The Slieve Mish mountains..., County Kerry
The Slieve Mish mountains overlook Tralee Bay and provide many opportunities for hillwalking and outdoor pursuits. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Kerry is home to Ireland's highest mountains and its most westerly point. A very rare fossil (only five others have been recorded in the world) of a four-footed amphibian in pressure-cleaved slate formed 350 million years ago was found in Valentia, Co. Kerry.
The prevailing tropical weathering of 35 million years ago had huge effects on the Irish landscape. Most of the chalk deposited in Ireland was eroded, with the exception of a few scattered deposits lying in karstic sinkholes, the only evidence of which can be found near Farranfore in Kerry. The Ice Age (1,700,000 - 13,000 years ago) consisted of periods of warming up and cooling down. A wide variety of surface land features in Ireland date to this time. The first stage of this accumulation occurred on higher ground. North-facing mountain hollows received the least amount of sun and permanent snow patches formed (corries). The glaciers extending from these corries followed existing valleys and with their surface layer of rocks wore the V-shaped valleys into U-shaped ones. Features relating to this period include Mt Brandon, as well as the Gap of Dunloe and the upper lake at Killarney, which are all ice-scoured. Periglacial deposits (dating back 122,000 - 100,000 years ago) were found on top of peaty mud which was resting on a raised beach and a wave-cut shoreline near Fenit in Co. Kerry. It is likely that this is the remains of an independent icecap in the Kerry Mountains. Similar exposures are found in Dingle and Ballybunion. Again, 35,000 - 13,000 years ago, when large masses of ice developed over the northern half of the country, there were independent ice caps once more in Kerry. These ice masses left drumlins in their wake again over the south-west. Today, the Gulf Stream washes the Kerry coast and brings with it several species of sub-tropical, marine animals