Course Schedule

The Burren Geology Field School at Caherconnell – 6ECTS or 3 Credit hours

Apply NowJune 5th-June 20th 2017

Outline Schedule

Day 1 Monday 09.30-17.00  

-Introduction to the Geology of Ireland (RH)
-On the shoulders of giants, the early geologists of Ireland. (RH)

-GIS and Digital Mapping: GIS and Digital Mapping will introduce students to the Burren and west coast of Clare landscape using digital maps and geographic data. This module is taught at an introductory level. Topics will include:

  • Taking a Virtual Tour of Burren Geology Field School study sites
  • Analysing bedrock, quaternary and soil data in GIS software
  • Viewing historical geology and geomorphology maps
  • Creating 3D fly-through movies in Google Earth

Students will be able to familiarise themselves with the Burren region using maps, to establish a chronologic and geographic setting to the study sites within the wider landscape, and to learn  essential skills in geospatial visualisation and analysis, and scientific communication (RH)

-The Carboniferous of Ireland (JM)

-The Carboniferous of County Clare (JM)


day2Day 2 Tuesday
09.30 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
Overview of the geology of north Clare; Blackhead, Ailladie, Poulsallagh, Doolin, St. Brendan’s well. (RH, JM, ED)

This day-trip gives an overview of the entire sequence of Asbian-Brigantian limestones along the north Clare coast.

The trip features clay bands and palaeokarst horizons, chert horizons, the major fossil groups and the contact with the overlying goniatite-bearing shales.



day3Day 3 Wednesday
09.30 – 11.00  Slumps and Slides in the Pennsylvanian sediments of west Clare (ED)
11.30 – 12.30  Deltaic sedimentation and cyclothems in the Pennsylvanian of west Clare (ED)
13.30 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
Deltaic growth faults examined from offshore Cliffs of Moher (ED)

Examination of large deltaic growth faults in the Pennsylvanian sediments of the Cliffs of Moher. This unique section provides students with an insight into growth fault dynamics unavailable in modern deltas.


day4Day 4 Thursday
08.00 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
Spanish Point to Loop Head. (ED, JM, MW)

The internationally renowned Bridges of Ross section; sand volcanoes and syn-sedimentary slumping. Turbidites and channels. Basin evolution.


Day 5 Friday
09.30 – 11.00  The tectonic and structural setting of the carboniferous of Clare (ED)
11.30 – 12.30  Carboniferous mineralization. (MF)
13.30 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
Minerals of County Clare (MF, ED, TH)

Flourite, Calcite, Malachite, Galena, Smithsonite, Phosphate. Small abandoned mine workings from the last century dot the Burren landscape and provide information on the tectonics and fluid development of the sedimentary basin.


Day 6 Saturday
09.00 – 19.00  FIELDWORK:
Aran Islands, (ED/MW)

Comparing the limestone sequence of the Aran Islands with the onshore sequence of the Burren.


Day 7 Sunday  No scheduled class work or fieldtrips


day8Day 8 Monday
09.30 – 11.00  The Pleistocene Glaciations (MW)
11.30 – 12.30  The Holocene; Sea-level changes and storms (MW)
13.30 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
Fanore, Poulsallagh, Doolin (MW/ED)

Glacial striations, till and erratics; the evidence from the last glaciation. Holocene Sea-level change, climate change and mega-clast storm deposits.


day9Day 9 Tuesday
09.30 – 10.30  Karst Geomorphology of the Burren I (CB)
11.00 – 12.00  Karst Geomorphology of the Burren II (CB)
13.00 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
The development of karst landscape; Slieve Elva and Aillwee Hill (CB,ED)

A comparison of mature and immature karst landscapes and the relationship to overlying shale cover; Dolines, Identification of Karren features, Cave development and the timescale of karstification.


day10Day 10 Wednesday
09.00 – 12.30  FIELDWORK:
Exploration of karst cave systems in the Burren (CB)
13.30 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
Exploration of karst cave systems in the Burren (ED)

Descent into an active cave system in the morning and a managed relic cave system in the afternoon. See Karst groundwater processes in action. Cave development, Hydrogeology, carbonate dissolution and precipitation.


Day 11 Thursday
09.30 – 11.00  Hydrogeology of the Burren I (TH)
11.30 – 12.30  Hydrogeology of the Burren II (TH)
13.30 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
The groundwater of the Peterswell-Kinvarra area (TH, ED)

Regional aspects of groundwater movement in a karst environment; flow rates, flood and contamination risk management.


Day 12 Friday
09.00 – 11.00  The palaeontology of the Carboniferous Period I (JM)
11.30 – 12.30  The palaeontology of the Carboniferous Period II(JM)
13.30 – 17.00  LABWORK:
Examination and identification of fossils of north Clare (JM, ED)


Day 13 Saturday
09.00 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
Working quarries in Clare.
Local medium and small scale quarries expose excellent geological sections; Liscannor flag and enigmatic trace fossils, Limestone and clay horizons. The quarrying process in action.


Day 14 Sunday  No scheduled class work or fieldtrips.


day15Day 15 Monday
09.00 – 18.00  FIELDWORK:
The Burren National Park (ED, JM).
Lunch at Fr. Ted’s house.
Students compile a geological guide to Mullaghmore in the Burren National Park, one of the iconic locations of the Burren.


Day 16 Tuesday
09.00 – 18.00  Submit Field notebooks, and 2,000 word summary reports for examination. (JM, RH, MW, TH, CB, ED)


Course Fee

Your Fees includes ALL of the following:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodation
  • Daily shuttle to and from Kilfenora
  • Transportation to and from the various sites you will be investigating
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Tea Breaks

Cost does not include flights or other transport costs to and from Ireland or transport from airports to and from Caherconnell.

(JM=John Murray RH=Ronan Hennessy MW=Mike Williams TH=Tiernan Henry CB=Colin Bunce ED=Eamon Doyle)

Apply Now



Burren Geology Course Application Form

Your booking deposit is fully refundable if you are not accepted or if you decline a place offer for this course

Your First Name (required)

Your Surname Name (required)

Your Age (required) *Applicants must be over 18 on the date their course commences

Your Email (required)

City or University (required)