Posted by: Alan Pitts | May 13, 2012

Quick Trip to Wicklow

The trip to Ireland so far has been great, or as the Irish would say “Grand”. I’ve spent most of the past week hanging around in Dublin before field camp starts next week. Originally, I had grand plans for this week before field camp starts to travel the country on my own to visit and gigapan some of the great sites we will see during camp. But Ive had to reassess some of my plans due to constantly changing weather conditions.

Ive been talking with a lot of the locals about the weather and their perception on what is a normal Irish summer. Some say that summer hasn’t happend yet, others maintain that it already came and went in March. From my perspective, this is exactly the type of weather we experienced last summer; cold driving rain interspersed with a few hours of hard sunshine here and there. So for me this is pretty “normal”. Locals like to say that you get all 4 seasons in one day in Ireland, and that they are creating a 5th.

Earlier this week I took a quick trip to Wicklow to visit a friend and spend a day in her town. Wicklow is south of Dublin and is beautiful country. I had only a day in town but I managed to find some neat geology around.

Here are some lovely folded schist, used in construction of the old jail in Wicklow town.

This I found along the road in town and seemed to be in place

The next day my friends took me for a drive into the hills to see Glendalough, a glacial valley containing an impressive 6th century settlement.

Here is a look at the very prominent U-shaped valley which this settlement sits in.

We only had a few hours to play with before I had to catch my bus back to Dublin. I would have like to explore a little more and looked for clues of glacial movement. Another day I suppose.

On the way out we stopped in a little restaurant and I saw this painting, a depiction of the settlement in Glendalough during it’s hey-day. I took a crooked picture of it.

As a geologist, one of the things I personally enjoy about Ireland is the juxtaposition of new and old. Depending on who you ask, the scene above could be described as very ancient or very recent. In terms of human history, the settlement is very old, much older than any historic structures in my home state of Virginia. In terms of geology, the glaciers which carved this valley and created this beautiful landscape were very recent and younger than most of the geologic features I’m familiar with back home.

I’m hoping to squeeze out one more blog post before field camp starts on tuesday and I have to get to work (today is Sunday). Im starting to get really anxious for field camp. Sure, hanging around with my buddies in Dublin on this mini-vacation has been great fun (or as the Irish would say “great craic”), but I came here to do a job, and I am very excited to start working hard.



  1. Nice micro folds you got there and amazing scenery ….. and that’s a big U-shaped valley…… looking forward to more posts by you and good luck for your Field work…

  2. Hi, saw the beautiful schists and had to comment- I mapped last summer on the west coast of Scotland. Hope you have a great field camp! And hopefully no 5 season for you 🙂

    • Thanks! The dreaded 5th season has yet to appear, so far it has been very nice.

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