Saturday, 12 November 2011

History of The Ice Age in Ireland

The Ice Age in Ireland
Polar Bear Ice Age Ireland

The Ice Age in Ireland

It is hard to imagine just how the Ice Age in Ireland would have looked so many years ago.  I just try to picture a vast European land covered in ice, similar to what we see at the North Pole today.

In what is known as the Munsterian Ice Age some 200,000 years ago ice with a depth of one mile covered the land.

North Pole Webcam

Around 15,000 years ago, Ireland would have still been joined to Britain and both would have formed part of Europe. The large sheets of ice and deep rugged glaciers would have made any chance of life quite impossible. Around this time however, the ice started to melt, various lakes formed, one of those being what we know now as the Irish Sea.

Vegetation and plant life during the Ice Age in Ireland started to appear around 12,000 years ago and it is assumed by historians that animal life entered Ireland, from Britain, the first of these being the Giant Deer. As the ice continued to melt, more rivers and lakes started to form and as the weight of the ice shifted, the land started to rise. It still does to this day. 

Plant & Animal Life In The Ice Age in Ireland

Some 10,000 years ago and up to around 5000 BC, when the warm conditions began to stabilise, Ireland was introduced to a host of animals and new plant life. Trees especially flourished including the juniper, willow, Scots pine, elm, ash, alder and oak. There would have been many wild animals such as the bear, wolf, wild cats and boars, badgers, fox, hare, squirrel, pigs and many more.

With these conditions now right for sustaining life, the first human beings are thought to have arrived in Ireland around 9000 BC according to the analysis that has been done by archaeologists, and they are fairly certain they came in different waves.

The truth is we will never be quite sure who first came to Ireland as any remnants they may have left behind, would have long since disintegrated over the years. What we do know is that due to its remote western location, Ireland in the Ice Age would have been one of the last places in Europe to be inhabited.

If you are ever in Belfast City, Northern Ireland then take a free visit to the Ulster Museum where you can see an excellent explanation and great information on the Ice Age In Ireland.

I would now recommend that you read about Neolithic Ireland.