The Céide Fields has been awarded the prestigious Carlo Scarpa International landscape award for gardens.
The announcement was made in Milan yesterday.
Each year the Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens is awarded to attract attention to a site which is particularly rich in natural, historical and creative values.
The Carlo Scarpa award is a very prestigious accolade and will be accompanied by an exhibition in Treviso, a book and a TV documentary which forms part of an awareness campaign, which is fundamental element of the prize.
The formal prize-giving will be held in Italy on May 12th.
The story of Céide Fields, the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, is a fascinating one. In the 1930s Patrick Caulfield, a local school master in North Mayo noticed lines of stones in the ground when cutting turf and realised that they must pre-date the bog. However it wasn’t until 40 years later his son, Professor Seamus Caulfield an archaeologist began excavating the site with his students to look for evidence of the community that lived there 5,000 years ago. In 1990, the OPW worked with Seamus and the local community to build the award-winning visitor and exhibition centre.
The Ceide Fields has been honoured in the award scheme because of the way the natural landscape is used at the site.
The visitor and exhibition centre is designed around a four and half thousand year old pine tree. The exhibitions in the centre are arranged around three main themes – the natural landscape, the human imprint on the landscape and the geology of the stunning North Mayo coast.
The judges cited the experience of the Céide Fields walking tour as one of the highlights, with the visitor centre guides, who bring the site to life by helping visitors to imagine walking in the steps of our ancestors from 5,000 years ago.
Speaking about the award, Minister for the OPW and Flood Relief Kevin Boxer Moran, said it will propel this wonderful heritage site, which is older than the pyramids, onto the world stage and bring it to a wider audience to enjoy and cherish for future generations.
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring , told Midwest News this morning that the award is much deserved, and is a recognition of the Céide Fields as a visitor attraction.
“The Céide Fields is building serious momentum as a top class attraction and the Carlo Scarpa International award will help bring more visitors to this most fascinating of places”.
The Minister says “the Wild Atlantic Way has put Céide Fields on the map and the Government’s National Development Plan, launched recently, includes major improvements to the Céide Fields Visitor Experience”.