It might not look like much and the kids were grossly disappointed, but the Tetrapod trackway is of huge importance as it is among the oldest evidence in the world of four legged vertebrates walking on land.
So lets roll back a bit, we found ourselves on the edge of the Atlantic on Valentia Island in County Kerry, Ireland. Where there are 2 ways of accessing Valentia Island, we opted for the bridge from Portmagee. The second option is to take the small ferry from Reenard Point to Knightstown.
Where Valentia is known as the place where the first successful transatlantic cable was laid between Canada and Europe some 150 years ago (Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station - Valentia Island ) , now it is also known for its Tetrapod tracks since its discovery in 1993.
The Tetrapod tracks are not to far from Knightstown, and the small road leading towards it provides you with amazing scenery as far as the Dingle peninsula and the Blasket islands. The carpark is small and it needs to be noted that the site is not suitable for wheelchair or buggy access.
A steep enough path brings you to the Tetrapod trackway where information signs explain the importance of these tracks.
So remember i said the kids were underwhelmed, well kids expect probably huge dinosaur footprints where in reality, the Tetrapod track is not more than many small holes in the rock. But these small holes are of huge importance. First of all, they are 385 million old. In the entire world, there are only 4 of these tracks found.
Once upon a time, the Tetrapod walked through the muddy coastline of Valentia Ireland , dragging its lizard-like tail behind it as it climbed ashore. The tracks left behind is what we see today, a snapshot of one of the first transitions of life from sea to land.
These footprints were filled in with silt preserving them while fossilizing over the years.
So what you see in Valentia is a track of footprints with here and there the imprint of tail drag. The best time to visit this site is during sunset when the low sun makes the track much clearer.
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