The West Cork Palaeo website has come about as a result of studies started at University College Cork by myself. Incorporated into these studies are a lifetime of interest, involvement, and living in countrysides and landscapes in various parts of the world; an inquisitiveness of the past; a fascination of the present; and a concern for the future.
As this independent research into the palaeoecology of West Cork progresses, the methods, findings, and conclusions will be posted on this site.
This will evolve into a site of interest to those who know West Cork; to students and followers of ecology and archaeology; and as a resource for other researchers employing the principles of palaeoecological research.
Palaeoecology attempts to reconstruct past environments by using the evidence that is available in the current environment. Environments leave their mark, whether it be deposits of sediment, traces of erosion, or the remains of living organisms. By finding such clues and examining them in detail and together, it is possible to come close to an understanding of what was happening at a certain point in time. Going through these processes for different points in time can result in a sequence of changes that the environment went through to become what it is today.
The clues that we look for are not always clear; they are not always present. So this is very much a detective story, using evidence, sometimes in tiny snippets, to piece together the characters, the events and the causes within the ever changing landscape.
This study is multi disciplinary – it makes use of knowledge, ideas, techniques and processes from various scientific disciplines; ecology, botany, entomology, sedimentary geology, archaeology, geomorphology….
The World is an incredible place, as a whole and in each of it’s regions and local areas, and West Cork is no exception.
This website is an attempt to embrace all the many strands of life that is represented within a local landscape, bring them together and make those strands – what they mean, how they came to be, what they do, and where they come from – available to anyone and everyone.
The countryside is there for all to see. It is the visual candy of life, the window dressing of the processes of nature.
To see it is good; to appreciate it is great; but to understand it is wonderful; and it is understanding the world around us that will ensure we treat it with the respect and care we ought to. In time, in extent, in depth, and in complexity it surpasses anything humans can, have or will achieve. Humans are short lived and transient. Humans have no ownership in the long term of the earth. But humans do have the capability to destroy.
And that would be a terrible legacy.