The Céide Fields, the largest Neolithic (Stone-Age) monument in the world, with field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs almost 6,000 years old.
Covered in blanket bog, with its unique vegetation and wildlife, the area has been selectively and sensitively excavated since its discovery in the 1930’s by a local schoolteacher while cutting turf for fuel. It is the oldest known Stone Age field system in the world, and is 7.9km (4.9 miles) west of Ballycastle in North Mayo on the R314.
The remains of stone field walls, houses and megalithic tombs are preserved beneath a blanket of peat over several square miles. Ongoing research involves locating and mapping the buried walls by simply probing with iron rods, to avoid destroying any of the remains. Then habitation sites and tombs are carefully excavated to yield a unique picture of the way of life of our ancestors 200 generations ago.
We now know that they were a highly organised large peaceful community of farmers who worked together on clearing hundreds of acres of forestry and dividing the land into regular field systems. Their main economy was cattle rearing but they were skilled craftspeople and builders in both wood and stone and also had strong spiritual beliefs.