Hall, Valerie A.


Hall, Valerie A., “Pollen analytical investigations of the Irish landscape AD 200–1650”, Peritia 14 (2000): 342–371.

  • journal article
Citation details
“Pollen analytical investigations of the Irish landscape AD 200–1650”
Abstract (cited)

Evidence for landscape change in the documentary evidence is compared with pollen profiles from recent peats and lake sediments in Ireland. A picture emerges of a landscape as rich in variety as any today. Woodland is traced through time, especially the pollen evidence for the great depletion of forest recorded the early seventeenth century. Pollen studies emphasise that scrubby woodland, rich in rough pasture, was common throughout the Irish lowlands—a landscape that was the mainstay of pastoralism since the early medieval period. Low but consistent levels of cereal and weed pollen in bogland throughout the country emphasise that arable farming played an important and often under-rated role. The varied agricultural landscape of the lowlands contrasts with the almost treeless uplands, where damp, rough pasture and blanket peats have prevailed almost unchanged since the Bronze Age. Where possible, the pollen analytical record for historic woodland and agriculture is given by county. New studies are described in which vegetation change throughout the historic period is traced through high-resolution pollen studies, with Icelandic volcanic ash or tephra of known eruption date providing chronological control. Comment is made on, as yet unpublished, studies of the monastic landscapes at Clonmacnoise and Clonfert, where tephra-dated pollen diagrams show that stock was managed and crops grown before the establishment of the religious houses in the sixth century.

Subjects and topics
Dennis Groenewegen