The project

Ireland’s Fossil Heritage is a pioneering public education project that seeks to inspire curiosity in our ancient past and to highlight Ireland’s fossil heritage for the benefit of Irish society.


Ireland has a remarkable fossil heritage spanning over 500 million years that includes some of the oldest fossil animals (Oldhamia; Bray), terrestrial plants (Cooksonia; Tipperary), tetrapod trackways (Valentia), amphibians (Kilkenny) and arthropod trackways (Dingle) in the world.

Other common fossils include corals, crinoids, and brachiopods; there are even Irish dinosaurs!

Surprisingly, however, this singular fossil heritage has an extremely low profile in Irish society. As a result, Irish people are deprived of a deep connection to the natural heritage of the landscape through deep time.

Prehistoric reef, Ireland 360 million years ago

Public engagement

School workshops

Our school workshop is designed to promote a sense of pride and help schoolchildren appreciate the natural history of the country and of the planet. Our experienced volunteers deliver a one and a half to two hour workshop focusing on Irish fossils and the techniques modern scientists use to study them.

We deliver workshops for primary schoolchildren (2nd-6th class) and we offer a more advanced workshop, including discussion about careers in STEM fields, to TY students.

Primary schools visited

  • Ballyvongane NS
  • Glasheen Boy’s School
  • St. Mary’s on the Hill
  • Sunday’s Well Girl’s School

Secondary schools visited

  • Castlerae Community School

Public events

The FOSSIL CSI public exhibit contains a range of activities to help members of the public of all ages engage with some of the amazing fossils we find in Ireland, how to recognise them and what they can tell us about the past and the environment of today.

At the exhibit the public has the opportunity to handle real Irish fossils, to use ultraviolet light and X-rays as a way to investigate fossil chemistry and to interact with experts in the fields of biology, chemistry, geology, palaeontology and physics.

Public events visited

  • Cork Culture Night (2019)
  • Munster Science Fair (2019)
  • Cork Science Week (2019)
  • BT Young Scientist (2020)

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