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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Evolution of Ireland's Physical Landscape
Module Code GY209
School 68
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Susan Hegarty
Semester 2: Susan Hegarty
Autumn: Susan Hegarty
Module TeachersSusan Hegarty
Grania Shanahan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the various elements that make up the physical landscape of Ireland. It is broken into three broad areas – (a) the bedrock foundation, (b) the glacial legacy and (c) how Ireland became populated with plants, animals and humans following the retreat of the last ice sheet. In this module students develop knowledge and skills in map reading and interpretation, interpreting graphs and linking various elements of Irish physical geography. The module is taught around learning statements with associated in-class activities within a lecture-format, supported by in-class assessment for learning throughout. Students are expected to attend and engage in the module.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the geological history of Ireland
2. Identify signs and patterns of glaciation on the Irish landscape and explain their significance in terms of the pattern of glaciation
3. Describe the transformation of the Irish physical landscape from glaciation to Holocene, with reference to climate, flora and fauna
4. Relate modern global earth surface processes to particular landforms on the Irish landscape
5. Explain and interpret a selection of maps and graphs used in earth science

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Independent Study101Independent Learning
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Part I: Building blocks of the land – the rocky framework
● Irish palaeogeography: Precambrian and Cambrian artefacts ● Ordovician and Silurian landscapes: Ireland between 485 and 419 million years ago ● Orogenies in Ireland: Formation of Caledonian mountains and the mountains of the southwest ● Devonian and Carboniferous Ireland: The formation of Ireland’s most characteristic rocks, and the influence of this on the landscape ● Post-Carboniferous Ireland: What happened in the last 300 million years?

Part II: Polishing the stone – glaciers and glaciation of Ireland
● Irish Quaternary geomorphology and the ice sheets of Ireland: the heritage that the ice sheets have left us in general: Physical characteristics of Ireland’s glacigenic deposits ● What do these deposits look like, and why are they useful? Case studies of glacial landscapes ● How did the ice affect specific areas in Ireland?

Part III: Dressing a barren land: the Holocene and the colonisation of Ireland
● Early and mid-Holocene vegetation ● What happened once the ice had left? What plants came first and how did this spread? ● The arrival of animals

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentAssignments as required50%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Aalen, F.H.A., Whelan, K. & Stout, M.: 1997, Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape 1997. (1st ed), 2011 (2nd ed), Cork University Press, Cork,
  • Edwards, K.J. and Warren, W.P. (eds): 1985, The Quaternary History of Ireland, Academic Press, London,
  • Davies, G.L.H. and Stephens, N.: 1979, The geomorphology of the British Isles: Ireland, Methuen & Co. Ltd, London,
  • Jebb, M and Crowley, C. (eds): 201, Secrets of the Irish Landscape, Atrium, Cork,
  • Mitchell, G.F: 1976, The Irish Landscape, Collins, Glasgow,
  • Mitchell, G.F. and Ryan, M.: 1997, Reading the Irish Landscape, Townhouse Press, Dublin,
  • Sleeman, A, McConnell, B.& Gatley, S.: 2004, Understanding earth processes, rocks and the geological history of Ireland, Geological Survey of Ireland, Dublin,
Other Resources

40738, 0, Articles on Loop,
Programme or List of Programmes
BAJHBachelor of Arts (BAJH)
BAJPBachelor of Arts (BAJP)
BCESClimate & Environmental Sustainability
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)

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