INQUA 2019 Dublin

The Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) is delighted to announce that our bid to host the XX INQUA Congress in Ireland in 2019 has been succesful. Our congress theme is “Life on the Edge”, with additional sub-themes of “Dynamic Ice Sheets on a Global Scale”, “Extinction”, and “Adaptation to Environmental Change”.

IQUA Congratulates the INQUA Team on Successful Conference Bid

On behalf of the IQUA committee and the IQUA membership I am delighted to welcome the 2019 International Union of Quaternary Research (INQUA) Congress to Dublin. The team that traveled to Nagoya, Japan, with the bid to host the XX INQUA Congress in Dublin was expertly led by Pete Coxon and Fraser Mitchell. Hosting a conference of c.3000 delegates will undoubtedly have profound and lasting benefits for the Quaternary research community in Ireland. The Congress, which will be held in the Convention Centre Dublin, will showcase the Irish landscape, promote Ireland’s research reputation, facilitate the dissemination of our research activities to a wider audience and attract world-class scientists to the country.

IQUA was founded in the late 1970s in part to provide Irish field excursions for the 1977 INQUA Congress held in Birmingham. The Quaternary community in Ireland has helped shape the international research platform by providing an INQUA President (Frank Mitchell 1969-1973), a Secretary General for two terms (Pete Coxon) as well as Commission and International Focus Group leaders. Additionally Irish academics have attended most of the nineteen INQUA congresses to-date, where they presented research findings of national and international significance. The successful award of the 2019 INQUA Congress truly demonstrates an accomplishment far beyond what would be expected given the relatively small size of our academic community.

Catherine Dalton (President of IQUA)

Commenting on the successful bid, Koen Verbruggen, Director of Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), said: “This is great news and a major milestone for Geoscience in Ireland and reflects on the distinguished history of Irish researchers and Ireland as a field locality for Quaternary studies. From Robert Lloyd Praeger, to Frank Mitchell and now Pete Coxon, Ireland has punched above its weight in this field of study. GSI continue to work with the researchers in this field, revising our national quaternary maps as part of our ongoing activities in this area and applying the latest techniques such as marine mapping in our INFOMAR programme, airborne geophysics as part of our TELLUS Programme and ground penetrating radar. The maps produced are used in a very practical and applied way in everything from Quarry Planning and Aggregate potential Mapping, to Groundwater Protection, safe drinking supplies and Geological Heritage. We look forward to showcasing this work at the conference and benefiting from the expertise of the delegates”.

You can see the bid flier INQUA 2019 Dublin flier final. the Full bid document is here. The congress will also have a range of optional pre- and post-congress tours to further sites of interest in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Northern Europe.

Download the map in pdf INQUA_Dublin_2010_Planned_Excursions.

Sample Proposed Mid-Congress Excursions:

Irish Midlands – Catherine Delaney, Manchester Metropolitan University

Lough Crew – Robbie Meehan, EurGeol, Geological Survey of Ireland

Natural History Museum – Matthew Parkes, National Museum of Ireland

Killiney Bay – Stephen McCarron, Maynooth University

Sample Proposed Pre/Post-Congress Excursions:

Western Ireland – Pete Coxon, Trinity College Dublin

Glacial and Quaternary History of Southeast and Southern Ireland – Colm O’Cofaigh and David Evans, Durham University

Landscape and Glacial History of the Outer Hebrides (Scotland) – Tom Bradwell, Bob McCulloch, Eileen Tisdall, Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, UK

Kerry and South West Ireland – Sam Roberson, British Geological Survey; Stephan Harrison, University of Exeter; Tim Mighall, University of Aberdeen; Willie Warren, Geological Survey of Ireland and Mike Sheehy, Geological Survey of Ireland

Please check back here often for updates and news, and follow the link here to find out more about the history of Quaternary research in Ireland. Thanks for your support!

Check out our INQUA Dublin 2019 Twitter page or our INQUA Dublin 2019 Facebook page, and don’t forget to hit “Like” whilst you’re there!

INQUA 2019 Field Excursions, 2nd Phase Call.

This ‘Phase 2’ Call follows the pre-INQUA2015 congress Call, and the Irish LOC would like to thank all respondents to that earlier Call for helping deliver the INQUA2019 Congress to Ireland.

The Fieldtrips will be a vital and hopefully rewarding part of the Congress experience for organisers and delegates alike. To advance this process, please complete the form below as fully as possible and/or revert to us with any questions you might have in advance of submitting the form.

The deadline for completed forms is 4th November 2016.

Please note that the INQUA 2019 Congress Local Organising Committee (LOC) are committed to run all fieldtrips that are advertised as available when Congress registration opens (planned for Autumn 2018). Due to this, proposals will need to be screened at several stages, and there may be enforced selection stages. The INQUA2019 LOC Fieldtrip sub-Committee (LOCFC) will conduct an initial screening during November 2016, which will probably require further consultation with proposed excursion leaders and possibly the provision of additional information.

To ensure the smooth running of the Congress, excursion proposal leaders and teams are encouraged to inform the LOCFC or LOC Chair (Dr Bettina Stefanini or Prof. Pete Coxon respectively) at the earliest opportunity of any circumstances that might prevent the successful hosting of a proposed field trip.

Form Download Link.


Viewing a Section, South Irish Coast

In 2015 the QRA teamed up with IQUA to explore the south coast of Ireland between the 25th and 29th of September. We visited classic sections in Blackwater Harbour, Ely House, Kilmore Quay, Bannow, Courtmacsherry and Howes Strand.

We looked at the remains of a pingo, corries and a cave with new excavation of Pleistocene layers. We heard about deglaciation, peat initiation and vegetation change. We wandered through a Viking town and found out about the reconstruction of its environments thanks to insect analysis. We even cored an interglacial deposit. The original booking and information form is archived here.


IQUA’s 2015 Spring Meeting was held on Saturday 25th April at the Department of Geography, NUIM. The meeting was open to all and consisted of short (20 mins) presentations on new and ongoing Quaternary research. The meeting was followed by the IQUA AGM. See the meeting programme.

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IQUA 2014 Autumn Symposium

IQUA’s 2014 Autumn Symposium took place on Friday November 28th in the Geological Society of Ireland’s Lecture Theatre, Beggar’s Bush, Dublin 4. The symposium theme was, “Lakes: Reflections of our past”, and featured a range of speakers from Ireland and the UK covering different aspects of lacustrine research.

The line-up included Prof. Michael O’Connell (NUIG – Lake sediment archives); Prof. Phil Jordan (University of Ulster – Modern: lake eutrophication trends and recovery); Dr. Aaron Potito (NUIG – Biological proxies: chironomids); and Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington (NUIG – Turloughs). Keynote lectures will be delivered by Prof. Chris Caseldine (University of Exeter – Growing importance of Quaternary science) and Dr. Cathy Delaney (Manchester Metropolitan University – Glaciolacustrine sediments and landforms).

The full symposia schedule is also available for download in pdf.


Below you can find the details of IQUA’s successful 2014 Field Meeting, “Quaternary & Culture in Limerick”, which took place from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st September. You can also click on the Field Meeting poster to the right to open and save a pdf with event details.

To see individual site locations please go to the OSI Mapviewer and under ‘Search’ by ‘Co-ordinates’ and ‘Zoom to’.

Friday 19th

At Greenhills Hotel Limerick IR 554628, 658280

19.30 – Overview of geology and geomorphology of Limerick/Shannon Estuary Region – Margaret Browne.
20.00 – Tidal Embankments on the Shannon Estuary – Michael Collins (Office of Public Works).

Staurday 20th

10.00 – Mungret limestone quarry & Irish Cement

12.00 – Grange Stone Circle – Rose Cleary & James O’Driscoll (UCC).

Take Route R512 in the direction of Ballyneety IR 563221, 640457

13.00 – Lunch at Reardons (Holycross) on R512 at junction with L1412 IR 563305, 639646.

14.30 – Lough Gur – Rose Cleary & James O’Driscoll (UCC) (Archaeology); Richard Langford & Tara Foley (Hydrogeology); Catherine Dalton (MIC) (Palaeolimnology) IR 564661, 641483.

Evening Free.

Sunday 21st

09.30 – Mooghaun Late Bronze Age Hill fort, Dromoland Co. Clare – Karen Molloy (NUIG).

Take the N18/M18 north towards Galway. Take exit 11 and follow signs to Newmarket-on-Fergus on the R458. Take the first left before Newmarket on Fergus. Continue along for c.2km to Parking area on left hand side of road. IR Grid: 540733, 670287.

11.30 – Lunch at Crottys Pub, Market Square Kilrush IR 499554, 655128

13.00 – Scattery Island (weather permitting) – Various Guides

Meet at Scattery Island Ferries, Kilrush Marina. IR 497146, 652368.

17.00 approx. – Return to Kilrush Marina


IQUA’s Annual Spring Meeting (2014) took place on Saturday 29th March. The Meeting was free to all and was held in the School of the Human Environment, University College Cork. IQUA’s AGM followed, during which we discussed and decided to undertake a bid to host INQUA in 2019 and a joint field trip with the QRA in 2015, as well as plans for 2014’s Field Meeting and Autumn Symposium.

Here is a summary of the fascinating programme at 2014’s Spring Meeting: Peter Woodman asked whether there was life before MIS3, Margaret Browne looked at Mediterranean sea surface temperatures during the Younger Dryas. Staying marine – Mark Coughlan investigated Palaeo-archives on north-west Europ’s shelf seas and Andrea Waitz looked at Coastal peat deposits. Donna Hawthorne examined Fire and vegetation history in the Galtee Mountains and Alwyne McGeever investigated Bog pines in Ireland. Benjamin Gearey and Nora Bermingham took a closer look at Palaeoclimate from a peatland perspective while Susan Lyons studied Plant remains. Mick Corcoran examined Signs of medieval land use in Ireland and Joanna Nolan looked at a Children’s burial ground in Co Mayo.

IQUA thanks the conference organizer, Dr. Ben Gearey of UCC, for all his work towards a very sucessful Spring Meeting.

IQUA also congratulates the winner of the Best Postgraduate Presentation Prize of €100, Alwyne McGeever for her presentation on Bog pines in Ireland.

For more details, see the Meeting Timetable.


IQUA’s 2013 Autumn Symposium took place on Friday November 29 from 9.30am in the Geological Society of Ireland’s Lecture Theatre, Beggar’s Bush, Dublin 4. The symposium theme this year was “Dating the Quaternary” and featured a range of speakers from Ireland and the UK who covered the latest developments and challenges in Quaternary dating. The keynote speaker was Prof. James Scourse, who spoke on “Annually-resolved records of marine climate change from the longest-lived animals on earth”.

Other speakers included Dr. Graeme Swindles, Dr. Gill Plunkett, Prof. Colin Ballantyne, Beatrice Kelly, Dr. Evelyn Keaveney, Dr. Maarten Blaauw, Dr. Matt Telfer and Prof. Ron Pinhasi. See the conference poster and programme.

IQUA thanks Gill Scott of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, for her lead in organizing this year’s Autumn Symposium.