New Decade is hugely excited to see The Island broadcast on RTE One on Sunday 11th September and BBC2 Northern Ireland on Sunday 18th September!
Presented by Liz Bonnin, directed by Andrew Gallimore, filmed by Ronan Fox and edited by Fernando de Juan, this 3 part series takes viewers on a dramatic journey across time through the island of Ireland’s epic 1.8 billion-year history. A central, extraordinary revelation in the series is that the island of Ireland was originally two entirely separate pieces of land which formed south of the equator! Liz meets with a broad selection of passionate geologists who are experts in showing evidence of the immense collision of continents that fused the two sections of the island together before it travelled northwards to its current position. Together they explore the awesome power of the ice age and how it sculpted our unique landscape and they track the ancient footprints which provide the world’s most reliable evidence for the evolution of life from water to land!
Episode One – Land
RTÉ One – 11/09/2022 @ 6.30pm BBC2NI – 18/09/2022 @ 10pm
The island of Ireland’s epic geological journey began where you might least expect it: as two distinctly separate land masses near the South Pole! In this first episode, we reveal how two ancient continents swallowed an ocean as they slowly approached each other over millions of years. The collision point where they crashed eventually become Ireland, and we show how the battle scar from this immense fusion runs like a suture in the rock from the Shannon Estuary in County Limerick to Clogherhead in County Louth. This merging and folding of lands took millions of years, and even after this ancient coming together the island’s story had only just begun. As the rocks continued to move very slowly north, we explore how changing sea levels submerged Ireland in shallow tropical waters, creating the limestone deposits that dominate our landscape and are exposed so impressively at The Burren in County Clare. We examine evidence for Ireland’s long-lost deserts that formed as the island crossed the equator past present day Egypt. In Newfoundland, the rocks reveal the legacy of the colossal forces that slowly ripped Ireland from North America over millions of years, and on the Antrim coast, we investigate the volcanic hotspots that created the iconic Giant’s Causeway around 60 million years ago.
Episode 2 – Water
RTÉ One – 18/09/2022 @ 6.30pm BBC2NI – 25/09/2022 @ 10pm
With the rocks that make up the island of Ireland now in place, this episode explores the island’s intricate and intimate relationship with water and ice. At Killary Fjord, we reflect on the immense bulldozing power of the glaciers which eroded and shaped the island through thousands-of-year cycles of formidable ice ages. In Norway, we look back through a window in time to see how ice continues to carve and mould the landscape. We climb Croagh Patrick for a spectacular view of the ice-sculpted Drumlins of Clew Bay, we explore the intriguing ‘raised beaches’ in Donegal which reveal clues of ancient shorelines where the ice retreated into the sea, and in Dublin Bay, we imagine how sea levels were once so low that it may have been possible to walk to Wales! Millions of years of geological processes have provided ideal conditions for huge quantities of water to move beneath our feet – from the unexpected source of the River Shannon, to the water gently seeping through the limestone to form the stunning Marble Arch Caves in County Fermanagh. This flow and interconnection of water is central to our historical and cultural identity, and we explore the ‘vanishing lakes’ or turloughs that are almost unique to Ireland as a direct consequence of our geology and climactic conditions. Ireland’s marine territory is ten times larger than the land, and we head offshore to see how the latest seabed mapping technology offers fascinating insight into the processes that forged the island over millions of years. We explore shipwrecks that reveal our rich maritime lore, and just beyond the far edge of Ireland’s territorial waters, we investigate the black smokers that offer fascinating clues to the origins of life.
Episode 3 – Life
RTÉ One – 25/09/2022 @ 6.30pm BBC2NI – 02/10/2022 @ 10pm
Everything we know about life comes from the rocks and the island of Ireland is a treasure trove of ancient life. In this episode we meet the fossil experts and dinosaur hunters uncovering the secrets of our past, and in County Kerry, we reveal the world’s most reliable evidence of the first creature ever to emerge from the sea onto the land, still visible in the world-famous tetrapod tracks of Valentia Island. With the arrival of humans, we explore how the island’s geology and natural resources have influenced and permeated our heritage, culture and social and industrial development – from the diverse sandstones and granites that define the buildings in our towns and cities, to our rich mining past and present and the complex challenge of balancing our resources with a more sustainable future for the planet. And with our climate changing at a faster pace today than ever before, we consider our island’s immediate future and look ahead to the next 1.8 billion years. We meet the researchers’ studying plants in climate-controlled chambers to better understand the potential impacts of the climate crisis on our atmosphere, and we explore the dynamic relationships and connections between climate change, coastal erosion and planetary forces in search of the understanding and insight that will be key to our survival into the next century.
Produced in association with:Tags: geological survey ireland, geology, gsi, island, Liz Bonnin, RTE