Monday, 30 March 2015

The Geological Survey of Ireland

Macgillycuddy's Reeks

In an earlier post here – Geotourism - I very briefly referred to my work with the Geological Survey of Ireland, which I consider to be the best time of my working life.

Sand volcanoes in Co. Clare
Apart from the people that I met, at work and in social situations, I most appreciated the opportunity to work in such a diverse organisation, where all of my various skills were valued.
Employed principally for my experience in geological conservation, I also applied my interests in historic buildings and monuments, as well as teaching the English language, writing and art.

Working as part of the Irish Geological Heritage Programme, my principal role was to help with the auditing of the County Geological Sites: organising documents and maps, undertaking surveys and generally assisting with other promotional and educational initiatives.

Valentia slate in Co. Kerry
Having specialist interests in the restoration of buildings - identifying and matching the building stone - it also just seemed natural for me to produce the stand for the Dublin Stone Show.

Although I didn’t get to see the newly established Copper Coast Geopark and much of my intended survey work was hampered by the rain, I saw the Giant's Causeway - along with very many other spectacular landscapes - and I now understand why Geotourism is so important in Ireland.

Although I've never had any real desire to be clambering up to the highest peaks - to get the views or to study the geology in fine detail - there are rocky mountains all over Ireland that appeal to the hardy walkers and trekkers. 

The Galtee Mountains

Developing my interests in Geoconservation whilst living in industrial South Yorkshire, a region not known for its spectacular landscapes, much of my experience in promoting educational initiatives relates to the ancient stone built monuments, which are entwined with the geology and landscape. With this in mind, I wrote Building in Stone - in partnership with English Heritage - and, when preparing the Dublin Stone Show, a very rapid tour of some of the southern counties included a few visits to monuments in the guardianship of Heritage Ireland.

Charles Fort in Co. Cork

In all honesty, I didn’t want to come back to Rotherham, where any kind of work relating to my experience and interests is very scarce. Ten years on, there have been only a handful of jobs as a geologist but I’ve since developed good publicity skills, by promoting my own work and writing illustrated articles for a variety of trade and professional journals - worldwide.

The Natural History Museum in Dublin

I have also qualified as an English language teacher and, very many times, I have considered living abroad. My subsequent posts record a few of my observations and thoughts about Geotourism and Geoconservation in Ireland, which I think could be applied anywhere.