The Neolithic was the age of the first farmers, the creators of monumental and landscape architecture, whose field -systems have been discovered at Céide in Mayo and who built the great passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.

The nomadic hunter-gatherers were in time engulfed by technologically more advanced farming communities who cleared the woods and cultivated the land. The technology of farming appears to have been introduced or acquired from Britain and similar techniques and ritual monuments were in use on both sides of the Irish Sea. The Neolithic saw the beginnings of a recognisably Irish landscape with the first division of the land into fields and the first major alterations made to the natural world by large scale forest clearance and the construction of monumental architecture. The great passage tombs of the Boyne Valley date to this period, as do the smaller portal dolmens such as Poulnabrone in the Burren and the earliest phases of use on the Hill of Tara which would later be known as the heart of Ireland. Ireland’s west coast is particularly rich in Neolithic landscapes, particularly the Burren uplands and the bog-covered valleys of Connemara and Mayo. Megalithic tombs are scattered throughout the western uplands and many tombs and ancient farmsteads have been discovered by local farmers as they cut turf for fuel.

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