Ceide Fields, County Mayo

The Céide Fields is an archaeological site on the north County Mayo coast in the west of the Republic of Ireland, about 8 kilometres northwest of Ballycastle. The site is the most extensive Neolithic site in the world and contains the oldest known field systems in the world. Using various dating methods, it was discovered that the creation and development of the Céide Fields goes back some five and a half thousand years (~3500 BCE).The site is in Unesco's tentative list to gain World Heritage status.HistoryThe discovery of the Céide Fields originally began in the 1930s when a local man, schoolteacher Patrick Caulfield, noticed piles of rocks which were uncovered as he cut away some peat for fuel. In these piles of peat he saw a design that could not have been haphazard; Caulfield noted that the rocks must have been placed there by people, because their configuration was clearly unnatural and deliberate. Furthermore, the rocks were positioned below the bog, which meant they were there before the bog developed, implying a very ancient origin.The unravelling of the true significance of this discovery did not begin for another forty years when Patrick's son, Seamus, having studied archaeology, began to investigate further. Investigations revealed a complex of fields, houses and megalithic tombs concealed by the growth of blanket bogs over the course of many centuries.
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Ceide Fields Reviews
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  • This is a site of historical human importance. The very interesting tour covers some important aspects of ancient human development at this most beautiful location, on the edge of a cliff overlooking ...  more »
  • It is rather amazing that the Céide Fields were the site of farming countryside, where some of the earliest farmers in Europe, the stone age people of 5,000 years ago, engaged in cattle farming in sto...  more »
  • Loved everything about this trip and the enthusiasm shown by Seamus made the day even more enjoyable  more »
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  • Fantastic experience. Really lovely personal on site. Ask to speak to "Gretta". She is a great archaeologist. She has been working there on the site for almost 40 years! She can tell you so much.
  • It's a good location to visit as the local is very scenic and the information on the site is comprehensively covered with exhibits video presentations and guided tours. There is a cafe in the centre and the adjacent cliffs are well worth a look.
  • Really not much to see and what's there isn't displayed so well. The exhibition hall is quite nice but to small to keep you occupied during the very long time between the guided tours to the excavations outside and without a guide the excavation is just a waste of time in a nice landscape. There are no signs, no pointers and no explanations at all.
  • Long distance to get there but so well worth to see the depth of our history and in a majestic setting!
  • Céide Fields Visitor Centre Ballycastle, County Mayo, Ireland The Céide Fields in North Mayo will certainly give you a unique experience. For this is not just another archaeological monument or visitor centre. Here you can indulge yourself in a vast prehistoric landscape, a natural wild ecology of blanket bog, dramatic cliffs and coastline, and a much acclaimed building, which has received Ireland's most prestigious architectural award. The Céide Fields are the oldest known field systems in the world, over five and a half millennia old. It is a unique Neolithic landscape of world importance, which has changed our perception of our Stone Age ancestors. The remains of stone field walls, houses and megalithic tombs are preserved beneath a blanket of peat over several square miles. They tell a story of the everyday lives of a farming people, their organized society, their highly developed spiritual beliefs, and their struggle against a changing environment beyond their control. Visit the multi-award winning Centre, which has exhibitions, audio-visual show and tearooms and take a guided tour with our professional guides and discover a buried wall for yourself using a centuries old method of probing. Experience the unique ecology of the bogland, with it's colourful mosses, sedges, lichens, heathers, flowers and insect-eating sundews while listening to the larks. Find out the fascinating story of an ever-changing landscape, such as why bogs grow and the huge influence a subtle change in climate can bring about. The Céide Fields Visitor Centre is one of over 60 Heritage Sites run by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in Ireland. Heritage Cards are available which give unlimited free admission to all OPW sites for one year from the date of purchase. Facilities Displays and exhibitions in English and Irish with written translations available in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and SpanishA 20 minute long audio-visual showGuided walking tours of the site lasting between 45 - 60 minutes. As the tour is outdoors on uneven and sometimes wet terrain visitors are advised to wear weather protective clothing and appropriate footwearTearoom providing home made cakes, scones, soup, sandwiches etc. Opening Times Open Easter to October 29thDaily 10am - 6pm June to SeptDaily 10am - 5pm Other months Available for bookings in winter months. Admission Charges Adult: euro4.00Group / Senior: euro3.00Child / Student: euro2.00Family: euro10.00
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