The rugged North Mayo coastline is just spectacular. With its cliffs and bogland, it can be wild even on a day in August. Within this barren landscape, a pyramid-like structure sits half buried in the landscape.
But it's not the only thing buried underneath this bogland. Beneath the wild landscape lies a system of fields, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs which together make up the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world.
The pyramid-like structure is the award-winning visitor centre which went through an extensive €2.6 million investment. The enhanced experience at this renewed visitor centre includes an improved interpretation that tells the archaeological story of the site, but also its discovery.
( https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/ceide-fields/ ).
The stone-walled fields extend over hundreds of hectares and are the oldest known globally, dating back almost 6,000 years. They are covered by a natural blanket bog with its own unique vegetation and wildlife.
Entering the visitor centre, you are welcomed by a huge piece of bog oak. A new state-of-the-art audio-visual exhibition encourages you to learn more about the rich heritage of the region.
The first thing we entered was an immersive 360-degree room where an animated movie is projected all around you on the walls. The movie transports you back in time allowing you to meet the Stone Age people who once created the fields and dwellings underneath the blanket bog.
.The first floor of the visitor centre explains how these settlers arrived in Ireland, the tools they used, the clothes they wore and much more interesting facts.
A lot of interactive features keep old and young entertained throughout the visitor centre. The whole experience is just fabulous with every small detail linking the exhibition to the fields below. For example, the green carpets reminded us of the fields and stone walls,....
Interactive features like holograms, games and films educate you further on life during the stone age.
The second floor of the visitor centre explains in detail Archaeology and the work which was conducted in establishing and finding the fields and dwellings below the bogland.
A very popular part of this exhibition is the microscope where you can play around with a microscope. The boys loved this part, especially when they decided to zoom in and have a look at their fingers.
Another flight of stairs brings you to the viewing deck from where you can admire the scenery, but also fight against the strong Atlantic breeze.
After the exhibition, you can walk around the bog following a boardwalk which brings you along some excavated walls and dwellings. On the particular day we visited the Ceide Fields, we were greeted by a rainbow.
Along the boardwalk, you can try the find some of these walls yourself by pushing a long metal rod into the bog , this in the hope of finding some of these ancient walls.
All displays and exhibitions are in Irish and English with written translations available in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. if your visit made you hungry, you can enter the cafe where you can try some food or head outwards to the picnic area where you can admire the stunning views.
Across the road is also a viewing platform which allows you to stand on the edge of the high cliffs. The cliffs of North Mayo have featured on television during one of the Red Bull Cliff dives where world-renowned cliff divers jumped from these stunning cliffs into the cold Atlantic.
About the Author
We are Peter & Dolores De Bie. We love the great outdoors, discovering new parts of the world and writing about our adventures along the Wild Atlantic Way and further afield