An Ice Age legacy shapes the richly textured natural world of Ireland.
Although green is its emblematic color, Ireland’s verdant fields are not the nation’s only extraordinary natural features. Sculpted millions of years ago by the advance and retreat of vast shields of ice, the Emerald Isle harbors a wealth of wildlife among its craggy mountains, fog-shrouded coastlines, steep gorges, and vast networks of inland waterways.
Situated in the North Atlantic, Ireland is often buffeted by Atlantic storms but also enjoys the mild influences of the Gulf Stream, which passes nearby on its journey from the waters off Florida to the coast of Norway.
The first settlers of Ireland are believed to have arrived some 9,000 years ago. Impenetrable forests at first confined them to the coastline, where abundant fish and dense oyster beds in shallow waters offered an easy food source. Penetrating the forests, the population gradually moved inland, spreading across a strange and varied landscape of steep mountains, island-filled bays, dry grasslands, peat bogs, and the enigmatic Burren, a terrain marked by limestone outcroppings and huge boulders strewn by the retreating glaciers.
NATURE’s Ireland also explores the island’s diverse wildlife, from the peregrine falcons who haunt the mountainsides to the puffins, gannets, and dippers who nest and breed on the offshore islands, the salmon who journey upstream into its waters to spawn, and the otters, stoats, badgers, red deer, and other mammals that make Ireland their home.
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Online content for Ireland was originally posted March 2004.
Production Credits Print
COLIN STAFFORD JOHNSON
Tigress Productions Wishes to Thank:
The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Environment and Heritage Service (Northern Ireland)
Commissioners of Irish Lights
Ken Wheelan and The Marine Institute
The Ceide Fields Visitors Centre
The Delphi Fishery
The Neale Family
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN
Executive in Charge
A Co-Production of Tigress Productions Ltd., Thirteen/WNET New York and British Broadcasting Corporation
© 2004 Educational Broadcasting Corporation and Tigress Productions Limited
This program was produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, which is solely responsible for its content.
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
MARY HOPE GARCIA
About the Writer
David Malakoff is a journalist covering research discoveries and the politics of science for SCIENCE MAGAZINE in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in a wide range of venues, including THE ECONOMIST, THE WASHINGTON POST, and ABCNews.com.
Thirteen Online is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York’s Kravis Multimedia Education Center in New York City. Dan Goldman, Executive Director, thirteen.org. Bob Adleman, Business Manager.