IQUA/QRA Spring Field Meeting 2024, 5-7 April

It is with great pleasure that we announce a joint IQUA/QRA field meeting to Co. Louth led by Gill Plunkett, Ryan Smazal, Cathy Delaney and Jasper Knight. We will meet in the Imperial Hotel in Dundalk at 7 pm on Friday (5 April), and keep our fingers crossed for clement weather as we tour the county on Saturday and Sunday. A preliminary schedule of sites can be found here. [link to attached doc] Registration for full IQUA or QRA members is €60 (€30 student/unwaged). For non-members, registration will be €85 (€45 student/unwaged). *To register your interest in participating in the field meeting, please complete this form by 15 March.*

Scan the QR code on the image below for further information.



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

Informal field meetings Autumn 2020

The IQUA Fieldtrip 2020 has been postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic situation. Several members have kindly offered to lead informal regional field meetings for interested parties, subject to individual travel arrangements in the months of September and October. Check the descriptions of the events here and contact the relevant leader to register your interest.

Note: fieldguides will not be produced and published for these excursions.

View of Sperrins

IQUA 2018 field trip: The Quaternary of the Central Midlands_14th-16th September

IQUA news – after 21 years we are going back to the Midlands on the weekend 14th to 16th September. Regulation around exploitation has given us a rich source of new palaeoecological and archaeological data. Add to this spectacular glacial geology and the outstanding medieval architectural heritage of north Co Offaly…. and you get about half of what’s happening on this trip, see draft itinerary below for more.

The other half is about a very special site called Derragh, located where the river Inny flows out of Lough Kinale. We’re in for a treat here with a plethora of environmental proxies from this one area. See the context of the Discovery Programme site below.

We are basing ourselves for both Friday and Saturday nights in the Greville Arms hotel in Mullingar phone 044 934 8563. The rate is: €139 per person sharing for 2 nights B&B and 1 dinner (i.e. €278 total for two people in a double room, with dinner for both on Saturday). There is a single supplement supplement of €15 on this. The prices without dinner are somewhat less keen but you should still ask for the special IQUA rate. The Friday evening seminar talks will be in the hotel but of course you are not obliged to stay there. There are quite a number of other options in town.

More details towards the end of the summer.


Friday evening Bog bodies Isabella Mulhall
BNM ecology
Lemanaghan Bog Ellen OCarroll
Lemanaghan St Manchan’s Caimin O’Brien
Glacial site Cathy Delaney
Lunch Tullamore
Croghan settlement Caimin O’Brien
Croghan palaeoenvironment Ellen O’Carroll, Eileen Reilly
Croghan quarry Paul Gibson
Lagan Pit Mike Philcox
Railway station Ingelise Stuijts
Derragh Environmental work by its analysts
Lunch in Granard, Greville Arms

The Lough Kinale/Derragh area was studied by the lake Settlement Project of the Discovery Programme between 2002 and 2005. One module of this project was a multi-proxy environmental research project (2002 and 2003) in collaboration with the Palaeoenvironments Research Group at the University of Exeter. The research focused on the history of three crannogs and the general landscape through extensive coring of Lough Kinale and Derragh Lough, and a raised bog separating Derragh peninsular from the mainland. During fieldwork in 2002, Mesolithic and Neolithic lithics were found close to the outlet of the River Inny on the Derragh peninsular. This led to excavations between 2003 and 2005, which exposed a platform area that was used for multiple purposes. Various organic materials including bones and wood, and lithics were subsequently analysed. The IQUA fieldtrip will visit the general area and in particular the Derragh peninsular and the site of the excavation where some of the environmental results will be presented.

South-west Donegal over the weekend of the 15th – 17th of September, 2017

This year we enjoyed a beautiful few days in Southwest Donegal. Yet another very well attended IQUA fieldtrip with 35 attendees making the trek northwest.

IQUA members at Cloghanmore Portal Tomb

A packed agenda meant that a few sites had to be dropped but we still managed to see the Derryness submerged forest, Inishkeel, Cloghanmore Court Tomb, a Station and Souterraine at Turas Colmcille, and the spectacular Sheskinmore Nature Reserve.

The IQUA committee wish to thank all the speakers.

Thanks in particular to Malcolm and Ellen for organising such a memorable weekend.

***Please note that there will be a delay in releasing the finalised Southwest Donegal Fieldguide while we add in few additional papers***

2017 IQUA Field meeting Donegal 15th – 17th of September

donegal map

Below are details of our exciting IQUA field trip to South-west Donegal over the weekend of the 15th – 17th of September.

About 8:00 pm on Friday the 15th there was 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; this was followed by 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 was around the Ardara – Narin area. We visited and discussed archaeology and complementary neotectonics evidence that bears on the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition. Lunch (tea/coffee supplied) was 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 were 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 concluded the afternoon.

On Sunday we visited 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 aimed to return to Ardara carpark by 2:30 pm to let drivers make good headway homewards before dark.


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



Glacial Landforms Working Group NI Field Meeting 27th – 30th October 2016

Glacial Landforms Working Group NI Field Meeting: The Quaternary Glaciation of the Mournes, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. 27th – 30th October 2016

Preliminary Programme
The glacial geology of Northern Ireland, like much of the UK, is characterised by a contrast between complete ice sheet coverage during the last glacial maximum and local upland ice cap glaciations typical of average glacial conditions during the Quaternary. Recent studies by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University have contributed to understandings of the style and timing of the Late-glacial re-advance in Co. Down, as well as the nature and extent of upland glaciations in the Mountains of Mourne. The coastal location of the Mournes has resulted in a complex interplay between local icefield glaciers, the Irish Sea Ice stream and regional scale ice cap outlet glaciers.
This fieldtrip will introduce the range large scale glacial landforms that reflect processes operating beneath the Irish Ice Sheet at Last Glacial Maximum (glacial breaches, Rogen moraines, drumlins, glacial lineations and subglacial meltwater channels). Field visits will provide insights into the style and rate of ice retreat in the Irish Sea. We will be looking for evidence of small ice-cap style glaciation of the Mountains of Mourne during field visits to the Annalong valley.
Two and a half field days are planned, preceded by introductory talks on Thursday evening in Newcastle, Co. Down.

Day 0 (Thursday evening) Registration and introductory talk, Newcastle, Co. Down.
Sam Roberson, Mark Cooper, Iestyn Barr, Paul Dunlop and Jon Merritt.
Day 1 (Friday) Mountains of Mourne – Bloody Bridge, Annalong valley moraines, Blue Lough, Slieve Binnian tors.
Leaders: Sam Roberson, Peter Wilson
Day 2 (Saturday) The Mourne Plain – Cranfield Moraine, Derryoge harbour and Killkeel steps.
Leaders: Jon Merritt, Mark Cooper, Sam Roberson
Day 3 (Sunday morning -until 1.00pm) Drumlins and Rogens – Slieve Croob, Waringsford and Ballynahinch.
Leaders: Paul Dunlop and Jon Merritt.


Sam Roberson, Mark Cooper, Jon Merritt (British Geological Survey); Iestyn Barr (Queen’s University Belfast), Paul Dunlop, Peter Wilson, Michael Dempster (Ulster University), Jasper Knight (University of Witwatersrand).

Maximum number of participants: 50
Registration is free. Other costs will involve accommodation (see below) and a field guide (estimated at £15).
Please register by emailing the registration form to Please indicate if you want a place in the pre-booked hostel accommodation (see below).
You will then be contacted via e-mail with a confirmation of your place and payment information.
We have booked the Hutt Hostel in Newcastle, Co. Down, ( which can accommodate up to 40 people. The cost will be £55 p.p. for three nights. Towels are available for a fee £2.50. There are probably not enough for everybody so you are encouraged to bring your own.
For those wishing to book their own accommodation, Newcastle is a thriving seaside resort and there are a range of reasonable value B&Bs in the town.

Further Information

Sam Roberson ( or Iestyn Barr (


IQUA’s 2013 North Mayo Field Meeting took place from September 20-22. We last visited this fascinating area in 1991, but since then several field seasons of detailed excavations, surveys and environmental work have greatly deepened our understanding of this beautiful stretch of coastline, in particular regarding the Mesolithic and Neolithic inhabitants of the area and the environmental context of their settlements.

IQUA was fortunate to have leaders with the expertise of Graeme Warren, Steve Davis, Seamus Caulfield, Steve McCarron and Mike Philcox for the weekend. The field guide that was prepared for this meeting is available for purchase in print and pdf format on the IQUA field guide’s webpage.

North Mayo Field Meeting 2013 poster


Fri 20th Sept

19.30–20.30: ‘A Landscape Fossilised’: Archaeology and Palaeoenvironmental Research in North Mayo. A short presentation by Seamas Caulfield and Graeme Warren setting the context for the weekend fieldtrip. Wine and nibbles to follow.

Location: Belderrig Research and Study Centre,

After the talk, we retreated to the Belderrig Bay Hotel, otherwise known as ’The Pub’.

Sat 21st Sept

09.00–13.00: Meet at Belderrig Research and Study Centre at 9am. The intention is for most cars to park at the Centre, as space at the Harbour is restricted. Anyone arriving post-9.30 please rendezvous at Belderrig Harbour.

Walking tour of Belderrig, included:

* Belderrig Harbour glacial sections (incl. ‘shelly drift’ (McCabe, 1986) and extensive sections east of Harbour)
* Mesolithic-Neolithic archaeological site at Belderg More (Warren 2009)
* Neolithic-Bronze Age prehistoric ‘farm’ at Belderg Beg (Caulfield 1978, 1983) and associated fossil pine forests (Caulfield et al 1998)
* Palaeoenvironmental sampling locations (Verrill & Tipping 2010 a & b)

13.00–14.00: Lunch (soup & sandwiches) at Belderrig Research and Study Centre & short talk to introduce glacial history of area.

14.00-18.00: Tours of glacial sections in valleys east of Belderrig, as far east as Ballycastle, time permitting (incl. Glenulra Valley; McCabe et al., 2007). Car sharing from Belderrig ideally. First Stop: Conaghra valley (GR 54.31, -9.50).

Sun 22nd Sept

On Sunday the Trip proceeded eastwards and did not return through Belderrig.

10.00–12.30: Céide Fields: Walking tour of Céide Fields including Behy court tomb and the visitor centre (Caulfield 1978, 1983, Caulfield et al 1998, Molloy & O’Connell 1995, O’Connell & Molloy 2001; see also Caseldine et al 2005).

12.30–13.30: Lunch at Céide Fields café.

13.30 onwards: Visit to glaciotectonics sections around Killala Bay; incl. Kilcummin Head (west side of Bay, 15km east of Ballycastle) and (optionally) Carrownedin, Enniscrone (east side of Bay; GR 54.23, -9.09).


IQUA is delighted to announce this year’s IQUA Field Meeting in Roscommon and South Sligo on September 7-9th. The Meeting will introduce the outstanding karstic landscape features of Roscommon and its rich glacial geology. It will examine turlough life and the enigmatic pitfields. It will also cover the Famine in Roscommon and explore the complex monuments near Tulsk and Rathcroghan. There will even be a chance to slip into the otherworld through Oweynagat’s Cave. On Sunday, a visit will be paid to the Bricklieve Mountains of south Sligo to explore their geology and follow the exciting new work on the least known of the Irish megalithic complexes. We will find out about what was so important about the Neolithic farming economy from new high resolution pollen work in this region.

The Meeting Fee is €20/30 for IQUA members/non-members and €10/15 for student and unwaged members/non-members. For those who cannot join the Meeting from the start on the evening of Friday 7th, it is possible to join up with the Meeting on subsequent days at any of the pre-arranged meeting locations as detailed fully on the Roscommon Field Meeting 2012 poster. The fee can also be paid at point at which you join the Meeting.

Further details, if needed, are available from the IQUA Secretary, Dr. Bettina Stefanini by email or by mobile on 087 218 0048.

Please note that the Seminar to open the Field Meeting on the evening of Friday 7th in Tully’s Hotel, Castlerea, is open to the public. It features two talks, the first by Mary Kelly on “Why the Famine Affected Castlerea Differently to Other Places in Co. Roscommon”, and the second by Kevin Barton on “Geophysical Explorations of the Rathcroghan Mound and their Intriguing Possibilities”.

Please arrange your own accommodation, see below for a list of possibilities. Transport: There is a train to Castlerea but transport to each site will be by private car throughout the trip.

Accommodation in Castlerea:
*Tully’s Hotel, small hotel in the centre of Castlerea: phone 094 962 0200
*Fallon’s B&B, phone: 094 962 1183
*Armcashel B&B, phone: 094 962 0117
*Ronanae’s B&B, phone: 094 962 0431
*Clonalis House is a Historic House that does B&B, phone: 094 962 0014