Slieve Gullion, South Armagh: Volcanic Roots

Rising some 576m above the surrounding countryside, the broad slopes of Slieve Gullion dominate the landscape of south Armagh. The mountain itself lies at the centre of a pronounced ring of hills – the Ring of Gullion. Together these features are a testament to more violent times in this part of Ireland for they are both of volcanic origin. Both the mountain and its surrounding ring of hills represent the, now much eroded, heart of a volcano that existed here around 60 million years ago. At that time, both Europe and North America were still joined together. However, as the two continents began to move apart (due to forces deep within the Earth), resulting tension in the Earth’s crust caused large volumes of rock at depth to melt and this molten rock, or magma, was erupted at the surface through large volcanoes. By following the Slieve Gullion Forest Park Drive it is possible to see evidence of those more violent times.


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