Irish heritage site Céide Fields wins Carlo Scarpa landscape award

The prize was announced in Milan on Wednesday night

Irish heritage site Céide Fields wins Carlo Scarpa landscape award

The Céide Fields | Image: Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche

An Irish heritage site the has been awarded the Carlo Scarpa International Landscape Award for Gardens.

The Céide Fields was announced as the winner in Milan on Wednesday night.

Every year the Italian Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche awards the Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens to attract attention to a site which is rich in natural, historical and creative values.

The award will be accompanied by an exhibition in Treviso, a book and a TV documentary which forms part of an awareness raising campaign.

A formal prize-giving ceremony will be held in Italy on May 12th.

 Image: Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche

Céide Fields is the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world.

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 was not 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.

 Image: Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche

In 1990, the Office of Public Works (OPW) worked with Seamus and the local community to build a visitor and exhibition centre.

The building is designed around a 4,500-year-old pine tree.

Speaking about the award, Minister for the OPW Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said: "The Céide Fields has both a fascinating recent and ancient history and is a great example of sustainable tourism.

Image: Office of Public Works (OPW)

"Consistently 9% of the 30,000 plus annual visitors to the centre are independent travellers so although it has been designated a Discovery Point on the hugely popular Wild Atlantic Way, it still remains somewhat of a hidden gem.

"This award 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".

Previous winners include the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, the Wild Apple Forests of the Tien Shan in Central Asia and the Marcedolce-La Faverva in Palermo.