Looking at Our Landscape with New Eyes

Heritage Council Funding allows the Inishowen Rivers Trust to host a trip around the landforms of Glenveagh National Park.

Glenveagh National Park, 2nd July 2023 – Participants of the Inishowen River Trust National River Guardians field trip to Glenveagh National Park have hailed the event as a “brilliant and informative day” that offered a fresh perspective on the magnificent landscape of the North West.

The event was an opportunity to share the knowledge and experience of the Inishowen Rivers Trust to groups and individuals outside Inishowen. Having Dr. Peter Wilson, Emeritus Reader and lecturer in geomorphology at Ulster University, show and explain the evolution of our landscape in Donegal was  a fantastic opportunity to broaden understanding of our environment.

Supported by a grant from the Heritage Council, the success of the day was thanks to the park’s breathtaking setting, an exceptional speaker, and a group brimming with enthusiasm. The ever-changing weather added a distinct Donegal flavour to the experience.

Amidst the driving rain and fierce wind, the group sought refuge behind the shrine of Our Lady at Muckish Gap. Like emperor penguins in the Arctic, huddled together, with Peter at the center, to hear about the quartzite, schist, and the erratic solitary granite rocks from the Derryveagh Mountains transported by retreating ice sheets.

Sheltering from the elements at Muckish Gap

As the rain subsided, we found a perfect spot for tea, marvelling at the picturesque Poisoned Glen. But we sought shelter from the elements to listen attentively to Peter’s enthralling research tales of using cosmogenic isotope surface exposure dating techniques, to date the rocks that form the moraine that signifies the limit of the last glacier in the valley. He regaled us with his findings, revealing that the last glacier in the valley was dated to 17,000 years ago.

Tea stop overlooking the Poisoned Glen.

During our journey to Dunlewey, we made a stop that allowed the group to get their hands dirty with the blanket bog. We continued past Dunlewey, to get a distant view of Mount Errigal, allowing us to see the landslides that occurred 17,500 years ago due to the release of pressure, when the ice covering Errigal melted away. The complete melting of the ice in Donegal took from about 23,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Getting hands dirty with some blanket blog.

The participants expressed overwhelming positivity about the day, with one individual stating, “The day has opened my eyes to the Mountains, Hills and Glens not just as objects of natural beauty but the history of how they were formed”. The Inishowen River Trust, the Heritage Council, and Glenveagh National Park extend their gratitude to all participants and supporters who made this enriching event possible. This field trip stands as a testament to the power of exploration and knowledge in fostering a deeper connection with our natural heritage.

Examining an erratic rock at Glenveagh National Park.

The Inishowen Rivers Trust have been awarded funding by the Heritage Council under their Heritage Capacity Fund 2023 to develop specialist river monitoring and habitat restoration skills within community groups throughout Ireland through a national River Guardians training programme. The next event takes us back to Glenveagh National Park and your free place can be secured here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/river-change-from-source-to-sea-tickets-661132052767?aff=oddtdtcreator.