Slieve Gullion and its mystical ring dyke formed over 60 million years ago with the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean! In more recent times the landscape has been shaped by the action of glaciers, leaving behind the stunning scenery you see today. Every nook and cranny has been exploited by wildlife over the millennia; Red Deer, Red Squirrels, Red Grouse, Irish Damselfly and Irish Hare have all made their home among the peat, wood and wetlands. The Ring of Gullion has been inhabited by people for up to 12,000 years and those who lived here have left their mark on the landscape; whether it be Neolithic tombs, Iron Age fortifications, Christian monasteries, 16th and 17th century castles and much more. The Ring of Gullion is bursting at the seams with myths, legends and folklore – it truly is a remarkable landscape.
The Ring of Gullion is a living landscape with farming a major activity. Small farms predominate. The best soils in the area are those of the glacial deposits which run in rounded ridges through the lowlands between Slieve Gullion and the ring dyke hills. In these areas farmland is divided in to strips of rectangular fields, each strip originally worked as one farm. The boundaries are associated with earth banks, hedges and stone walls which provided a haven for wild flowers and wildlife. In the past many farms would have grown some crops of oats and potatoes but now grassland and cattle dominate.
A Single Vision for Northern Ireland’s Landscapes
Within one generation we shall all be proud of our landscapes because they continue to be cared for by all of us as a vital national resource, expressing who we are as a people and fundamental to our prosperity and well-being. We all play an active role in decisions affecting our surroundings because we have clear evidence of their value and the forces that are shaping them. For this reason, public bodies, commercial enterprises, land managers and individuals whether they own land or not are able to maintain the distinctness and quality of our landscapes in the decisions and actions they take. Download Northern Ireland’s Landscape Charter from below.