall awards 2021 – Call now on

IQUA is proud to launch our new award: The Valerie Hall award  for the best student or early-career researcher-led paper published by an IQUA member.

The Award is for early career researchers or postgraduate students who have written a top-quality research publication that puts Irish Quaternary science on the international stage. We hope that the award will help encourage early career researchers to consider a career in Quaternary research. One award of €250 will be given on an annual basis. Papers can be nominated by colleagues, supervisors, or other IQUA members. Nominations should be sent in writing (no more than 100 words of justification) to the IQUA secretary (Graeme Swindles – for review by the IQUA executive committee before the 15th of November. The nominated paper should be attached to the email. The paper must be in the general area of Quaternary studies but does not have to be focussed on Ireland.  This award is in memory of Professor Valerie Hall, who passed away in 2016. Valerie was a highly esteemed Quaternary scientist from Belfast. She began her career in botany and palynology but made a truly international mark in the field of distal tephrochronology. She was particularly supportive of PhD students and early career researchers.

The 2021 call for both the Bill Watts 14Chrono Awards and the IQUA Research Awards is now on with a deadline for application on the 15th of November.


These awards are designed to cover radiocarbon dates or laboratory fees, for instance those incurred in DNA or isotope analyses.


The Awards pay for a number of AMS radiocarbon dates for current postgraduate members of IQUA.

See our awards page for futher information and application form.

IQUA spring meeting 2021 programme and secondary teaching aid launch

Our upcoming Spring meeting is on next week on Friday the 16th.
The meeting is free to attend, and starts at 10am (zoom link below). The AGM will occur after the talks, sometime around 12:45. The programme schedule is below.
The meeting will also feature the official launch of our post primary teaching resource “Shaping the Landscape”. IQUA developed this teaching and learning resource sponsored by The Heritage Council, Geological Survey Ireland and Geological Survey of Northern Ireland. The lesson plan is the first 2nd level teaching aid for Quaternary Science in Ireland and was developed in an iterative process between teachers, geological survey staff (north and south) and IQUA committee members. The instructional aid, composed of an 8 pages of Study Notes accompanied by a 4 pages student Workbook is focused at 2nd level geography, earth science students and future undergraduates and is available to download at
Looking forward to seeing you all at the meeting. Zoom link:

IQUA symposium 2020 programme

Friday the 27th of November is our annual symposium on carbon sequestration! We have twelve speakers lined up, including a keynote by William Austin of the University of St Andrews.
The welcoming speaker, IQUA president Gill Plunkett, will begin at 10:15 and the webinar will open to attendees at 10:00.
The link to the Zoom webinar, (registration-free) is
See the programme below: