Presented by Liz Bonnin, The Island takes viewers on a dramatic journey through Ireland's epic 1.8 billion-year history.
Throughout the series, Liz Bonnin meets with a broad selection of passionate geologists who are experts in showing evidence of the immense collision of continents that fused the two sections of the island together before it travelled northwards to its current position.
Together they explore the awesome power of the ice age and how it sculpted our unique landscape and they track the ancient footprints which provide the world’s most reliable evidence for the evolution of life from water to land.
A central, extraordinary revelation in the series is that the island of Ireland was originally two entirely separate pieces of land which formed south of the equator.
Ahead of the show, we had a quick chat with Liz to find out more.
What first drew you to this project?
Unravelling Ireland’s fascinating, dynamic and often tumultuous geological past, through the evidence laid bare in its stunning landscapes, was a prospect I just couldn’t turn down. Our island has been through quite the journey over the past 1.8 billion years!
What was your favourite filming location and why?
I’ve always been drawn to the Burren because of its dramatic beauty, unique flora and fauna, and the energy of the place, but it was very special for me to learn more about how it came to be and what lies in store for this most iconic of landscapes.
The tetrapod track on Valentia Island, dating back to 380 million years ago was also a real highlight for me – footsteps immortalized in the rocks that, with the help of an expert eye, can reveal so much about the ancient creatures that first emerged here from the sea.
What was the most surprisingly thing you found out about the island’s geological story?
I don’t think I could ever have imagined just how much the island has gone through since its first rocks formed 1.8 billion years ago, on the other side of the planet. Just how many different climates, ice ages, collisions, and intense volcanic episodes it has survived - and that’s just the half of it!
It’s incredibly humbling to understand the extent of geological activity that has gone into the formation of our home, as you stand on its weathered rocks and think about its history.
The Island kicks off on RTÉ One on Sunday, 11th September at 6.30pm.