Drumlins of Clew Bay, Ireland

July 03, 2015


Photographer: Thomas McGuire
Summary AuthorThomas McGuire
In spite of its currently moderate climate, Ireland displays impressive features of past glaciation from periods of geologic history known as Ice Ages. One example is the drumlin field of Clew/Newport Bay, on the island's North Atlantic coast. In fact, the name drumlin is derived from the Irish word, droiroimnín (littlest ridge).

Drumlins are most often explained as features created while the glacial front is melting back. The glacier pushes up and over debris that the ice is moving forward. An inverted spoon shape is the classic form; a narrow ridge elongated in the direction of ice flow. Many are steepest on the upstream side and trail off toward the newly exposed ice-free area. The drumlins above show wave erosion creating till banks at the sea’s edge. This is a result of sea level rising as the glaciers melted.

Drumlin fields can be found worldwide, even in densely populated locales such as the area around Boston Harbor. Photo taken on May 12, 2015.