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The biogenic records, glacial deposits and landscapes of Ireland contain a rich record of climate change over the last two million years. The records vary from long term glacial cycles to millennial and even centennial time scale variability. These glacial and non-glacial events are driven both by both Milankovitch cycles and shorter term climate shifts. Ireland's position on the fringe of Europe in the climatically sensitive north-eastern North Atlantic makes the island an ideal laboratory for identifying terrestrial evidence for climatic signals. Some such signals are clearly associated with changes in the heat distributions and fluxes from the ocean and have had profound effects on very sensitive ice masses on Ireland.
The resulting waxing and waning of ice sheets have resulted in diverse glacial topographies, comprising the world's most important field of drumlinised ribbed moraine. Catastrophic ice sheet disintegration has created the sinuous esker ridges and moraines on the lowlands whereas intensive ice erosion has carved spectacular valleys into the peripheral mountain groups. This book provides a current and comprehensive history of the geological, geomorphological and geochronological evidence used in ice sheet reconstruction in Ireland. Critically, the book documents the dynamic interactions between ice, atmosphere and sea-levels during the last major glacial cycle.