In 1994-95 I was employed by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) together with Bord Fáilte, the Irish Tourist Board, to research, design, write and illustrate a series of three geo-tourism pamphlets. These aim to make the geology of three popular areas of Ireland accessible to visitors from home and abroad. The areas chosen highlight different aspects of Ireland's heritage that are landscape-derived, landscape-related or landscape-based. Generally, the pamphlets summarise in simple terms the geology of the particular area and then describe in greater detail one feature or aspect of that landscape.
The first pamphlet, The Building Stones of St Canice's Cathedral - an Introduction to the Geology of the Kilkenny Area, covers the basin of the river Nore in southeast Ireland. This rich and picturesque landscape of rolling hills and beautiful valleys dotted with the medieval buildings of the Norman conquerors is founded mostly on Carboniferous limestones, which dip off Lower Palaeozoic slates and granites in the southeast and are capped by Carboniferous coal measures in the northeast. The rear of the pamphlet details the features of Kilkenny's St Canice's Cathedral via a guided tour of its building stones. Click on the thumbnails to open scans of this pamphlet.
The second pamphlet, Geology and Landscape in Yeats Country - Ancient Earth's Crust and Tropical Seas, visits the famous landscape of Sligo-Leitrim that includes Ben Bulben, and Glencar waterfall and lake. This landscape, closely associated with the poet W.B. Yeats, once again has Carboniferous limestones and sandstones as its principal foundation, with a band of Precambrian gneisses surfacing across the middle in the Ox Mountains. The geology of the area is described simply via a series of four short driving tours that follow the route of Bord Fáilte's sign-posted W.B. Yeats literary tour.
The final pamphlet, The Geology of Allihies Mines - Desert Rivers, Slate Mountains and Copper Ore, covers the ruggedly beautiful Beara peninsula in Cork and Kerry. There the Old Red Sandstone-cored Slieve Miskish and Caha mountains form a rugged walking terrain, bounded north and south by coastal strips of Carboniferous limestones, sandstones and shales. The pamphlet describes in simple terms the geology of the rugged western end of the peninsula and the gentler coastal areas of Kenmare and Bantry Bay before describing in detail the remains of the 19th century copper mines that were scattered around the village of Allihies at the end of the peninsula.