An ancient and very important Irish creature

(No, not a leprechaun…hehe.)

Wow. What a trip! Stefano and I, and our friends, actually got back at the end of August, but since then I’ve been busy with finishing the translation of an article and other stuff…no time to write a post. Here I am, though, finally!

We spent three weeks traveling around Ireland, from Dublin to Kilkenny, then down to Cobh (near Cork), and then, after stopping at Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southwesterly point, up to Kenmare, Dingle, and Doolin.

It would take me hours to write about all the beautiful things we saw and all the things we did…and about the Irish people, warm and friendly and very funny. Today, though, I have time just to pick one of my favourite things, perhaps my most favourite, in fact.

Valentia Island, one of Ireland’s most westerly points, is where, between 350 and 370 million years ago, a tetrapod, which sort of looked like a big lizard, came out of the sea and left a series of footprints (and a bit of a tail and body drag, too) on a (then) tropical, muddy shore, which turned to rock over the years, as you can see in these photos.

This, incidentally, is one of only FOUR sites–the other three are in Scotland and Australia–in the entire world that documents the transition from water to land of a vertebrate…an enormous turning point in evolution, of course. Oh wait, wait, I just read of another tetrapod print site recently discovered in Poland…I will have to look into that. I was already planning a trip to Scotland to check out the other tetrapod prints! 😉 

Stefano and I have a fascination with dinosaurs…When we were in Scotland a few years ago, we spent quite a bit of time searching for dinosaur tracks on various beaches (I posted about this part of our trip, with photos). But this meter-long Irish creature lived and walked on Earth long before the dinosaurs…Extraordinary. I must say that I was a bit overcome with emotion when we got to the bottom of the cliff and were able to view and photograph these well-preserved prints. Imagine how it must have been back then…

Oh dear, I must go now, so I will quickly choose a couple of photos…I hope you enjoy them… Ciao!  🙂 


  1. Wonderful, we have similar fascinations. I didn’t see ancient prints but did see whales & a bait ball off Portmagee…. I love south west Ireland, you inspire me to plan another trip.

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